Open Your Mind

Essay by raymondlihkCollege, UndergraduateC, October 2009

download word file, 7 pages 5.0

Downloaded 941 times

Open Your MindIn his "The Lost of the Creature," Percy mentions many stories and examples to support and analyze the concepts of an authentic experience. Percy thinks people are difficult to meet an authentic experience in the modern society. People usually see the images of famous buildings and tour spots before they can visit the sights. With preformed opinions, people lose genuine and deep value of sights by just looking at the attractive appearance of sights. Percy believes they lose authentic experience. Meanwhile, people tend to overlook deeper meanings when they are visiting tour spots, participating cultural festivals, and learning in classes at school.

According to Percy, visitors give up their opportunities to have authentic experience of seeing sights. Percy uses the Grand Canyon as an example. Millions of sightseers have already visited the Grand Canyon; they judge it with different points of view. However, sightseers cannot appreciate the same value of the Grand Canyon as García López de Cárdenas, who discovered the Grand Canyon and was amazed by it.

"The symbolic complex has already formed in the sightseer's mind" (Percy 482). Sightseers can only see the Grand Canyon through the "symbolic complex" (Percy 483) because they already have formed preconceived notions. "Symbolic complex" is pictures and images of the Grand Canyon. Tourists only feel happy to check out whether it looks like the preexisting images of the Grand Canyon. And tourists feel worthy when it conforms to what they have learned before they confront the Grand Canyon. Comparing between images of the Grand Canyon and the real Grand Canyon, they do not thoroughly see the Grand Canyon itself into depth. They cannot value the Grand Canyon's inner beauty. Instead, they only care about its exterior. Superficial sightseers abandon their right to discover sovereignty of the Grand Canyon as it is right before them. Sovereignty is personal freedom to explore true meanings instead of following experts' opinions and messages from the images of the Grand Canyon. This is a loss to sightseers. And they feel satisfied but do not notice their loss. Preconceived notions cause short-sighted views when sightseers come to look at the valuable tourist spot. But Percy says there are many ways to recover their loss.

Percy suggests sightseers avoid the beaten track which is a safe but limited path guided by the tour. By getting away from "beaten tracks" (Percy 483), sightseers can search a true and an authentic tour around the Grand Canyon. According to Percy, the safest path of the tour guide is limited for sightseers to explore authenticities. Bypassing is an authentic way to seek sovereignty. Tourists can bypass the beaten tracks to explore the Grand Canyon because they can walk their new paths to explore a personal and authentic meaning of the Grand Canyon. An authenticity is the inner and accurate meaning when sightseers experience around sights. And an authenticity is a personal experience.

Percy believes a couple in a festive village is a way to find authentic experience. But their enjoyment of the village and the festival is "spurious" (Percy 486) because they keep repeating "this is too good to be true" (Percy 486). Actually, they do not feel very flawless being in the festival. Instead, they pretend to be excited and happy. Afterward, they return from the village and look for their friends. "They wanted him, not to share their experience, but to certify their experience as genuine" (Percy 486). The couple only wants their friends to approve their experience, and does not care about their unique experience. This is their highest satisfaction gained from others' approval instead of being completely immersed in their own enjoyment and experience. An authentic experience of sightseers is for themselves instead of others.

Finally, Percy discusses education which should give authentic experience to students. He mentions literature students are blocked from sonnets by the education system; biology students are concealed from true specimens by preformed "package" (Percy 493). "Package" is formed in the education system. Education is to pass along subjects involved instead of just education and "package." "Package" is materials that have already formed before students touch it. The role of educator is to "help the student come to himself not as a consumer of experience but as a sovereign individual" (Percy 493). According to Percy, students being consumers cannot meet sovereign experience. The existing package forces students to "waive his sovereign rights and accept his own role of consumer" (Percy 493). Students should learn based on the "package," and then explore further experience in order to become "privileged knowers" (Percy 484), who has their own thinking and opinion instead of only getting knowledge from the "package," which is created by experts.

In conclusion, obscurations of education and preconceived notions are the basic problems in the modern society. Students and tourists step into the trap of existing "symbolic complex" and "package." These problems make them lose authentic experience. They do not even realize their loss when they become consumers nodding to agree with experts totally. Students and tourists never think something is wrong or missed nowadays.

Critique"The Loss of the Creature" written by Walker Percy was first published in 1975. In the beginning of the article, he mentions the discovery of the Grand Canyon. It is an effective way to open up an article giving out the definition of authentic experience. It catches my attention right away in the beginning. Percy uses a lot of examples to support his thesis, which is the loss of authenticities. Some critical people may argue how to distinguish authenticity and inauthenticity. Different people have different points of view. Or people ask what authenticity can help or benefit them. Percy proves his argument through supportive examples. And he shows why people will lose their authenticity but he does not prove whether can learn more with authenticity. Also, word choices impact on the thesis and readers.

First of all, Percy says people lose their authentic experience easily because of their preconceived notions, spurious enjoyment, and inaccurate learning. And he shows why people will lose their authenticity. Pre-forming impression before seeing the Grand Canyon, sightseers become short-sighted. Percy says "the harder he looks at it, the less he can see it" (Percy 483). The things people want to see cannot be seen easily. Maybe this is what Percy calls an authentic experience, which disappears through people's short-sighted eyes. According to Percy, it is not a proper way to sightsee. Sightseers do not take advantages to explore the authentic experience. Instead, they focus on the photos of the Grand Canyon more than the true one. Then, Percy talks about the couple in Mexico City. He argues people lose their authenticity due to their attempt to show off instead of being happy to enjoy their experience. The couple expects something genuine will happen to them. According to Percy, expectation makes preconceived notions that keep people away from authenticity. After, Percy compares students who take Biology and English class. They do not meet authentic experience because they are given everything to learn. People may ask if it is better to learn at outdoors rather than in classrooms. It is difficult to tell which one is better. But they both have advantages. According to Percy, he probably prefers outdoors to learn because he thinks authenticity should be a path that others seldom walk on. Percy mentions "he exploits his fellow tourists; he stands on their shoulders to see the canyon" (Percy 483). He suggests ways on how to experience authenticity. He believes getting up at dawn and approaching the canyon through the mesquite are proper ways to sightsee. Percy proves his thesis about how easily and why people lose their authenticity. And the supporting examples are good enough to strengthen his thesis. These examples provide a path for readers to find out the meanings of authenticity. Examples are well connected. It makes readers much easier to follow up.

Based on the uses of words and styles of sentences, there are not many difficult vocabularies and complicated sentence structures. It is quite easy to understand a sentence individually. The sentences are very organized. However, when sentences and paragraphs are connected, the logic among both sentences and paragraphs are tough to understand because Percy never concludes one main point in his article before going to another point. He tends to jump around distinct examples without a stop to make a brief important point. For example, first Percy is talking about "the danger of theory and consumption is a seduction and deprivation of the consumer" (Percy 485), and then he switches to the example about natives in the New Mexico desert. It is very hard to make connection. Even though the structure is organized and the word choices are excellent, the logic sometimes is hard to follow. I believe Percy is writing to this article to professional and knowledgeable people in order to understand his idea completely.

Percy's article is more appropriately for educators, students and teachers. They can make enough deep thinking to consider the potential problems of preconceived notions and education "package" they have. Therefore, they can change their styles of teaching, learning, and thinking in order to avoid these problems. And it is important to these audiences who can avoid the losses caused from preconceived notions. Particularly, teachers can make better education toward students to get out of the "package." Besides, this is a partially informative article. Audiences are exposed to the problems of concealed education system and preconceived notions. Even though audiences cannot gain a lot of information from the article, their realizations of these problems are helpful to the audiences. It is better than those sightseers and students in the article who do not even know their behaviors waiving their own right to seek sovereignties and authenticities.

In conclusion, basically the article transmits the problems of preconceived notions and education system effectively even though the examples are not balanced but enough. Then, his examples are supportive to its thesis or idea. It makes the problems in the article more vividly. And Percy does perform a good job on his tone throughout the article. Finally the article is recommendable to its audiences. It is a valuable article for audiences to realize critical modern problems in the society and in the education system.