October 22, 2012

Understanding "How we achieve Sublimity"

Going back to our discussion on Friday, which I believed extremely insightful, yet interestingly enough, I left with questions rather than answers. Although, breaking up into groups I found a lot of people providing useful insight we still didn't come up to an absolute conclusions with regards to achieving sublimity. I remember Prof. Graban ending the discussion with open ended questions so I decided to look back at our class notes and text and found myself asking one question.

On page 347 in Longinus’s text he says, “The question from which I must begin is whether there is in fact an art of sublimity or profundity. Some people think it is a complete mistake to reduce things like this to technical rules. Greatness, the argument runs, is a natural product, and does not come by teaching. The only art is to be born like that.”

In class we tried to decide whether or not the encoder and decoder could both achieve sublimity and whether or not the decoder could still achieve this through deciphering text.

My question thus comes, how would we ever understand if we were achieving sublimity? In class I stated that the decoder couldn't achieve this because the aspect of breaking down a text inherently disallows for something so natural to occur. But, I don’t think I still believe that, if you keep an open mind while looking at a text you can still achieve sublimity naturally without notice. The ecstasy through experience may not occur momentarily yet you still might achieve the enhancement in knowledge over and above one’s previous understanding.

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