Yesterday I finished a jigsaw puzzle. Or was it the day before? I am an old fogey and all isn't well with my sense of time. And my short-term memory is even worse. But my long-term memory is overloaded and my mind jumps all over it.  3

Whence this allegory of the jigsaw puzzle.  4

Doing a jigsaw puzzle takes my mind of things. It keeps me focussed on guessing what piece of the puzzle comes next and trying to find it. Usually I do 1000-piece puzzles and my working space is overloaded with pieces.  5

Here is a picture of the puzzle I finished yesterday. Or the day before. It's called "Fall in East Topsham." East Topsham (I looked it up on my iPad) is in Vermont somewhere. It is one of four villages with a combined population of 1142 as counted by the year-2000 census takers.  6

The finished puzzle bought to mind society as perceived by people. Societies—plural—really because every one of us perceives society somewhat differently. Misunderstandings accrue.  8

Here is a piece of the puzzle.  9

Think of it as self. Throughout life, from our different upbringings and schoolings and what-have-you, we keep on adding pieces as well as changing some pieces for ones that seem to fit better, and lose some pieces as well. Here is a tiny bit of the puzzle in which the self is added to:  11

Life is a puzzle—somewhat different puzzles for different people. For example, this one might represent some specialist, a doctor, say, or an electrician  13

Putting a few peoples' perceptions of the world together, we may get something like this:  15

Ignoring the very few people who live in East Topsham and those who have ever been there, nobody knows what is beyond the puzzle's edges. Nobody knows what is beyond the limits of our stil expanding understanding of what our world is like. And as for any person's sense of our world, it can be no more than an itsy-bitsy shard of that.  17

Which puts the kibosh on any person's convictions of what is right and what is wrong, religious or otherwise.  18

We simply have no bright star to steer by and mostly drift with the currents and eddies of inculcated beliefs, imposed doctrine, and circumstance.  19

Manmade convictions. Baseless opinions. Fear begetting hatred. Conflicts. Propaganda. Holocausts, Wars. Torture.  20

The whole catastrophy.  21

* * *

About that word conviction. From the Latin word vincere, to conquer, defeat, overcome, prevail, be sussessful. The prefix con is an intensive prefix so that convincere may be translated to conquer decisively, etc.  22

From the Online Ethymology Dictionary (
      Meaning "mental state of being convinced or fully persuaded" is from 1690s; that of "firm belief, a belief held as proven" is from 1841. In a religious sense, "state of being convinced one has acted in opposition to conscience, admonition of the conscience," from 1670s.  

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