Harmonizing Dissonance via a Rubik’s Cube Framework

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 15 Apr 2024

Anthony Judge | Laetus in Praesens - TRANSCEND Media Service

Experimental Guide to Navigation of Hypersensitive Global Polarization

Introduction

15 Apr 2024 – There is no lack of reference to global division and polarization, whether associated with Russia-Ukraine, Israel-Palestine, or Vaccination-Antivax. Each of these, whether separately or in combination, now constrains discourse — even to the point of dividing families, friends, communities, or collegial groups. The period is a curious feature of a Biblical prophecy (Brothers will turn against their own brothers…, Matthew 10:21-23). There is therefore a case for experimenting with any process which addresses this trend and endeavours to reframe it.

One curious possibility is potentially offered by an interpretative adaptation of Rubik’s Cube — especially in the light of its familiar popularity worldwide. Previous exercises considered other somewhat related possibilities (Interplay of Sustainable Development Goals through Rubik Cube Variations, 2017; Rethinking Rubik’s Cube: a mnemonic device for ways of knowing and engagement?2009). This was concerned with engaging otherwise with what people find meaningful. It explored the possibility of mapping the 8-fold set of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals onto the 3×3 surfaces of Rubik’s Cube — with each surface posing the challenge of eliciting a 3×3 magic square.

In that light, the following exercise explores the possibility of mapping the opposing elements of hypersensitive polarizations onto a Rubik’s Cube. The elaboration of the design possibility was undertaken in an exchange with ChatGPT. This was preceded by a contrasting design exercise, also enabled by ChatGPT (Simulating the Israel-Palestine Conflict as a Strategy Game, 2023). The argument here follows from a concen with the conventional dependence on “flat earth” thinking, ignoring insights of mathematics and physics (Neglect of Higher Dimensional Solutions to Territorial Conflicts, 2024).

In the light of active Chinese interest in the mathematics of Rubik’s Cube, consideration is also given in what follows to the relevance of magic squares, originating in China, and their relation to the Bagua pattern of Chinese tradition. This is understood as justified at this time by the arguments of Susantha Goonatilake (Toward a Global Science: Mining Civilizational Knowledge, 1999), as discussed separately (Enhancing the Quality of Knowing through Integration of East-West metaphors, 2000; Coherent Reconciliation of Eastern and Western Patterns of Logic, 2023).

Rubik’s Cube continues to be the focus of attention from mathematicians, given that it is a tangible manifestation of principles in algebraic abstractions and graph theory. Some implications are noted here. Especially relevant to this argument is the widespread popular familiarity with the challenge it represents for many. As of January 2024, around 500 million cubes had been sold worldwide, making it the world’s bestselling puzzle game and bestselling toy.

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