I've been looking at The Victorian Web and what it has to say about the sublime and have found some great Romantic definitions that fit well into our technological age. One focus was on size: things which are sublime - mountains, waterfalls, landscapes - dwarf human beings. Walter Hipple said in "An Essay on Taste" (1780): "objects are sublime, which possess quantity, or amplitude. . . . When a large object is presented, the mind expands itself to the extent of that object, and is filled with one grand sensation, which totally possessing it, composes it into a solemn sedateness and strikes it with deep silent wonder and admiration." On the same lines, Joseph Addison, in Spectator 412 (1712), wrote: "our imagination loves to be filled with an object, or to grasp at anything that is too big for its capacity. We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded views, and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul at the apprehension of them.
I'm sure you can see the connections to the internet here. The internet is immensely, incomprehensibly large - there are millions of websites on every imaginable topic, and limitless possibilities for the future. Its size and power truly dwarfs humans in comparison, as does much of our technology today--computers and machines can do many things that we alone can't, and other things that we can at much higher speeds. George P. Landow said on Victorian Web that "by the twentieth century, one observes authors creating a technological sublime in which the power of human creations-- moon rockets, atomic weapons, skyscrapers, and gigantic, mile-long trains -- produce the same effect as the Grand Canyon, Mont Blanc, and the infinite reaches of space." We have collectively created a technological sublime so great that it may have surpassed any natural sublime. And the really unique thing is that all of us are a part of it: our blogs, facebook pages, videos, posts, comments, pictures, bookmarks, and anything else we do on the web contributes to this great interconnecting network of information and collaboration. How's that for a sublime concept?!