4. In a similar vein, Thomas Weiskel points out that the imagination's
cognitive defeat is a necessary failure in the teleological unfolding of reason's
self-edification. "The cause of the sublime is the aggrandizement of reason
at the expense of reality and the imaginative apprehension of reality" (Weiskel,
41). The cognitive-cum-perceptual dissonance experienced by the imagination
is resolved in order to consummate the judgement. But as Weiskel suggests, if
the final prestige is proffered to reason, then the imagination (despite its
moral empowerment) can be construed as a casualty in the edification of reason's
Ultimately, the "determining ground" of all aesthetic judgement is located in what Kant calls the "supersensible substrate of humanity." This substrate of humanity also underlies the sensus communis (common sense) which is the transcendental principle of the judgement of beauty. (Makkreel, 1991, 86) Reason is a type of ideologue, the deliverer and tribune of an ethos, whose transcendent height is but the cloak of a "supersensible substrate of humanity," a commonsensical ideology held in popular thought, values which exalt human subjectivity and moral dignity over the threateningly anti-human force of infinity. Thus the imagination's capitulation to reason is partly a self-preservational impulse; for its belief in some higher totality constitutes an attempt to justify the endurance of its own perceptual sacrifice as a heroic, moral force.
Surrendering to reason is thus not only an instance of submissiveness. It is a moment in which the law of reason forces the imagination to act, and thus resolve its cognitive contradictions. This performance is related to the dynamical sublime, to that affective and practical moment in which some external, natural object is said to inspire a sense of danger in the mind of the subject. (Kant 1951, 99-100) Here, in the dynamical sublime, Kant elucidates the moral elevation which a subject experiences in overcoming its own helplessness before the magnitude of nature. Through a process of sublimation, the formidable quality of nature becomes the semiotic expression of the affective duress which the imagination experiences in relation to its cognitive inadequacy. Allegorically the outer setting represents an invisible process of reversal in which the feelings of fear, inadequacy and defeat are transformed into moral exaltation. Analogously, on the cognitive level, the loss of control and identity inflicted on the imagination when it is denied its perceptual strength -- sensible vision -- results in a moral vindication. Such an enhancement of the imagination is admittedly an illusory power, yet it enables it to supersede its vulnerability before the terror and awesomeness of the natural world. (See Beiner, 59-60) .