??!! The Sublime vs. The Merely Beautiful
posted by June 8 at 8:35 AMon
Photo of Fnarf (c) 2007 John E. Hollingsworth.
The concept of “beauty” as imagined by the Platonic philosophers is inadequate to describe all of the fearful and irregular forms of nature. The conventional beauty of the Northwest (expressed in mountains, evergreen trees, blue skies, blue water) fails to full range of feelings aroused by this gold man. These feelings can be called “the sublime.”
While Plato believed that the beautiful and the sublime were harmonious, later thinkers such as Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant recognized that there was a depth of experience, characterized by awe and an awareness of the “dark, uncertain, and confused”, that simple beauty, however pleasurable, could never encompass. The gold man in nature brings to us what Schopenhauer called “the fullest feeling of sublime”—the immensity of the universe’s extent, and pleasure from one’s oneness with nature.
This picture, however, is merely beautiful.
Photo of Ash Grove Cement, Seattle, (c) 2007 by Fnarf.