0.38 seconds

0.38 seconds

This is how short it took a Rubik’s Robot to solve the famous puzzle cube invented by the Hungarian sculptor and architecture teacher Ernő Rubik back in the 1980s. This record unseats the previous record of .637 seconds by Albert Beer, a German engineer and his robot Sub1 Reloaded.

According to the BBC, the inventors believe that more efficient motors could actually produce a faster result. Sadly, it seems, they have lost the interest to continue fine-tuning the robot. There were also some “minor” problems, such as damaging a number of cubes during the tests.

When I try my hand at the cube, I end up getting overcome by frustration. An hour would be insufficient for me to solve it. I would get envious seeing many young boys dexterously flipping the cube, their fingers like a spider spinning a colorful web in a blur, and within minutes complete the cube.

This attempt to efficiently solve puzzles intrigued me to relate it to how we face life’s many challenges. It isn’t so much about simply solving problems but more like going through different activities at different moments and intensities. During the day, what counts isn’t so much the speed or output of what we do, but the love and sacrifice we put in them.

This doesn’t mean that we can forgo a more structured and scheduled day. We still need to put a lot of premium on one of man’s most valuable treasures in life: time. Neglecting the efficient and productive use of our time could enslave us to presumption and laziness. I once read an interesting reflection that helps to value time:

If you want to know the value of one year, ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of one hour, ask lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the bus.

If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.

And if you want to know the value of one-hundredth of a second, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics.

(Marc Levy, Et si c’était vrai…)

There is, however, another element that must combine with time: the intention behind everything we do. This changes the gameplay of the day because the good use of time isn’t reduced to speed or an outcome, but in the reason behind for doing things which has to be love.

No matter how efficient and productive we may get in our work and relationships, if we are spending them out of self-love and gain, then we will end up becoming sad and lonely. But if we work, study, or play out of love for God and others, then even the smallest and most hidden human reality can have eternal underpinnings.