Abstraction time – a book on violence and crime – people do seem to relate to shootings as entertainment

A thirst for crime reporting, watched as if it were a TV series, is really common.

Fiction just isn’t good enough. They act like the killings need to stop when the truth is that they get a thrill out of it.

Looks like this book brings up the sublime, which is appropriate. Think of a lightning strike- it isn’t exactly beauty in that experience, because there’s something scary about it. Or if you look over the side of a cliff. Something disturbing about that. That’s the sublime. Violence between humans evokes something similar. Part of the experience is liking it because you don’t like it. It makes you feel more alive. It is a type of hierophany. It breaks you out of the normal routine, and you appreciate that. This age of abundance is new, we’re not used to not needing to be so constantly alert all the time. The sublime makes us alert.

This applies to thoughtcrime too, in my experience

When you look over a cliff it’s sublime because you feel your life is in danger. When you read about a recent shooting you remember that you could die. People tend to have this moralistic facade, whereas fascination is clearly present in their reaction, and usually this is implicitly disavowed.

A description of experiencing sublimity

an imminent inner catastrophe in which the skin, tongue, eyes, blood and ears struggle to remain together and are overwhelmed by an emotion whose ambiguity is such that the “tongue is broken”.

I’m just going to interpret this book through the lens of thoughtcrime. If you’ve already “lost your religion” it’s not going to be as sublime. I personally still have experiences like that if I see something really cleverly subversive, it’s just not often.

It isn’t easy to isolate exactly what it is because one could argue that this is also sublime

It isn’t exactly beauty. It makes one feel mortal.

Seeing spilled human blood is sublime. Unless you’re desensitized from working in a hospital or something. Similarly, if you’ve spent lots of time with thoughtcriminals, sublimity isn’t as frequent.

Sadomasochism can be seen as a simulation of the sublime. It could be real too, I just don’t expect that one is going to recurrently oneself tied up and “et cetera”. Usually it’s simulation, because people tend to surround themselves with “pleasant” people. A lion’s roar is sublime. Humans can roar sometimes. Usually the sublime is encountered in nature. Or, we know that violence on TV is quite popular, so. Again though, that’s simulation. There’s a great difference between looking at the picture of the mountain above and actually perceiving the real mountain.

I’m liking the descriptions in this book

sensations lose or threaten to lose form and meld into others, life can coexist with death, inside with outside

I think this is something that happens when people are led into peaking outside of the horizon

trauma is an experience which brings such a sudden and powerful increase in stimuli to our psyches that we cannot elaborate it in the usual way

Like I said, if they spend too much time outside of the horizon it will be like flying into the sun and burning up. Hence the rationalizations. Sometimes when look over the side of a cliff you want to instantly recoil and back away.

This is how they saw it in 17th century England

an ambiguous and unsettling beauty capable of attracting and repelling observers and prompting them to face up to their infinite power

This goes back to the threat of death and the subsequent alertness. Something Heideggerian here. You break out of your robotic routine and realize your true self in a sense. Note, I do not expect to capture the sublime here- it is an infamously elusive concept. Probably the most sublime thing of all is the “fear of God”, and that’s a rare feeling, at least for me.

Usually you’re not in the mood to fight a lion, right? When you hear one roar you feel like you might have to fight one, and that changes what you think about your own limits

Did you get this at all while learning some dirty details about the Pale, the Cotton industry, and the like?

prompts disquiet, anxiety, dismay and terror

There’s a relation here to truth not being beauty. The ugliness of truth is similar to the fear of God, just more in our humble human realm.

Truth isn’t beauty, nor is truth goodness

The evil conjured up by the sublime challenges individuals to ask themselves fundamental and generally covert questions about their existences.

This, again, is pretty rare, if we’re thinking of experiencing the sublime truly. It takes quite a lot to shake us out of our routine. Most “truth” in my sense here is soothing and so not truth, i.e. closer to beauty/goodness. When it’s pain then it might be truth. When you’re tongue-tied, then it’s truth.

Reminds me of this gulag

There’s a difference between looking off the side of a cliff and falling off a cliff. People had the sensation of falling off a cliff after Trump won in 2016. Sublime, not in a good way. And they made sure to distance people from that to keep it somewhat enjoyable rather than terrifying, the ten main distractions throughout the four years, use your imagination. “Phew, we’re only looking off a cliff.” People have done the same thing with me over the years. No, your religion is destroyed, sorry. Try to learn how to fly.

Yeah anyway though, try to remember this concept of the sublime next time there’s a shooting or something like that- it’ll help you better understand your reaction.

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