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The combination of physiological fear and intellectual belief for Kant indicates our dual nature as human beings belonging to both the realm of natural causal necessity and the realm of moral freedom.Thus when we experience the sublime we are most authentically human beings.
This first great age of the sublime—in art and scholarly, scientific discourse—was also the great pioneering period of mountaineering in the Swiss Alps.
Whereas in previous centuries mountains were considered either mortally inhospitable wilderness or the inviolably sacred home of divinities, adventurers and geologists began to climb in the Alps in the 18th century.
Rather, the mountain films may also be seen as distinctly sublime embodiments of Weimar and indeed modern anxieties: an enveloping and alarming political obscurity arising from unexpected and rapid changes in technology, economic, and social relations.
Just as a century earlier Kant had argued that the mountain sublime expressed our authentic human nature, the mountain film of the 1920s and 1930s depicted a fantastical image of physically and mentally undamaged, and politically uncompromised men risking their lives while secure in the knowledge of their climbing abilities and hence safety.
This specific complex emotion is called ‘the sublime,’ and it has its home in the mountains.
That the sublime would be proper to mountains is unsurprising, for the term was first introduced by the classical Greek rhetorician Longinus to designate an “elevated” style of writing and speech, which was then translated as “sublimis” (“uplifting, lofty”) in subsequent Latin translations of the Greek original text.These experiences were immortalized and stylized by the illustrious painters and lithographers of the day. And in turn, genuine explorers and mountaineers, for whom the feeling of the sublime was an inherent and welcome byproduct of their pursuit rather than merely a manufactured and commercialized commodity to be consumed, pressed higher, farther, up into the wild heights of more distant lands.The second great age of the sublime in Western culture occurred in the early decades of the twentieth-century, and once again occurred in the mountains, but this time on the film screen rather than the canvas.Event Mount Everest cannot now claim to be invulnerable, having already been scaled several times the first time by Hillary, an English man.Several expeditions were organized to negotiate this highest mountain-peak in the world and at least: four of them have been successful-British, Swiss, American and Indian.The Chinese too claim to have conquered Mount Everest from the other side but their claim has not been accepted by many.Life offers a challenge to man and some people are fascinated by it.After the First World War, Europe was convulsed by political and economic forces threatening its existence: inflation and recession, fascist and communist revolutionary movements, and the dearth of able-bodied and able-minded men after the horrors of the so-called Great War.In the midst of the fragile fledgling democracy of Weimar Germany, the film director Arnold Fanck created the new genre of the “Mountain Film” (Bergfilm), self-consciously incorporating the iconography of the earlier German Romantic painters like Caspar David Friedrich.The danger to them is the very essence of life and they feed on the delight which they experience in overcoming it.Mountaineering appeals to them as it makes the heaviest demands upon their courage, perseverance and powers of endurance. As one climbs higher and higher, the air becomes more and more rarified and breathing becomes more and more difficult.