The “loss” of the creature – the loss of sovereignty that Walker Percy talks about is relating to the loss of nature’s raw, un-adulterated beauty to pre-conceived notions and commercialism. The sovereignty, or the creature; is the uncorrupted, natural beauty of whatever nature has to offer. It is often corrupted by built-up expectations and thoughts when we envisage something before experiencing it. We do not get a chance to unexpectedly experience something in its natural beauty and awe. It is taken out of its genuine, organic context, and placed either on a pedestal, or in an artificial picture painted by our imaginations. On page 482, in the third paragraph, Percy talks about the Grand Canyon being “appropriated by the symbolic complex which has already been formed in the sightseer’s mind.” He is saying that it is impossible to truly see the Grand Canyon for what it naturally is because of the fact that it is being seen under “approved circumstances.” It is no longer being looked at the same as it was when Garcia Lopez de Cardenas first saw it. It is being seen for what the pictures, postcards, books, and the words “Grand Canyon” make it out to be. It is being seen for what other people have already made it out to be, and what their opinions depict it to be for us. Assuming that Garcia simply stumbled upon the Grand Canyon, then we can probably believe that he had no preconceived notions, and was able to have a raw, true experience of the canyon. He would have seen it without the loss of its sovereignty; its natural eminence.
Percy is prompting us here to excuse these preconceived notions that we form, or may receive through the media and the commercialized images of everything in our society, and experience things in for what they naturally are, although often impossible to do.