– Mystery Breeds Interest: The Rubik’s Magic-

First class of the day was cancelled due to the grotesque weather outside my window.  It would be a treat of the rest of the day was some free time off, but I guess that is still yet to be seen.  I have 45 minutes before next class, hopefully it’ll be cancelled too.  But I am still a student of CNA for the moment anyway, the meeting is later today… wish me luck.

I’m writing here because of something I noticed.  As human beings I notice that we are fascinated by what we do not truly understand.  A whiz kid that can crunch paragraph long equations in his head without the aid of any technological assistance would floor us, even though it seems easy to him.  The child prodigy that picks up a guitar for the first time ever and bangs out a sick solo that would put Jimi Hendrix to shame will have us chatting for days… and yet to him it’s just natural.

My Rubik's cube sitting on my computer desk at 9:35am

Here it is, this is the inspiration to this entry. The brainchild of the Hungarian entrepreneur Ernő Rubik.  This simple, yet perplexing contraption.  As a kid I played with these things all the time and always thought that I would one day stumble across a way to solve it.  Alas, that did not happen.  The Rubik’s cube is something that has always piqued my interest, because it struck me as a very complex puzzle to which if someone could solve it they would be considered of above average intelligence.

When I heard stories of people solving these things I never truly believed them.  I assumed they either took it apart and put it back together the right way, removed stickers, or just bought a new one and never really messed it up beyond what they could fix.  It baffled me when I would see people doing it on television or on YouTube.  But the thought of learning how to do it myself never really was a thought.  I never fathomed it could happen.

Then something very random happened.  I was in the computer lab at the college waiting for class to start and I stumbled across a video that shows how to solve a Rubik’s cube by just repeating two moves over and over again.  It completely floored me, and instantly I headed to Wal-Mart with two classmates and purchased a cube to try it.

After careful deliberation and about 2 hours of repeating the same move over and over again it became painfully clear that I just wasted two hours of my life for no reason.  It was a frustrating conclusion… but an epiphany came to me.  There are a lot of people in this world that actually have the ability to solve this cube.  I would consider myself to be of an above average intelligence, my comprehension skill when it comes to math or language is pretty up there.  So maybe… I could learn how to solve one.

 

The same Rubik's cube... at 9:38am in my hand.

It actually didn’t take very long at all.  There is about 9 algorithms that one must learn to solve the cube.  Once you understand what each algorithm does, you will know when to use what one.

 

It was not even 24 hours after the purchase of the cube that I was able to solve it without the aid of the algorithms.  I remembered them, and now I am actually able to solve the cube within approximately 5 minutes.  This is a skill I would not mind demonstrated for anyone that does not believe this to be true…  although I am also aware that the people reading this that already know how to solve this puzzle for themselves are probably thinking… this is NOT that big of an accomplishment.  Well to me it is.

That’s what I meant by mystery breeds interest.  I was intrigued by the Rubik’s cube since I was a kid, but not because of the enjoyment of moving the pieces around, or because it was colorful.. it was a symbol.  It was a very difficult puzzle that I could not wrap my head around, and I would psychologically be astonished by someone who could do it on command… imagine placing his kind of status on a puzzle that took me no more than a day to truly figure out.

So I guess the moral of this story is that as intriguing as something is because of how complex it may seem to you.  Sometimes its the mystery behind it that prompts that interest.  In the end the cube was actually not that difficult of an idea to grasp, and I’m beginning to think that the same kind discovery can be found in a lot of things that fascinated me, at least the things that I didn’t bother trying to figure out.

Is it really a bad thing?  I wouldn’t say so.  It’s a little like believing in Santa Claus…  once you realize that it is just your mom or dad putting gifts under the tree the magic is gone.  For me, the cube has gone the way of Santa Claus, it has lost its magic.  But just like the tradition of old St. Nick lives on by keeping up the facade when it is time for your own kids to start celebrating Christmas….  I’m sure that one of these days it is possible some kid will see me with my cube, and have the same fascination that I did when I first saw someone solve it…

Wow, did I really compare Santa Claus to a Rubik’s cube?  Yeah, it’s time to try to go to CNA for class. Hopefully, this isn’t the last day I”m going to say that. Later.

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One thought on “– Mystery Breeds Interest: The Rubik’s Magic-

  1. Wow, did I really compare Santa Claus to a Rubik’s cube?

    Haha, I love this line. Very interesting blog, didn’t thin I would see you write one on the Rubik’s cube, then again, anything is possible with you, especially after that review on Glee.

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