The Human Knot is a metaphor for ecosystems and life.
In the context of science class, of course, we use science terms and talk about mutualism and biomes, but we could apply it to anything else in the world too, in fact.
It’s a writer’s dream.
For those who haven’t been blessed with the experience of untangling one's limbs from 10 other people’s, let me explain.
The Human Knot is a game - or a “team-building exercise," if we’re being academic - where a group of seven to 10 people each cross his or her arms and then grab two other hands opposite of them in a circle. When one has done as described, you have formed a gigantic, messy, tangled “Human Knot.”
Now to the untangling.
Logically, whichever link is on the top of the mound should be untangled first. People can move under one another, turn, step over each other’s limbs, etc. But that’s not really how things always work out. People don’t always follow logic or what the team tells them to do.
They do things their own way.
They think it’s better to do things only how they want to, and decide to not work together as a team. Either that person gets stranded, or they mess things up for the rest of us and we’re forced to start all over.
Either way, it’s no fun.
I’m not saying that you can’t be an individual and go out on your own and be innovative. Some of the greatest human success stories were brought about by people doing just that.
No, I’m talking about betrayal.
Wait - that’s a pretty nasty word. Maybe I’m talking more about not pulling your own weight.
We took our journalism midterm this past week. Yes, this is my third time enrolled in journalism. No, I have still not mastered AP Style. (I tend to think AP Style was born from a group of angry people who wanted to make journalists everywhere memorize rules until we go crazy.)
Anyway, everyone in the class had the same task: Know AP Style - I leaped for joy when I heard this requirement - know the different types of leads, know what you can or cannot print, know the different kinds of stories, and know how to spell every single person’s first and last name in the class.
The last may seem like a strange requirement, but I understand now why it was the most important one. Producing a newspaper isn’t a task that can be done by one man alone. We need a team to write articles, take pictures, layout, give feedback, correct spelling and grammar mistakes, look at the paper as a whole, help mentor new staff people, and to have fun.
The reason why I like journalism is because yes, I like to write, but, really, it is my favorite class because of the people, including my amazing teacher. Without the people, without the laughing and inside jokes, it wouldn’t be the same.
True, we get into human knots of our own.
Should we cut this story? Does this swear word actually add anything to this article? Is this headline appropriate? Did my entire layout page really just get deleted from this computer?
But, everything in life has human knots. It wouldn’t be life if it didn’t.
My life isn’t perfect, but I know that whenever I have a bad day or a complication and all I want to do is curl up in a corner and cry, I know that I have a team behind me that I can rely on. My family. My friends. My teachers.
Everyone needs a team. No one can be in this adventure alone, especially in this world full of human knots.
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