Note — Dec 09, 2018

At Once Tiny and Huge: What Is This Feeling We Call ‘Sublime’?

Considering our relation to nature and the sublime, through the ideas of Kant and Schopenhauer. Connects very well to We Are All Bewildered Machines from a couple of weeks ago in how the awe, bewilderment, and sense of sublime we can get from nature connects us to it and its wonders. Also, worth revisiting Tim Carmody’s systemic sublime.

But sublime pleasure results when a person is able to achieve calm contemplation of an object or environment despite the fact that it appears threatening to the person’s bodily or psychological wellbeing. […]

On the one hand, we have power as cognising subjects – we are creators of a world, a world of subjective experience; and on the other hand, the experience reveals in an intuitive fashion that we are at bottom really unified with all of nature. Nature’s immensity is our immensity; its seeming infinity is our infinity too.

And, in a perhaps weird(ish) connection, this line of thought around the sense of sublime towards nature, this systemic sublime of logistics, and a general sense of borderline dread towards our socio-technical climage-changed world brings me back to pondering this phrase by Eliot Peper:

What does it mean to live a good life in an age of acceleration?

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