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Human beings in most cases lead structured lifestyles that are set by their predecessors and passed on to the current generation and the generations to come. This kind of structured life destroys the very essence of living: the experiences of being human, and the self-directed discovery of Mother Nature. Our usual experiences as human beings are not captured in Percy’s definition of beauty. According to Percy, “To him it is beautiful because, being first, he has access to it and can see it for what it is,” (1). Contrarily, our human experiences are dictated by what others perceive to be significant to us in their own structured ways and understandings. We are then engrossed in the systematic way of viewing what surrounds us. It is only the first person to discover a Formosa who really appreciates the discovery with keenness and unbiased attention before the fixed interest value referred to by Percy as P is diluted for the next visitors. The failure of human beings to make an unbiased opinion on everything within a surround is an impediment to more discoveries. In this essay I discuss what I have experienced as a person through the lenses of Percy’s The Loss of the Creature. This acts as a perfect example in my real life experience to what Percy discusses in the writings.
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People give power to others to dictate what happens to them. For example, our education systems are designed in a way that the curriculum takes the formal structure that was developed by scholars in the olden days and passed eras. In the wake of new development and technologies, there is need of making revolutionary findings to change the whole system to address and comply with the new experiences. In addition, tours and expeditions should not be about knowing what others had learnt before and passed on from generation to generation but about new and ‘beautiful’ discovery. I am a victim of Percy’s creation because despite my dislike for travelling, I boarded a plane to Holland to see the much praised Schouwburgplein Square. My decision to go was based on research I had done on the internet on my new adventure after my brother proposed that I visit the site. I wanted my ego to be raised and be convinced to travel to the land of treasured ‘public space’ abroad.
I was convinced by my brother who had travelled in the summer of 2007 to the Netherlands about this outstanding architectural design. I had the view of the Schouwburgplein Square in Rotterdam from the descriptive words used by my brother. In addition, I could also view the picture available from the internet that made me not to change my mind whatsoever. I now notice that my experiences and expectations were a creation of symbolic complexes from my brother, the site management of Schouwburgplein Square, and the resources that I could access through the internet. However as Percy notes, “This dialectic of sightseeing cannot be taken into account by planners, for the object of the dialectic is nothing other than the subversion of the efforts of the planner,” (2).
On my special arrival to my destination, I noticed I was not the only international tourist in the site. There were people from a diverse community who were gathered to see the wonderful treasure that Rotterdam holds. I am more certain that all those tourists at the site on that particular day had no idea of the piece if design that they were staring at. As Percy writes, “Garcia Lopez de Cardenas discovered the Grand Canyon and was amazed at the sight” (1). The only person who cares how beautiful the Schouwburgplein Square is probably Adrian Geuze who designed the public space to serve the diverse needs of tourists who can learn culture and art in the most conventional ways. Geuze is the only person who enjoyed the value P of the square like Cardenas did after the discovery of the Grand Canyon. I believe that my experience was nothing close to the value P that Geuze enjoyed. I only enjoyed the one millionth value that a sightseer gets after a series of counterinfluences in place.
Other than my physical presence at the scene while seeping my soft drink, I was thrilled by the children and their parents playing games at the sight. Everybody had something amazing to do in the facility. The place was convenient as it was only few steps away from the cultural center and recreational facilities. My tour guide to the site added value to my ‘knowledge’ of the site by narrating the history of the site in the best way she could. But was this really necessary? I really appreciated the kind of experience that I had in Rotterdam; but, not any more. I never had my one time to reflect on the wonderful treasure that was before my own eyes. This never happened because I was the sightseer and I accepted the confrontation and influence of the sovereign knower who made sure I understood the magnificence of the site in her own understanding; the way she too was structured to think by her trainers.
My sovereign knowledge could have been affected by the dielectric of touring that the Schouwburgplein Square planners did not take seriously. The planners have the sovereignty of deciding what would be appealing to the sightseers; hence, the adventure cannot be explained in another way without distorting the dielectric of city planning and design. I never left a mark in the square as I would wish to do today. Today I wear lenses of Percy’s The Loss of the Creature and such an opportunity would have me thinking on my sovereignty and the power to discover the hidden treasures that Geuze did not focus on.
Percy is thoughtful in the manner the ideas are written in this literature work. Imagine the way in which a literature student armed with Shakespeare sonnet could learn about the dead dogfish lying dead instead of a biology student carrying biology learning apparatus. The mind of the “Harvard sophomore taking English Poetry II” (Percy 5) will be best placed to discover the any hidden treasure in the dead dogfish compared to the biology student whose mind has been structured with knowledge of dogfish from the Biology teacher and laboratory attendant. This is true according to Percy because “To put it bluntly: A student who has the desire to get at a dogfish or a Shakespeare sonnet may have the greatest difficulty in salvaging the creature itself from the educational pack- age in which it is presented” (5). The goodness of an unstructured learning is that the ‘beautiful’ learner has no knowledge or is aware of any difficulty instilled in the minds of the conventional learners.
When I reflect back on my basic education, I was taught in class and given exercises to carry home. On return to the school, the teacher marked my assignment based on answers that were already determined more systematically. My teachers had undergone the syllabus since she began teaching. I believed that the teacher was superior to me and I had to just conform to the system. With Percy’s observations, I wish I would be the other creature; not engulfed in the tenets of the society. I am certain that I surrendered what Percy calls “sovereignty over that which has been written about, just as a consumer may surrender sovereignty over a thing which has been theorized about” (4).
We always have the power to recover our beauty and experience the power of our discoveries. We have the sovereign power to move out of our programmed lifestyles. My restoration and power beneath has been revived by reading Percy’s literature. As a student I am able to seize the course of rediscovery by taking the dogfish and the sonnet by storm from the provisions of the educator and the packaged education system. When a bomb explodes in a laboratory where biology teacher had set up an experiment to study the dogfish, the person that is stuck in the rabbles see a dogfish. One would be in perfect condition to discover a new phenomenon because the “simulacrum of everydayness and of consumption has been destroyed by disaster; in the case of the bomb, literally destroyed” (7).
In the same respect, if a biologist walks in a literature library fully covered with poetic books, bumps onto a dogfish. The environment does not provide an ideal biology laboratory study room. The biologist will have to tear the flesh of the dogfish literally using bear fingernail to open up the carcass without the following the procedures. The newfound sovereignty is devoid of the biology jargon and to say, “Look here how this little duct reverses its direction and drops into the pelvis…” (Percy 7). I support Percy in advocating for an educational system when the poetry students will be randomly taken o the biology laboratory and the biology students taken to library of Shakespeare sonnets for a beautiful moment of sovereignty. The poetry student will learn so much in less than an hour than what a biology student would in a whole semester.
We must not declare our museums useless but prepare the sightseer to make out and discover any hidden treasure than can be recovered from the site or museum. In education, the role of the educator is to assist the student to become a sovereign thinker. Contrarily, this is lost become there is no sovereign thinking in the first place and that the sovereignty remains with the educators. According to Percy “This is a loss which has been brought about by science but through no fault of the scientist and through no fault of scientific,” (8).
I affirm that I have led a life full of influences by sovereign powers that have curtailed the discovery of my uniqueness as a human being. I have been the sightseer who can only see the Grand Canyon based on the one millionth value of what Cardenas discovered many years ago. At this moment, I am satisfied with the notion of ‘consumers of experience’. I believe this the Schouwburgplein Square is not only an avenue for a good thesis paper for the architecture but to a literature student and biology students too. Defining a city is its physical circumscription and values symbolize an identity for dwellers. I will catch another plane to repeat the identification of this site with a different perspective; the perspective of Percy.
I will one day return to the Schouwburgplein Square to make my version of Adrian Geuze other than the photographs I took from the site without interfering with the theorists’ views. I would ascertain if there was need to provide a recreational facility in the busy subways of Rotterdam after the space was left as a traditional Dutch town square. I will set my eyes on the site and appreciate Percy’s take that “To him it is beautiful because, being first, he has access to it and can see it for what it is” (1). This writing has made an impact on my take on the usual things that we take for granted. I will try and satisfy my egos rather than getting engulfed in the normal and systematic way of our lives. It has created a new sense in me that I will carry whenever I visit and site or museum. I will confront the world with a new insight.
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