What is Truly Genuine?
“The Loss of the Creature” by Walker Percy opens up a whole new world of perspectives for the reader. Percy presents various examples, making connections between them of how one loses an experience through the creation of preconceived ideas, where people can only have a true experience of something if all of the social biases and prejudices are ignored. Percy asserts that human beings lose sovereignty of an experience through symbolic complexes and pre-packaged experiences; two distinct works dovetail with his philosophical perspectives. The film, “Grand Canyon,” directed by Lawrence Kasdan compliments Percy’s ideas by exemplifying realizations of genuine experiences through a motion picture, John Berger, in his essay, “The Ways of Seeing,” reinforces Percy’s idea of the loss of sovereignty by discussing how people see and how meanings are manipulated. Walker Percy asserts that preconceived thoughts in one’s mind before an experience result in the loss of authenticity. Percy presents the dichotomy of the discovery of the Grand Canyon by Cardenas, the original discoverer, versus the sightseer. Since the canyon has now been exposed commercially to the rest of the world, when a sightseer views the Canyon, it isn’t “the sovereign discovery of the thing before him; it is rather the measuring up of the thing to the criterion of the preformed symbolic complex” (Percy, 469). When one actually reaches the canyon, he or she will have a preconceived image take over the experience, which can lead to false appreciation. Even naming it the “Grand Canyon” imposes a premature expectation of the visitor, which is not necessary to find its splendor. One cannot have a genuine experience and witness something for what it is because there are always generated opinions that stain peoples’ minds. It is noted that in recent years, “there has been—under the condition of modernity—an erosion of the concept of sovereignty” (Rupesinghe et al., 25). Because of the...
Cited: Berger, John. (1997) Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books. Print.
Grand Canyon. Dir. Lawrence Kadsan. Perf. Kevin Kline, Steven Martin, Danny Glover. Twentieth Century Fox, 1991. Film.
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Percy, Walker. “The Loss of the Creature.” The Message in the Bottle. New York: Picador, 1975. Print.
Rupesinghe, Kumar, and Marcial Rubio Correa. Culture Of Violence. n.p.: United Nations University Press, 1994. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 18 Nov. 2012.
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