Why do earphone cords get tangled for seemingly no reason?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to untangle convoluted knots just to enjoy my music or watch a video. And when I’m done with the earphones, I always coil them up neatly and put them away. But if I so much as leave them in my purse, backpack, in a drawer, or in my pocket for more than a few minutes, they will turn into this:

Now, this problem may not exist for future generations, what with the advent of AirPods and Galaxy Buds, but for anyone who grew up using earphones, the wasted time and frustration is real.

Well, this 2007 study has the answers. Sort of. Mathematicians say the average pair of earphones will spontaneously form knots almost 50% of the time it’s left inside an enclosed space, and the knots’ complexity depends on the time spent tumbling around (agitation period), the cord’s rigidity, its diameter and length. Also, the earphone’s Y-shape makes the problem worse by making knots easier to form.

Now you know.

But the purpose of this post isn’t just to talk about why corded earphones are the devil and soon-to-be antiquated relics of the past. It’s to talk about how this phenomenon isn’t limited to earphones and other obnoxious cords (extension cords, vacuum cords, computer cords, TV cables etc).

Hear me out.

Anything left in confinement will succumb to entropy when agitated.

The greater the agitation, the greater the chaos.

The greater the disorder, the harder it is to untie the knot.

Many aspects of life spontaneously tangle up when enclosed and agitated.

Knots can’t spontaneously form if you lay them flat and leave them undisturbed.


This applies to other facets of our lives.

Our thoughts. Our work. Our emotions. Our bodies. Our spirits.

Our spouses, kids, families. Our pets. Our friends and loved ones.

If you confine your thoughts and stew over them, your narrow-mindedness will cause headaches and mental knots. You’ll be literally “stuck inside your head” and “tangled up in your thoughts”.

If you confine your emotions, they will fester over time. You will either rot inside or your heart will grow so knotted with resentment and negativity that you will be paralyzed by self-hate.

If you confine your body to a chair, and sit in front of a computer all day long, you will create inflammation, aches and imbalances in your system. You will get sick. Your body will scream for help and act up so you will pay attention to it.

If you confine your spirit and view the world with skepticism and a lack of faith in humanity, your soul will rot and your conscience will be corrupted by temptations.

If you confine your loved ones and say it’s for their protection, you are causing agitation that will eventually lead to resentment and even abuse. Everyone deserves freedom, respect and independence.

If you are confined with your loved ones (as most of us are, during COVID-19), make sure you respect boundaries and give everyone their own personal space and alone time.

I hope this post was liberating and somewhat educational for you.

Here’s wishing you a knot-free life…



April 25, 2020

Published On: April 25th, 2020 / Categories: Inspiration /