Loss of the Creature

Topics: Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Trail, Colorado Plateau Pages: 3 (968 words) Published: June 7, 2006
In Percy's essay The Loss of the Creature, he talks about the sightseer in the Grand Canyon. When looked up in the dictionary, a sightseer is a tourist who is visiting sights of interest. A sightseer can also be described as one given to seeing sights or noted things. This is important because in the essay, Percy talks about the value P and that if the Grand Canyon "is seen by a million sightseers, a single sightseer does not receive value P but a millionth part of value P". The sightseer is the one who perceives the Grand Canyon and will receive a certain amount of value P from that of the Spanish explorer. However, he cannot see the Grand Canyon for what it is when he perceives it according to the symbolic complex in his mind. The "sovereignty "of which Percy speaks of in the essay is the right of seeing and knowing. When the sightseer arrives at the canyon, he "waives his right of seeing and knowing and records symbols for the next forty years". The sightseer does not confront the canyon like Percy says; he takes pictures of it instead. By doing so, he has, in a way, surrendered himself (like the majority of the tourists) to the symbolic complex in his mind. The symbolic complex in the essay is the expectations, a sort of picture that the sightseer has in his mind of the Grand Canyon. This is why the sightseer cannot see the Grand Canyon it for what it is. Rather, when the sightseer goes to visit the canyon, already he is expecting to see certain aspects of the canyon that he has seen in picture postcards, geography book, tourist folders, and the like. He is not delighted or amused from "a progressive discovery of depths, patterns, colors, shadows, etc." but "measures his satisfaction by the degree to which the canyon conforms to the preformed complex". His need to preserve the "memory" of the canyon disallows him to fully appreciate the canyon. How does one avoid surrendering to their symbolic complex and actually "see" the Grand Canyon? There...
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