The Beautiful Sublime

Amazing Essays
‘’ The Black Stone of Ka’abah ’’ by Ivan Bunin

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but a famine for hearing the words of the Lord.
And the people shall wander from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord inquiring for and requiring it as one requires food, but shall not find it.
Prophet Amos 8: 11

To my father Mieczyslaw Staniuk, born in the Volhynia Oblast of the Ukraine, to whom I dedicate the twelve final lines of Ivan Bunin’s 1913 story ХУДАЯ ТРАВА.

Ivan Bunin [1870 -1953] travelled in the Orient three times. In 1903
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For Kant there is a remarkable difference distinguishing the Beautiful and the Sublime. The Beautiful is strictly connected with the form of an object which has boundaries, and this is the form, which the beholder focuses on and admires . Whereas the latter, the Sublime, belongs to an object which is formless, best represented by boundlessness, which the beholder comprehends with the notion of absolute greatness, not inhibited with ideas of limitations . The Sublime object must be immense in extent or duration , vast and of great magnitude, yet remain formless, endless and boundless. As not having form or limit, it overpowers the beholder with a range of extreme feelings, such as threat, destruction, turbulence, violence, observing and comprehending one’s nothingness and one’s unity with the Nature. Kant underlines that in order to comprehend the boundless and limitless Sublime it is not enough to apply one’s senses, i.e., sensibility and imagination. One must be able to synthesize, i.e., grasp the magnitude of a sublime object or – Kant uses here an example of an earthquake - event, in order to identify it as singular and whole, and this skill indicates the superiority of one’s cognitive, supersensible powers. Ultimately, it is this ‘’supersensible substrate’’ underlying both nature and thought, on which true sublimity is located . When we contemplate her physical dimension that is formless and has no boundaries, with greatness beyond limitation, calculation and measure, the desert evokes mathematical Sublime of the infinitesimal nature . Such infinite grandeur of the desert, which may be justly compared to oceans of sand poured out over the earth, invokes in the beholder a sublime frame of mind that surpasses mere beauty with higher meaning and importance. This quality of an object that it impacts the mind, the reason and feelings of the beholder,

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