Creative parable prompt written for my sophomore year English class:
— Parable —
Jig woke up to the same puzzling world that he had always lived in. What he knew was little. He touched the piece next to him. “What shape are you?”
“The same as you,” was the reply.
Frustrated, he touched the piece to his left. “And what shape are you?”
“The same as you,” it replied.
“If you are the same as me, then who am I?”
“You’re one of us.”
Discontented, Jig ventured to the middle of the bridge over the chasm that had always consumed his curiosity. Far off in the distance Jig felt the vibration of movement. Curious, he ventured over the bridge and further away until he suddenly bumped into something. “Ow!” it cried out.
Confused, Jig yelped and touched the piece he had bumped into, “What shape are you?”
“Not the same as you, who have wandered far from home. What brings you out here? Surely your kind has not finally decided to join us? We have long been here in the land outside the box in hopes of solving the chaos, rearranging…rearranging…rearranging…solve…solve…solve” the piece mumbled, “and certainly without the assistance of your kind.”
“Is rearranging all you do?” asked Jig, but the piece had already walked away still whispering to himself. “There’s no going back for you now, attend to your place*… solve… rearrange…”
Jig continued further in the direction of the unknown, running into other pieces and having exactly the same conversations. Months passed and Jig’s search to find his place seemed futile; he wondered to himself why everyone believed that rearranging would solve the chaos. As Jig wandered away to the farthest corners of the chaos, his path slowly became one leading up a mountain. When he finally reached the top he was blinded by a white shining light. Standing before it, he saw a myriad of images that seemed to move in exactly the same way he did. Turning away from the reflective light, he looked down the mountain and saw the moving pieces of images, his kind across the divide and finally understood the chaos.
— Analysis —
In this parable, the puzzle pieces exist in a 2D world. Their only method of identification is by touch. A 2D world has no depth and works as a metaphor for representing those who lack understanding, maturity, and depth in their character. When Jig finally realizes that the common societal method of rearrangement is wrong, he is transported to the land of three dimensions*, where he literally gains a new perspective with the ability to see on top of pieces resting in 2D, and metaphorically, by achieving a new understanding of how to solve the chaos.
I chose puzzle pieces to represent us as humans because they have the attribute of fitting in and having a designated place in the bigger picture. The entire unsolved puzzle represents problems in our world and in order to solve these problems we must unite together, physically, and metaphorically in terms of a goal, instead of having a divide between different groups. One group itself cannot solve the puzzle.
For shape and configuration, there are often duplicates of the same type of puzzle cutouts and in 2D there is nothing differentiating them. We too, often struggle with finding our own identity. However, we are special in a way that isn’t always obvious to us, like how the pieces couldn’t see the beautiful images on top distinguishing each one of them.
The concept of the shuffling of pieces represents the ways we trick ourselves into believing that we are actively looking for different solutions when in reality we are reusing the same ideas and being blinded to the thought that a different approach is needed.
The mirror at the top of the mountain represents clarity, not only of Jig’s own identity, but of the recognition that the solution to the puzzle also cannot be solved without all the puzzle working cooperatively in society to achieve and reach the end goal of the solving of the chaos in this world and our world.
Lastly, parables themselves are just like puzzles, where the reader must piece together metaphorical hints to find the meaning and as demonstrated in this parable successful interpretation requires that we avoid traditional thinking and take on a different perspective.
*Inspired by the novel Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott.