File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 75

Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 12:16:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Tantalizing times - arguing for atheism....

Glen Fuller wrote:

> Hi Hugh,
> > Maybe we should say "understand the sublime, or the >>unknown," rather
> > religion.
> What do you define as the sublime?
Its not definable.  "Beauty and terror" are the terms I favor.  Strong
affective experience creates a resonance not fully understood or expressible
in words. We try to understand.

> Is it predominately experiential?
Seems to be.

> Is there a unitary definition that incorporates subjective
>of that which is generating the experience?

Isn't all experience subjective?  Don't different people having different
consciousness, different memories, experience so-called "same" events

> Is that which you call sublime sort of like an acutely affective
>experience  (i.e. that which does not require the binary logic >of the
>for some level of understanding)?

Assuning binary logic of the social means two people agree, events, sublime
or not, seem to be understood without being confirmed by another person.
Sometimes, not being sure, we
ask another person if they saw the same object, heard the same sound.

> >So let us imagine ourselves "outside" the so-called real >>world, Cosmos,
>>Universe(s), observing all that "is" - Including all that is >>to
>>deists, atheists - the "facts" we obey to survive
> But we cannot escape everyday life, there is no panoptic >point of view.

"Imagine" there is.

>We can only reference ourselves relative to >the :world :around :us. Like
>in  astrophysics and how >they :place the Earth, for there is >no centre to
> universe (or if there is no one has told me:).

"Imagine" a center.

> >From Nietzsche's point of view, there is no exit from the >labyrinth of
>interpretation; everything is 'interpreted through and through'.

> There is only essential relativism, that is what is shared across >all of

To "believe" there is "only" essential relativism, or "only any other ism
seems to be a failure of imagination.

>Perhaps, then that is why  the focus on the 'sublime'? For it is
> (normatively) a trans-cultural experience... it doesn't need to > be
>referenced, for it can't be communicated, only >experienced. >It can't be
>communicated because the >boundaries of language can only >communicate
> the experience, rather than the experience itself.

It seems that experience is a function of an individual's life-history,
accumulation of memories, vs.environmental stimuli i.e. perception of

It is said that a newborn human sees flashes of light and dark, and "learns"
to recognize its mother's face, by repetition and memory.

Memories are notoriously inaccurate, even short-term, as witnessing and
describing an accident or a crime.  Language is
often inadequate, except for simplest objects and events where much-used
words serve well.

Years or decades afterwards, recollection of an event, recollection of a
feeling, is likely to be in some degree inaccurate.

If the sublime is "beauty and terror" as it is sometimes claimed to be, it
must be very rare.

If it is an experience of beauty for which one "cannot find the words" to
describe it to others, one does not have the "language" to  verbalize it as
idea, thought or concept, even for ones'
self.  Visual and aural arts are languages without words.

> Yes? Perhaps? Um?
All the above.



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