Progress

Kristen and I put together a jigsaw puzzle this weekend. I noticed two things:

1. Matching a piece is greatly satisfying.
2. An unfinished puzzle must be finished.

A jigsaw is a picture that humans cut up, because other humans want to put them back together. Part of it is mental stimulation. But more so it gives a sense of progress.

I spent the last week working on a project with nothing to show for it. It made me miserable. I wanted to create something beautiful; I needed to move forward. My actions needed an output.

As the world experiences entropy, we fight against the grain to create progress. Browsing my friends’ lives on Facebook, I can see that everyone wants to believe they are moving forward; everyone wants to believe in a destination. The world naturally declines into more chaos; humans naturally try to piece together meaning.

In the movie “Memento,” the main character, Leonard, has amnesia. He passes the time by searching for his wife’s killer. This puzzle consumes him — but when he solves it, he allows himself to forget the solution; he prolongs the puzzle for himself. Maybe we’re not any better than Leonard. Maybe we’re worse than Leonard, because we’re not even aware that we’re hypnotized by our desire for progress. Or maybe there’s a purpose to progress beyond, well, progression.

A jigsaw is a picture that humans cut up, because other humans want to put them back together. Kristen and I — perhaps being those other humans — put one back together this weekend.

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