Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Garden of Earthly Delights VI


... It can also be shown very easily that sublimity rests upon the same 
contradiction as that on which beauty rests. For whenever an object is 
spoken of as sublime, a magnitude is admitted by the unconscious activity 
which it is impossible to accept into the conscious one: whereupon the self
is thrown into a conflict with itself which can end only in aesthetic intuition,
whereby both activities are bought into unexpected harmony; save only
that the intuition, which here lies not in the artist, but in the intuiting subject
himself, is a wholly involuntary one, in that the sublime (quite unlike the
merely strange, which similarly confronts the imagination with a contradiction,
though one that is not worth the trouble of resolving) sets all the forces of the 
mind in motion, in order to resolve a contradiction which threatens our whole
intellectual existence.