Walker's Essay Seems To Suggest That We Live To Discover The Symbolism Of Life And Unravel It's Complexities By Actively Seeking Them Out

1786 words - 8 pages

Walker Percy's essay, "The Loss of Creature" maintains that we should "recover the creature" and learn to "extract the thing from the package." However, we can never exclusively recover the creature from the "symbolic package," for we are in a process of continuous discovery throughout our lives and we must see the symbolic complex for more than it appears to be. Percy's methods of perceiving the world are in fact impossible to put into effect for we could not go about placing ourselves into natural disasters and things of the like. Furthermore, that would be defeating the purpose, for once we set out to recover the lost creature, intentionally looking for "it", "it" is lost. However, t ...view middle of the document...

He is seeing it for the first time, burying all other images. He allows the mental image of the historical icon that has been formed throughout his entire life fade away, so that he may truly experience the Statue of Liberty, for the first time, all over again. Once we are able to achieve what the New Yorker has accomplished, we may then claim sovereignty over ourselves.We journey along our own path, and it does not matter if it is a conventional path; it is our own path depending upon the way we approach it. "Garcia López de Cárdenas discovered the Grand Canyon and was amazed at the sight." However, the problem, according to Percy, is that "The assumption is that the Grand Canyon is a remarkably interesting place and that if it had a certain value P for Cárdenas, the same value P may be transmitted to any number of sightseers- just as Banting's discovery of insulin can be transmitted to any number of diabetics." (Percy 511) By allowing ourselves to take in different viewpoints our avenue of learning and discovery is our very own, and we are unburdened by the prefabricated "value P" that we are expected to retrieve from that particular experience. Walker Percy describes the "value P" as the experience explorer Garcia López de Cárdenas had when he discovered the Grand Canyon. The difference though is that he is not burdened by pictures, experts, and society, telling him what to expect. His mind is not receptive to only one picture that is already shaped, but open to whatever he may see. The "value P" is prohibited from precluding the "real thing." We retain no prejudices or bias against the new experience, and hence we become our own sovereigns.The symbolic complexes, or the preconceived notions that we are presented with may not ever be completely destroyed, for society's hold over ourselves would be defunct. We gain sovereignty and govern our intellectual domain and are therefore masters of our own selves. We are finally able to explore the Statue of Liberty, and marvel at the magnificence and absolute splendor at truly being able to see it. An air of folly emanates about the sightseeing couple who do not receive the enlightenment and joy out of their "Indian village experiences" since the native New Yorker does, who does not even need to stray far from home. If we learn to think in the manner of the native New Yorker we would have no need to measure our values to that value "P" set by prior explorers for our value may be of an entirely different caliber.The recovery of sovereignty is the reclamation of power over our own mentality from society. Our culture influences our minds, and often, it is easier to blindly accept what society deems to be "value P," than to go to the trouble of training our minds to procure the dialectic view. It is much easier to look at things from one point of view, and it is an inconvenience to many to walk around the experience and embrace every angle. To be able to reco...


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