A representation may be defined simply enough
(as Barfield does in Saving the Appearances) as "something I perceive
to be there" (SA 19).
But our perception of even the simplest representation
is no simple affair, as Barfield explains:
"Every fact," Goethe
insisted, "is already theory." Barfield, too, takes pains to remind us
that a great deal of mental activity goes into the construction of even
the simplest "fact."
For the conversion of the unrepresented
into a representation, at least one sentient organism is as much a sine
qua non as the unrepresented itself; and for the conversion of the
unrepresented into representations even remotely resembling our everyday
world, at least one nervous system organized about a spinal cord culminating
in a brain, is equally dispensable. (SA 22)
We "perceive," as we say, an "object,"
but the object is already "nature" . . . that is to say, a construct owing,
not to our senses but to our minds its total form, and thus its unity,
and thus its presence as an object. A single percept, uncombined, unmodified
and unadopted by any element of mental construction, is as much outside
our normal experience as is pure thinking, uncombined with any element
of representation borrowed from the senses. (WCT 18)
|See in particular
Saving the Appearances,