Monday, July 4, 2016

Interdependence instead of Independence is how the Universe works

I'm going over 20 year old notebooks from my graduate studies in environmental aesthetic philosophy. The following are gleanings from my notes:

An aesthetic of the sublime in nature (mountains, oceans, starry skies, for instances) is enhanced by the knowledge that we are in fact part and parcel ocean, mountain, and star appreciating themselves. Far from the narcissi obsessive-gaze, this mingling of awe and humility is a primal (yet reflectively advanced) form of worship.

Etymological investigation of the word Sublime yields:  from L. sublimus, to lift up. In chemistry, to pass from solid to gas without becoming a liquid. Interesting implications: Being lifted up by a sublime experience, toward the sky, the stars. To be inspired is to literally be breathed up, our spirits lifted toward the absolute, and solid body goes directly toward airy realms of spirit. Perhaps metaphysics and physics, metachemistry and chemistry are not so far apart after all...

Perhaps then the transcendence of small ego-self we feel when sensorily engaged with sublime features of Nature (as above) is due to our feeling a part of (instead of apart from!) the larger, incomprehensible grandeur of the cosmos; and the sublime is a literal lifting up of the human to have a glimpse at our deep cosmic ancestry and proportions. So that when I stare raptly into the Milky Way (Chinese Starry River) on a clear night, my contemplations of distant galactic features like other galaxies, trillions upon trillions of supernovae, stars, and the even greater Void of deep space, this contemplation lifts my ordinary state of consciousness to its grand origins. We can call such experiences Sublime, Divine even, but ultimately beyond words.