With [the] ability to experience phenomena as objects independent of human consciousness, there has grown up our enormously improved power of grasping them in exact and quantitative detail. (Indeed, it was by shifting our attention to this detail that we gained that ability.) With this has come the progressive elimination of those errors and confusions in which alpha-thinking is inevitably entangled while, in its initial stages, it is still overshadowed by participation; that is, the vague but immediate awareness of "meaning". . . . And with this again, has come the power of effective manipulation on which our civilization, with its many works of mercy, is based. Surgery, for example, presupposes acquaintance with the human anatomy exact in the same mode that our knowledge of a machine is exact.
—Owen Barfield, Saving the Appearances 143