Thought Problem & Something More
Here's an interesting thought problem and something more, to be discussed momentarily. Consider the following "lateral thinking" brain teaser. Two long ropes are hanging from a ceiling, spaced far enough apart so that if you hold the end of one rope, you cannot reach the other. Your goal is to tie the ends of both ropes together. All that resides in the room are some objects, tools, and furniture.

Four methods exist to accomplish your goal. First, you can tie an extension cord to the end of one rope, pulling it to the other. Second, you can hold one rope and use a long object like a yard stick to guide the other rope to you. Third, you can anchor one of the ropes to a chair or desk between the ropes, then walk over and pull the other rope to the chair or desk.

Now, you must uncover the fourth method for tying the ropes together. After you have considered this problem for a few minutes, click here to go to further information below.

If you found the answer, congratulations! If not, here's an important clue: stare into the Hint box below and focus your mind on its contents. Continue to digest the problem: how do I manage to tie the ropes, if I can only reach one at a time? Continue to stare into the Hint box to solve the puzzle. After a few minutes, click here to explore the solution and explanation.

Think about the puzzle. Focus your attention on the wording of the problem, and consider: how can one rope be made to join the other? Your arms are not long enough to reach both ropes simultaneously.THINK! The color red helps to stimulate thinking.

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If you failed to discover the fourth method, take heart. It's not so easy. But you may enjoy the explanation. By the way, if you solved the problem without needing to consult the Hint box, congratulations.

The solution is to tie an object to one of the ropes, then to swing it toward the other rope as you hold onto the latter.

If you found the answer after your exposure to the Hint box, ask yourself why. What made you uncover the solution? Think about it. Most will say the answer "just came" to them. Or that deep thought was the key. Or that reading the intense words in red sparked their genius. However, most likely the real "hint" you perceived was totally unknown to you. It was actually the "swinging" pendulum outside the perimeters of the box. The swinging pendulum nudged you, subconsciously, to think about "swinging" the rope.

People who solve this problem after studying the Hint box usually fail to recognize the real hint: a pendulum located below the box.

They believe another clue, or their own persistence, unleashed the solution. But intuition is the culprit. The solution arose from the periphery of consciousness: the "real" clue outside the box.

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