First, what exactly is the sublime? Well, the definition of sublimity is a difficult thing to label or to precisely define. Philosophers, artists, writers, and poets have been arguing about what exactly is it that makes something sublime and it the arguments are still going on today; there is a 2 hour video on youtube of a bunch of old social elietes arguing over what exactly is sublimity. While there is some debate, what I will focus on what the romantics of the 18th century recognized as sublime, as these were the pioneers in its definition, and were the ones who brought the world's attention to the sublime. It was during the 18th century that nature vs culture became a huge topic, and Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, Blake and Burke (pictured above) were just some of the many writers during the romantic period who really helped bring to light this emotional reaction to this powerful, powerful scenery. All of them had a fascination with the beauty and peacefulness that nature can bring to someone, with sublimity being a major focus. The three key things that have to occur for something to be sublime are: to inspire incredible awe or beauty, terror, and be somewhat incapable of being completely comprehended or taken in at once. It is a feeling of helplessness, that is yet pleasureable, while standing before something of great potential power. The sublime is scenery that is impossible to completely comprehend at once, while causing both a pleasureable reaction and a terrifying reaction at the same time. To think that witnessing something in nature could cause these emotions can seem completely strange or bizzarre, but the truth couldn't be further from it. When I worked at a car lot, many a time while driving between lots I would watch these massive storms contort and extend their long bodies over Manhattan. Kansas and I would let the beauty completely engulf me, causing myself to tear up usually (in hindsight, probably not the smartest while driving). Only a few weeks before I started this webpage I talked with a fellow student in my biology class who wore cowboy boots and a MossyOak at every day to class, and the moment I started describing what exactly is the Sublime, he interupted me in exctiement and admitted he had similar experiences in the rockies. Anyone can appreciate the sublime, all one has to do is find it.
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