Friday, March 25, 2011

Relection 3: From Longinus, to Kant, please enlighten me.

First group presentation was very interesting and demonstrated a number of videos that each in the group had chosen as their example of what sublime meant to them.

The dictionary’s definition of sublime is:

Sublime – 1. Of high spiritual, moral, or intellectual worth 2. Inspiring awe; impressive

What may seem sublime to one may be subliminal to another for to be truly sublime it must create universal emotional reaction of absolute inspiration. The differences in the videos selected suggest that none from the group were able to pinpoint such a rarity as this. This difference also suggests that one’s perception of the sublime is based on personal preferences and opinion. A few of the video’s shown did have the same subject matter that covered a sports event. Also all from the group were male. All three sports videos were chosen by young men in their early twenties. Two others from the group chose something pertaining to battle. The last in the group was male, but he was much older than the others in the group. He chose an inspirational speech by “James Farmer” as his best offering for what is sublime. He really seemed to look at this speech as a point that perfectly embodies the meaning of the sublime. I found a hint of the sublime not so much from the speech, but more so by observing him watching the speech. His eyes were filled with powerful emotion. He would look out to the class searching for one that shared his emotional connection so deeply moved by the power of what was unfolding upon the screen before us. I don’t believe his scanning eyes found a match. This perhaps made this moment lean a bit further towards a sublime example not because of what was being presented on the screen, but instead by what was going on with the class and the student searching for one that understands and shares that feeling in the moment. Perhaps we will never agree to what is truly sublime but we can agree there are levels in between.

“Sublimity, on the other hand , produced at the right moment, tears everything up like a whirlwind, and exhibits the orators’ whole power at a single blow” (137).
“Greatness, the argument runs, is a natural product, and does not come by teaching” (137).
These two quotes develop a clearer picture in my mind that help me to recognize that chasing after something truly sublime may never be captured.

Works Cited

Longinus. "On Sublimity". ed. Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2010. Print.

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