November, 2021

Puzzle Salvation


According to the State of Bookselling in Canada Survey 2020, 67% of bookstores reported an increase in new book sales for 2020 while 80% reported an increase in puzzle sales?  Puzzles? This sounds like a clue.

In the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience  puzzles are cited as decreasing stress and offering feelings of mastery, and when done in companionship, they create fun and build togetherness.  Well, no wonder. Once thought of as a family past-time in a pre-television, Gram and Gramps era, the emergence of puzzles now in our hyper cinematic pandemic-riddled age may be revealing something to us.

At a certain point we turn away from the blue screen.  Having turned inward we want to look out.  With office face-to-face and group work stymied we seek others with which to complete a task. Maybe we haven’t gone into our heads and screens never to return again.  Perhaps the human need that made us come together in a society will save us from the lure of streaming. We come together for diversions, games and achievement of tasks – large and small.  Working together and not just in our own backyards has after all propelled everything we know forward: scientific discovery, performance art, education and more.

Early in the pandemic many people moved out of the cities and they wondered if cities would die.  Toronto Real Estate statistics tell a different tale. People are looking for homes both large and small.  Downtown the offices are still quiet, but they are coming back. While people like the idea of workplace flexibility they also seek some sort of brokered return.  Corporations want people back for collaboration and the building of a company culture which they see as important to their creativity and productivity. Soon going to the office will be a sign of the promising status of the up and coming young executive.

It will all come to pass. As a species we are puzzlers who like to puzzle together. We seek each other out and together we imagine the picture on the box of our evolving lives.

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