Monday, 11 October 2010

Awkwardly wanting to look.

I have just been reading about the sublime again, I am amazed at how often I am drawn to these ideas, as described by Joseph Addison in the early eighteenth century, as something "that fills the mind with an agreeable kind of horror".
I really like the idea of something that gives you the chills and also that frisson of naughtiness that gets you excited in ways you want to, most of the time, keep private. I have always been interested in that awkwardness of wanting to look but trying not to, because of your own prejudices or history.
I am obsessive about that awkwardness; to look or not to look; to re-look to make sure you weren't wrong in the first place: then that horror/shock/tremble of feelings that make you a bit hot under the collar and an inability to explain that rush of heat away.
Awkwardness is, for me, that agreeable horror of the sublime. I like teetering on the edge of what Wordsworth called "the blank abyss". I love the idea of these emotionless blank areas of life and thought, of being on the edge of these thoughts and where we can no longer say what is happening to our own thoughts.

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