Posts Tagged ‘knotty problems’

How to untangle a B*ggers Muddle

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

gordianknot I was busy in the garden fiddling with the pump for the pond and I mooring it with some paracord (I had 100yds of the stuff neatly rolled on a drum for just such eventualities).  When I looked up I discovered that the drum had broken and the string had spooled off the broken drum and become gently tangled.  Now those of you who have anything to do with string will know that this appearance is a snare and a illusion, because the moment you touch it it becomes a mass of snarls!  So the very next thing I knew was that I had knot consisting of the remaining  95yds of string.

Well at this stage you have two choices, you either patiently unravel it or bin the whole buggers muddle!  The art of untangling this kind of involuntary knot is to gently tease it apart; to create space so you can see which way the string wants to go.  Interestingly, if you allow your fingers to just guide you, they seem to be able to feel their way where your eyes just get overwhelmed.

It occurred to me that there were many parallels between the way one has to approach knotted string and to how one unravels knotty problems.  You have to tease the various parties and components apart and let in a little space and light; it is better to let one’s instinct guide one rather than one’s mind.  You need to be patient and recognise that it is one single bit of string and every bit is connected to the rest of it.  If you slowly work it out and take your time the knotty mess gently resolves itself.

My problem was just a bit of string, if yours is a bit more significant, I wish you luck and hope that this approach helps you. 

“Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists.”   Eudora Welty