European Business: Mr. Rubik, it is not only scientists who believe acceleration has become a core problem in our society. Is it time for a renaissance of slow puzzles or brainteasers like your Rubik’s Cube?
Erno Rubik: The Cube fortunately doesn’t have to be reborn: The grandchildren of the earliest “cubers” are already playing with it all over the world… The Cube is unlike most other ´slow puzzles´ because no matter how long your patience lasts, simple trial-and-error will not take you to the solution. You need to understand its very nature and develop your own solution to succeed.
The magic of the Cube is that it speaks to everyone equally - without considering your age, sex or social affiliation. Erno Rubik
European Business: The Rubik’s Cube is one of the most successful toys worldwide. How do you explain the fascination emanating from the Cube?
Erno Rubik: It’s hard to give a thorough explanation. It is certainly significant that the Cube builds on basic human traits: curiosity, playfulness, the joy of solving problems. Equally important is the limitlessness I mentioned before: You don’t need any instructions or previous knowledge or a set of rules. You just take it in your hand and know right away what it’s about.
European Business: You wanted to make it possible for students to train their spatial thinking using your Rubik’s Cube. Are there reasons beyond that why managers and executives should play with it?
Erno Rubik: The magic of the Cube is that it speaks to everyone equally - without considering your age, sex or social affiliation. Everyone can find the content in it that’s important to them. The logical skills, patience and problem-solving can be a good match for any profession - a manager might even be able to lower his stress level. But if he absolutely wants solve it himself, the Cube might cause a certain frustration after some time… (grinning)
European Business: You’ve received many awards for your achievements, are sung about in a pop song and have even had sports develop from your inventions. In what way would you characterize yourself as a successful person?
Erno Rubik: I don’t know what “success” can be in general. We can master concrete challenges successfully, we can get lucky in some respects - another time we fail or just have bad luck. I’m of course no exception in this regard.
I do believe that the physical world can be augmented by virtual reality, but never be replaced by it. Erno Rubik
European Business: The game industry is experiencing hitherto unknown digitalization. You are involved in the development of video games yourself. In your opinion, is the future of play virtual?
Erno Rubik: I do believe that the physical world can be augmented by virtual reality, but never be replaced by it. Playing continues to be one of our evolutionary needs and plays a decisive role in learning as well as in the healthy development of children.
Interview: Dr. Endre Hagenthurn, Photos: (c) Városliget Zrt.