Inquiry as a Rubik’s cube puzzle


I watched a video on how to solve the Rubik’s cube (I was pretty fast in my early teens), and see that solving the Rubik’s cube is another analogy to inquiry.

In both cases, we isolate the different parts of the puzzle. We deal with one at a time. We follow simple guidelines in doing so. And eventually the puzzle is solved. The Rubik’s cube is solved. We get to see how the mind creates a certain belief. (The velcro may also soften or fall away.)

In both cases, we typically learn the process in a more mechanical way at first, and then it becomes more familiar and second nature.

In solving the Rubik’s cube, we start with one side, get the corners in place, and then the middle pieces. Then we do the next layer. And finally the third layer. It’s systematic. We focus one layer at at a time, sides then corners, and one piece at a time. For each part of the process, we know the algorithm needed to solve it. And eventually it’s all solved.

In inquiry, we start with the obvious. It may be an image triggering something, a word triggering something, or an uncomfortable sensation. We know and use the “algorithm” to work with each part. We go to the next “layer” as it reveals itself and explore that. And so on. The process is obviously more open ended and often surprising than solving the Rubik’s cube, but the analogy holds reasonably well.

These type of analogies can help demystify inquiry and also highlight certain aspects of the process. As with most analogies, its strength and weakness is that it’s a bit simplistic.

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