Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Cohesion in Purpose
First I think we should start with something fairly simple like grouping together subjects by emotional content. First we have the dark sublime. I have discussed it previously but I will restate it here. It is, most simply, the darkness that we see inside ourselves magnified, which I discuss briefly here. It pairs well with the sentiments of terror and awe of nature that Edmund Burke discusses in the early approach to the sublime that I covered here. I also have discussed sickness (and zombies) and the precipice that sickness places you upon, confronting your own mortality here. These would all be what I would call dark emotions. Not necessarily bad emotions: self reflection after sickness, fear and respect of nature, and awareness of the potential darkness of the human soul are healthy conditions for feeling.
We also have the positive emotions. We have love in Avatar, as well as a host of other traits. We also have our view of mankind and emotion in relation to eternity (not sure this really counts as positive emotion) which I discussed in relation to Contact. I have also discussed faith, conversion, and religion in Contact in relation to the sublime experience.
What we can get out of this separation is first a small range of the human experience and emotion. I think that we can also argue that human emotion and experience has the power to be overwhelming and indeed sublime in any emotional form. We are capable of experiencing love, hate, grief, etc... to a degree that we cannot express. However, we have looked at a number of different modern examples of the sublime each very different. One of my classmates said that aestheticism and the sublime are considered to be dead in literature analysis. However, as long as it is this obvious that it continues to be a part of human emotion, how can we abandon it as a valid approach? What I find in the classic works of Emily Dickinson is more important because I can also find it in the modern works of art. My brother periodically asks my jokingly, "Who cares about Emily Dickinson?" If what was in Emily Dickinson was not relevant towards our current emotions today, then we could easily say that in full truth. So, why does Emily Dickinson matter, because all our emotions as humans continue to be relevant. Emily Dickinson was a recluse who still felt the full range of human emotions, from the view of her house she showed what we all feel.
This article is part of a continuing theme on Emily Dickinson, modern media, and the sublime, if you would like to know more read here.