K.C. Cole vs Walker Percy: Perception and Education

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Although people use corrective lens or have perfect vision, people do not always truly see. Percy and Cole express their differing beliefs regarding loss of perception and how it is attained in their respective essays, “The Loss of the Creature” and “Seeing Things”. Both authors agree that even though people may have perfect vision, they do not “truly see” things in front of them because their perception is lost and limited by their experiences. However, Percy believes perception is lost because of modern education while Cole believes perception is lost because of human limitations. Regardless of any similarities between the two authors, their disagreements are more dynamic. Cole and Percy believe that people do not “truly see” things they are familiar with. “Truly seeing” refers to recognizing beyond the superficial aspects such as the general shape of things. Percy argues that if people have seen pictures or videos of the thing, people will not “truly see” the thing. Instead, people will judge the thing they perceive based on how the thing conforms to their preconditioned ideas - ideas which originated from previous exposure to pictures and videos. Cole agrees with Percy, adding that people will only see aspects which are familiar to them and will fail to notice anything unique. For example, take a student who is assigned to dissect a dogfish. Cole and Percy agree that because the student is studying the anatomy of the dogfish, the student will only notice what the textbook and teacher teaches because that is what is familiar. Now, if the dogfish was infected with a disease that resulted in a physical spot on its gallbladder or muscle, the student would not perceive the difference between the anatomy of the dogfish drawn in the textbook and the anatomy of the dogfish on the lab table because the student only sees what is familiar. Both authors agree that because people are familiar with things, they do not truly perceive anything they see. According to Cole,...
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