A Journey through Jigsaw Puzzles

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Long sleepless flight journeys could be tiring,  but the best part is I enjoy the undisturbed movie marathon. Sometimes random movie search leads to some really good movies that are not very popular. This time it was serendipity movie “puzzle”-  a very simple slow paced story about an unappreciated house wife and a smart inventor who connect to each other because of their interest in jigsaw puzzle.

What amazed me after watching the movie is that solving a jigsaw puzzle has such deep meaning behind.

Usually, puzzle enthusiast start a puzzle by doing the outside/ corner pieces. Some will sort the pieces into colours, others may sort them into shapes. But no matter how many pieces are there, it all starts when the first few pieces are in place. Though it might be a time consuming engagement, with no short cuts, it is equally addictive. I always wonder how autistic brains are extremely fast in solving a jigsaw puzzle – Whenever I notice my son solving a puzzle, he doesnt sort it by colors , features of the pictures. But still knows which piece goes where , even if the entire puzzle is flipped backside! Its a short term memory finding the right cutout piece and interlocking in the appropriate slot. It is not easy to go by this kind of pattern/ shape matching by just visulaizing the pattern from memory! Thats why we build sophisticated pattern matching algorithms to analyse, understand, get information or predict  based on Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence!!

But some “beautiful minds” can do it on their own and be totally obsessed with that for hours ! May be that could be the reason in having jigsaw as logo for specially abled – symbolising   the unsolved mystery behind these beautiful minds!!

Jigsaw puzzle gives an undue satisfaction to people whose mind is always chaotic and distracted. Completion gives them the feel of accomplishment. Its just not that-it shows perseverance and patience when someone can sit through to finish the puzzle with more than 500 pieces. Can you believe there are jigsaws with 40000 to 50000 pieces available in the market? There are some amazing brains which have completed those single handedly! A record shows 40k pieces were solved in 80 days by one person.

Whatever, So a big picture is broken down to x number of pieces which is very similar to image recognition by machines , breaking down the image into multiple chunks and deep learning to recognise – classic dog/cat discrimination by machines – it happens by supervised learning from numerous data fed and finally differentiating the two based on the trained data set! In our puzzle brain case, I have noticed the big picture doesn’t even matter – all they want to accomplish is start interlocking the pieces which gives the feel of triumph and instant gratification!! The completed puzzle may look completely different from any of the individual pieces.  Its just not a small kids hobby anymore as I mentioned it brings peace to many distracted brains and has in stored numerous benefits especially attention to minute details paving a way for increased IQ. This apparently keeps dementia and Alzheimers away for a while !

Puzzles of all types , be it a math puzzles or number patterns, binary codes, riddles,cross words , word puzzles, mechanical puzzles , logical, cryptic ,pattern guessing and the list goes on .. need Out Of the Box (OOB) thinking and mild obsession. Undistracted focus draws a line towards the solution which is a main reason for many new creations in the past !

I want to touch upon another book here “The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human” – by V.S.Ramachandran”  professor of Neuroscience and Psycology who analyse specialised brain and perception – its a lengthy and lot to digest book. But it talks about mighty malfunctions of brain and some unimaginable stories. He weaves tales of different patients he encountered and different syndromes totally unheard off. What significance it can bring to our puzzle brains is – he says “perception is more like puzzle solving than  most people realise – we prefer some or other sort of concealment as our brains are hard wired to love solving puzzles”

We have to slightly roll back  to realise our human brains always was looking for patterns and connecting dots – Sky/star gazing is the oldest of connecting dots , and gave birth to Astronomy and astrology!

Astronomy – This puzzle solving hobby was the reason for intellectual discovery of cryptic night sky and road to our knowledge of cosmos. Our Greek and Indian ancestors puzzle solving brains     found constellations,constituted a grouping of stars making the shape of a figure. In general it was of an animal or a mythological being.

Astrology is another mode of riddle solving to predict one s life based on celestial body movements !

Zodiac signs depicts human personality by the influence of stars and moon. , Either truth or myth is a different debate to discuss but shows our human brain’s quest for puzzles and riddles solving based on available information – in this case a birth chart / Horoscope!! Again this is very similar to segmentation in our modern data science, grouping/ clustering people based on birth dates and analysing similar behaviour attributes.

Every human brain is a data analyst by itself. The traffic that reaches our eyes is enormous but human brain knows to filter and analyse it !! ( typical ETL process)

Depending on the nature of the data and its relevance,it may employ a variety of analytical techniques.

What we see might be the same ( data collection) but what we perceive ( analyse ) might differ from every brain ! “

So each one of us has built our own data analytics algorithm! Some are really strong – That way what normal brains cant see is what beautiful minds perceive!! It seems if someone somewhere is obsessed with what they do it simply means – Do not disturb there is a marvel under construction! Some people can bring out their creation – publish and patent and others enjoy creating for themselves.

I wish one day somebody invents ( !!!) a machine which makes us understand what our beautiful minds think/ perceive. I am sure one beautiful mind (itself) will make this dream come true!!!

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle –  there definitely is a big picture which we cant see, but we do try to connect pieces and make some image. Sometimes we miss some random pieces but then unexpected pieces which you didn’t notice will find its place in your puzzle. So be patient and find the right piece, everyone s big picture is bright and beautiful.

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