The Loss Of Innocence
Have you ever been disappointed ? What a crazy question. At one point or another, everyone is going to experience a disappointment in their lives. Whether it is in a relationship, in education, or even in themselves, everyone has, and will continually keep facing disappointments. In Walker Percys essay,'' The loss of the creature'', Percy discusses how through preconceptions and the surrender of our sovereignty, humans lose the ability to experience life, and its elements, in fresh and innovative ways. He argues that humans have lost the surprise of discovery because of the preconceptions they bring to an experience.
He begins with an example of a man, who after many years of wanting to see the Grand Canyon, gets there and then measures the experience by his ideas and thoughts of what it should be. Percy later goes on to discuss the student in the biology lab who does not have the surprise of discovery because the professor has already set the parameters of the student experience.
In Percy's essay, he states, '' the sightseer measures his satisfaction by the degree to which the canyon conforms to his performed complex,'' and '' the highest point, the term of the sightseer's satisfaction, is not the sovereign discovery of the thing before him; it is rather the measuring up of the thing to the criterion of the performed symbolic complex.''
Whenever we approach an experience, rather than perceiving it based on its own merits, we compare it to what we have already learned about the subject or to what we have previously experienced. Take a movie for example, was it as exciting as the one we saw before it? Or a job, do we enjoy it as much as the one we had before it ? Is it worse ? Better? Is your new boyfriend as cute as your last one ? Is your old girlfriend as smart as your ex ? These are all questions which linger on in our minds. For instance,
my last vacation to New York. My family is from back east, so going there was nothing new for them. Although I had never been there before, I
already had a pre-cognition of what was going to happen. After years of hearing my family talk about how great it was and how all of New York
stood for freedom and unity, I some how felt no more free in New York than I did in Tucson. In all actuality, I felt more confined and trapped
because of the crowds. I will admit that it was beautiful there, and I did partake in all of the touristy exhibits, but I didn't feel a need to belt out the star spangled banner from the top of the Statue of Liberty! All of my life I
had this idea of going to New York, and siting in a little coffee shop and having the time of my life, much like the media portrays New York with all of its `'artsy'' people and places, but I ultimately was disappointed when none of that happened.
Percy also writes,'' for him, there is no present; there is only the past of what has been formulated and seen and the future of what has been formulated and...