Puppets in Unflattening

Kenneth Pichler, Jr.
The primary author is the individual who drafted the first version of this section; a section that could have been modified since it was originally published.

In Unflatteningthere is a concept portrayed by a puppet. His day to day routine each and every day was the exact same nothing where nothing was different nor out of place. Then, one day, there is something and it could be anything—in the book it's a caterpillar—that throws the routine out of place and the order of our everyday life is out of order. The puppet is then distraught and doesn't know how to react because, in his eyes, it has caused chaos in his everyday life and ruined his routine.

I think of this as an example of everyday life for many people and the concept that society has placed before us. We are taught from a young age that we wake up, eat breakfast, and go to school. We do the same routine all the way up until we graduate college. Then we get a job, start a family, and go to work. We do this over and over for the rest of our days without breaking the routine. This is what is taught to us from a young age.

There is a general notion that we will never break the routine. An example is when a person completes school and goes into work for twenty to thirty plus years and then decides to retire. Then the concept of routine is broken or lost and that person has no idea of what he or she should do until they learn to develop a new routine in life. But, from the moment of retirement, their whole world is out of place until a new routine is established.

Dr. Sousanis does an outstanding job of portraying us as puppets. If you look at the bigger picture, someone or something is the puppeteer whether it's our parents, society, or some other influence that is making out the everyday routine. It's when there is no routine or not the right routine that our lives become chaotic and we don't know how to handle it or we begin to wonder.

On page 123 in Unflattening, Sousanis quotes Alfred North, "Philosophy begins in wonder." This as the moment we start to think for ourselves and think outside of society's box and break away from everyday monotonous routine that we establish something great. This is stating that nothing great can come from anything unless we deviate from our everyday routines. We should take risks or think outside the box. Dr. Sousanis is trying to say that we should not be afraid to cut away from those puppet strings and go out on your own and think for yourself.

Hiart's photograph of a nineteenth century marionette from Quanzhou, Fujian Province, Lin Liu-Hsin Museum.