Threesology Research Journal
Threes Road Map

~ The Study of Threes ~

As with previous home pages, this one supplies links which reference different approaches towards thinking about the "threes" concept. Whereas some devise a philosophy based on a personalized interpretation and analysis, others take on the enormous task of cataloging the many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of examples:

Here are three links for Dr. Dundez's article "The Number Three in the American Culture" which appeared in an old 1967-1968 book entitled "Every Man His Way" (which is a collection of different Cultural Anthropology readings):

It has come to my attention (noted by those who have a deep interest in the larger conceptualizations being discussed regarding the "threes phenomena") that... apparently, there is some wide-spread misunderstanding with respect to a "threes" interest and its application to the field of Epistemology (philosophical theory of knowledge). Having an interest in the "threes phenomena" does not mean threes enthusiasts limit themselves to seeing the world through a type of three-lensed tunnel for which no other view or pattern is recognized. Of course we see other patterns! By simply taking lists of different number patterns and placing them side by side you too will see that there are differences in quantity and quality of the examples. We do not deny the existence of other patterns, we invite you to provide them, so that you will take your assumptions out of your mind and lay them on the table to be concretely examined.

Nonetheless, the situation remains is that there are only a few patterns being used and some are being used more than others. This clearly states a fact that there is a type of conservation of cognitive behavior taking place and this most likely has an origin existing in an environmental influence; including those that originate due to a biological influence. As such, a deteriorating planet will insist that humanity comply with its direction unless humanity rebels from the "slavery", the "indentured servitude" the planet's cyclically deteriorating processes which are incrementally headed towards a demise. In mapping out a recurrence of "threes" examples, as well as "twos" and others; it must be understood that the "threes phenomena" is but a sample, albeit a very large sampling of a recurring cognitive (or mental) pattern that describes the existence of a conservation in the overall type of thinking humans do.

It's not that humanity is incapable of thinking in more complex as well as greater quantities of pattern, but humanity is being forced into a recognizable model of limitation by an incrementally deteriorating environment that suppresses brain activity into a biologically-based shell as a survival mechanism. (I am hesitant to use the words "egg" or "cocoon" because even if I say I am using the words metaphorically, someone might take the terms literally.)

This mechanism is being used as a means to force humanity to rationalize its circumstances by making adjustments in perceptions and beliefs so as to maintain some relative measure of equilibrium that might be summed up as "making the best of a deteriorating circumstance". Metaphorically, it is like a person in the middle of an ocean having to make "rationalized adjustments" to a changing set of circumstances involving the incremental decay of the raft, boat or ship they are on.

The "three", "two", "four" "five", "seven", etc., examples that you encounter— very often reveal, upon closer examination, to be a product of smaller values put together... thus revealing the presence of a conserved (limited) number of recurring patterns humans are using again and again and again... with different symbols, words, sounds, feelings, etc., brought to bear on a given situation within which a particularized vernacular, jargon or ceremonial (social) activity may occur. Again, it is not that humans are incapable of thinking in more complex and quantitatively larger patterns, it's just that humans are being environmentally forced to utilize only a very few, as if the script of human existence is relegated to a small set such as those recognized in all stories. See: The Seven Basic Plots.

In other words, there aren't 50 plots, 100 plots, or a thousand, etc... The value of "seven" in this instance and other instances which you may want to use as an argument against a presumed understanding of what the "Threes Research Project" actually entails; is but another tell-tale sign that there exists a Conservation of mental activity taking place. And this conservation is being forced on humanity because of the planet and its system are heading towards a decay... and humanity is making "rationalized adjustments" that enable it to deny, ignore, or accept the situation as if it coincides nicely with some pathetically ridiculous theological perspective... (which is an example of the rationalized-adjustments exercise).

The use of the idea of "Mother Earth" is helpful in describing a type of parenting figure that does not want its children to be free to think their own thoughts (without permission— that is never granted) or make their own way. It is like a helicopter or Big Brother/Big Sister parental figure that wants to keep the child on a short leash... as if tied to an apron string or kept locked up in a basement, closet, room, garage, dog pen or playhouse. And even though it is widely realized that oh so many creatures are species-specifically kicked out of a nest, forced out of a den, head-butted out of a social group, etc., in order to force them to make their own way, humanity is refusing to recognize... refusing to take the clue, that the changes in the Earth's environment are telling humans to hit the road. Humanity must get off this planet in order to sever "Mother Earth's" umbilical cord.

Threes Road Map (60K)

In this "Road Map" selection, it is of need to point out that some people encounter their own dawning "threes" realization with some skepticism, while others think they have stumbled upon some "truth" that has been overlooked, only to eventually find that there are others who have come upon this road themselves. While some simply cross over the road, others tend to walk (or jog, run, skip, etc...) along it for awhile, taking in the various sights of different "threes" vistas found in a variety of subject areas.

Although I jumped into the discussion without an introduction, the commonality of our interest in the "threes phenomena" shows us to be of kindred spirits. My long-standing sincere interest in the "threes" serves as all the credentials any of us needs to gain entrance into what some may refer to as an esoteric (uncommon) club of interest, with one or another "threes" example to be used as the secret code that is the toll fee for venturing on this road.

Some travelers on this road may eventually come to divert their attention towards an attempted development of an idea with which to make a living. Others will engage in the occupation of puzzle creation and unraveling. Still others, will delve into one or another abstraction that may cause them to venture along paths at a distance which loses sight of the initial road they were on. Each of us must step to the beat of the drummer that we hear, however it is measured. I wish you well in your personal journey.

However, there are those who chance upon the road and become overwhelmed at the enormity of repetitions, like a driver that becomes so intoxicated by the passage of intermittently placed white lines that they are lulled into an hypnotic-like trance in which they lose sight of the more commonly routinized day to day perceptions called normalcy, sanity, and the like. In other words, they become lost because conventional perspectives do not afford them with sign posts with which to steer a course along a road with a dominant "threes" scenery and functionality. They may, on occasion, slip into a model of behavior that they or an influential other describes in derogatory terms such as being obsessive-compulsive... or even mentally disturbed because they can't seem to stop thinking in threes or encountering situations in which some model of "three" is present. They are experiencing what we might derogatorily describe as a hang-up, or we could more compassionately describe as a period of mental "looping".

Some people have an unrealized intelligence that, once opened, it causes a period of being overwhelmed due to finding a road that provides a level of freedom which their brain's functioning is liberated and becomes expressed with what some may label as a type of sustained "Eureka!" moment. For them, in their respective circumstances, they have ventured onto a plain of knowledge so utterly simple and yet profound in its simplicity, they wonder why others do not recognize it. In their own way, in their own time, they have moved away from the hustle and bustle of the maddening crowd and found a spot upon which they see things a little clearer... and then some run into difficulty when they attempt to convey their newly found truth to others in their immediate social sphere who are so caught up in their own values of presumed truth, they are not able to fully appreciate what is being expressed. While some truths are in the telling, if one is not familiar enough with the truth, or the people being told in a given social setting are too obsessed with their own interests to be bothered with any additional information; they may well turn to the usage of aggression to get a person to stop reciting a value of truth they are not ready to comprehend. This is particularly true if a person being told does not have even a basic knowledge of multiple subjects.

In my own "threes" travels, like Johnny Appleseed I attempt to plant seeds of a threes perception amongst different people I meet, and find a variety of responses. No one that I have yet personally encountered is aware of the threes phenomena. I am not talking about those who have webpages which reference the "three" or those I have corresponded with regarding instances of "threes", I am talking about store clerks, street workers, people at laundry mats, and even the common University student. As simple as it is to think in threes, or twos, or some other number-associated pattern, there is a consistent rudimentary awareness. While some people may reference knowledge of a wide-spread cultural reference such as "death occurs in threes", or some other superstition related to a number such as "13", the usage of "thinking in terms of a numerical association" is not a convention... at least not amongst those I have spoken with who... though it may be that they simply are not practiced at thinking about how often they rely on numerical associations for memorization— though certainly most of us use number associations for this or that means of tallying one or another type of memory... be it dates, telephone numbers, counting money, keeping tabs on costs, etc...

While it appears that most of us travel a rode in which various numbers exist, such as speed limits, odometer readings, temperatures, etc., we don't characteristically form a working memory on the types of repetition we use. Most people seem to be consciously unaware of how often a pattern of three crops up in day to day circumstances; and if a given pattern is recognized, there is a chance that a person will interpret the repetition in a negative way. To me, it is fun to catalog different forms of threes, though I admit that I must intentionally look away from the ability to observe the many instances of threes which occur from day to day or I won't get anything else done. It's alright for me to be a little neurotic, but I must keep my enthusiasm in check in order that I don't become a barking lunatic. HA! (Even though some people think my interest in the threes phenomena is phenomenally crazy.)

If you have been on the road -of- threes for awhile, much of what I have said will be easily understood. But others may want to use it as an excuse to make a detour, because their sole interest for retaining any information is to make money or be able to use it as a tool of manipulation, or for some egotistical reason. And though I would like to think that three minutes from now I will know everything there is about "threes" and its relationship to other numbers, the problem is that every time I think about this it is always three minutes from now... and then another three minutes from now... forever. Since I can't seem to get to the end of the road, as if it's a treasure map; I conclude (for the moment), that it is the journey which is most important. At least this is the philosophical rationale that I employ to ease my conscience. Then again, there are times I attempt some other traveling tactic in order to speed up the journey, only to find that there is yet another three-patterned bend in the road up ahead, yet even when I point it out to others, they seem to see some variation of a straight and narrow path that they are especially "chosen" to travel because of some giftedness, talent, quality, etc...

And let me be honest by saying that there are times when I have tried to cheat by leaving the road and taking a shorter path through some field, as if to make the distance a little shorter. But, like a kid walking along a railroad track, kicking a can, walking a curb or engaging in some other imaginative diversion; I continually look up to see something that fits into the threes world-view. At such a juncture, at times, I have deliberately tried to think like so many others who appear to be oblivious of the threes phenomena, only to find I am so utterly bored (even when I'm making money); because the task is invariably mind numbing and the typical co-worker has a day to-day soap opera mindset of interests. Like so many who quickly get a job done in order for them to be able to spend more time doing more important day-dreaming, and contemplations; which was afforded to such notables as Einstein, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and Charles Dickens because they had acquired positions as clerks. For myself, I got a position working a monotonous position in a bank as a type of clerk in charge of delinquent accounts, at which time (after I resigned due to utter boredom and I didn't get along with the new boss who wanted to restrict my working routine), I took the time off to compile the information on the old double-sided Threes poster. The much older Three Wise Men poster was compiled when I was taking some University courses that permitted me to day dream while walking to school, between classes, (and during them), which... in a sense, was like being a clerk stuck at a mindless task.

As far as I know, there are no University courses which teaches the "threes phenomena", though a course on the philosophical notion of "phenomenology" may be taught by someone who dabbles in this area. Otherwise, the recurrence of a "threes" recurrence is not as yet respected, unless it is found in a topic such as Threes in human anatomy and is taught by someone such as John McNulty who is cognizant of the phenomena... even though his website does not get into the speculation of why such a pattern reoccurs. If ever a course was to be sanctioned, I would love to be considered for the position of instructor because the topic trespasses into so many different subject areas, and is relevant because it is a measurable attribute of one type of pattern recognition.

One of these measurements is the inevitability of recognizing that there are only a few number-related patterns we humans indulge in. In other words, there is no recurrent usage of a number such as 1,111 to be found in different subject areas. While we find ones, two, threes, fours, fives and a few others; this low number of pattern recurrences is a pattern in itself. It suggests that there is a deliberate enforcement of a conservation of patterns we do or can relate to with a number. In many instances, we resort to geometric (or if you prefer: "artistic") patterns. And this says nothing about patterns related to the senses of smell, touch and hearing. For some, it appears that when a perception or sense-impression is quantified, "something is lost in translation". As if in quantifying, we reduce the quality of something, perhaps because some people have a negative interpretation of number values since they are typically used in some form of commercialization... of rote assignation, which is a realm that supposedly is devoid of color, music and other patterns attributed with pleasurable connotations that do not readily yield themselves up to descriptions suggesting limitation.

Because the usage of numbers is itself a pattern to be related to the type of species we are in the context of the Earth, Solar System, Galaxy and Universe; the aforementioned "conservation of number" related to patterns must also be placed into this consideration. In other words, our perceptions and present usage of the "threes phenomena" must be seen as a correlation to the effects of the environment in which we inhabit, and thus further suggests the same influences will not necessarily exist outside the immediate influences of the Earth. This is to say that whatever has prompted the recurrence of the threes phenomena may not exist at a given distance from the Earth, and our world view will be quite different... because of a change in our biology-influence physiology.

If something existing on and/or near the Earth, billions of years ago, encouraged the design of a (perceived) triplet coding system in DNA and RNA and its third bio-polymer family member (proteins); and remains sufficiently viable enough to sustain these patterns; then any change in this influence may well exert a change in the structure of our basic biology, that will ultimately cause changes in our presently fashioned three-patterned anatomical scaffolding. Because the so-called "triplet" formulas of DNA and RNA reflect more of a three-to-one ratio, it is this pattern, and not necessarily the "three" by itself that may be of profitable research:

Three - "to" (2) - One ratio
~ Item ~ ~ 3 →→→ the same ~ ~ 1 → is different ~
DNA = [Adenosine - Cytosine - Guanine] Thymine
RNA = Uracil

And as for the third major biopolymer denoted as Proteins, we find a {Primary - Secondary - Tertiary} structure sequencing, with a composite of these labeled the Quaternary. In other words, it too can be illustrated in the 3-to-1 ratio formula. In addition, let us include the Christian Trinity as "three persons in one", the typical street-light as a three-in-1 mechanism, the U.S. has three branches in one government, many people hold one pencil/pen with three fingers, we separate three number places (ones, tens, hundreds) with a comma before adding a thousand's place, women have three trimesters for one pregnancy, there are three "moments" (dawn, noon, dusk) in one Sun, there are three typical vending machine coins (nickels, dimes, quarters) to one paper denomination (dollar bill), etc...

When we note this pattern, it behooves us to gather other 3 -"to"- 1 examples (page A), providing that we do not engage in some sort of "subject specific" restriction or "subject internalized" definitions. We must provide ourselves a wide latitude of being objectively magnanimous, even though there may be an inclination to grasp onto the first one, two, or three patterns initially recognized. Many a person has gone thirsty by thinking they see a pool of water as an oasis in a desert filled with numerous wonders, even to trained eyes that have learned to focus their eyes at a given setting of adjustment. For example, the "3-to-1" reference may be more useful if we use "3-in-1", "3-out of-1", etc..., which can be viewed as related family members.

Along this "threesological" road can be encountered many panoramic vistas as well as cul-de-sacs, canyons, and a variety of specialized entertainments which can be logged into one's traveling journal. Whereas some prefer to record everyday examples, there are some who prefer those which are specialized such as the results of a test or experiment. While some will indulge in the usage of "threes" being included in a given conversation or script... because they know that patterns-of-three are a commonality which affords one with a type of password if they engage in a similar recitation thereof; others use it as a point of detecting whether someone is using the pattern as a tool of manipulation. In a sense, patterns-of-three can be a type of loop-whorl-arch finger printing reference, an ABO blood-typing signal, or the recurring "modus operandi" of a given thinker. No less, the absence of its recurrence should also be noted as a tale-tell sign of the environment one has ventured into.

While in a research mode, if I witness a pattern other than three, I consider the possibility that it occurs in the midst of one or more patterns-of-three, even if the speaker or writer (actor/actress/director) of a given scene in such a research drama are unaware of such a presence. As mentioned earlier, a person can be oblivious of their usage of "threes", even though, for example— they may resort to using three examples of some other pattern such as twos, that I referenced on another page posted at another site:

As another example of a "one-two-three" formula that can be overlooked, particularly by anyone not looking for such an arrangement, the following ideas have been embellished from a text entitled Dichotomy, Dualism, Duality: An investigation into Marxist conceptualizations of structure and agency by Alexander Gallas, because he uses three types of "two" to portray "...variants of Marxist social theory approach (to) the structure-agency relation. In the paper, he follows a set of classifications developed by Bob Jessop, which allows for arranging conceptualizations of structure and agency according to their complexity.

I have attempted to point out the presence of an overall 1,2,3 arrangement in the conceptualization, even if some readers would have preferred the usage of some other ending analogies.

  1. Dichotomous = conceptualize a one-dimensionality type of [stand alone] separation between (Structure)/(Agency)---
    Man is an Island.

  2. Dualism = the structure-agency relation is a causal relation (cause (x) generates effect (y)... producing relative determinism or relative voluntarism---
    Man is an Island surrounded by a Body of Water which can produce undermining philosophical obstacles (which could generate an ambivalence such as whether to stay put or venture forth).

  3. Duality = Integrative approach---
    Both island and water are serviceable (leading to a trichotomy).

Source: Marx's Brain Development

In our analysis of the "threes phenomena" as related to an aspect of psychology looking into the phenomena of counting that we may want to correlate with studies done on the counting abilities of animals, we might come across a topic that is generally overlooked because of how it is entitled:

Is "Threeness" recognition SUBITIZING?

Subitizing is a word used by researchers to describe an ability to repeatedly recognize (in a rapid fashion), small groups of items without having to count them in a serial fashion such as 1, 2, 3, etc... However, research focused on such an ability to recognize a certain (numerically defined) grouping pattern, often do not give a sense of whether the tested subject(s) did or did not engage in some type of (personalized) counting scheme to initiate the preferentially used pattern of grouping. In other words, is there some unrecognized calculating formula being used that a subject is comfortable with such as a pattern-of-one, pattern-of-two, pattern-of-three?

Perhaps an example may be of value:

Over a decade ago I had an opportunity to observe individuals working on a production line without them realizing that I was gathering information about preferential grouping methods in order to write a paper suggesting ways in which production methods might be improved on the human level at little cost with respect to very little "down time" in terms of interrupting production.  The ages of the male and female workers ranged from 21 to 50 with education levels ranging from a High school Equivalency Diploma (GED) to a Bachelor's degree.  Unfortunately, due to a severe illness, I was unable to complete the study but I will mention what I had observed.

Out of ten individuals, six of them used a pattern-of-two formula, two of them used a 2 X 2 ("four") formula, and two of them actually counted (and were the slowest packagers of the product).  The product was a type of dermal patch that was a little larger than the size of a square-shaped individualized sugar portion found in many restaurants, and packaged into a carton containing fifty of them.  Because I was introduced by the foreman as someone who was "helping out" for awhile before being placed on a regular shift," I was generally accepted as one of the regular workers and was able to take over different positions as a "beginner."

When I asked whether or not I should count them, some of them replied that "they" automatically know how many to get, (as if their ability to rapidly recognize a certain quantity was a specialized talent), while others say that they get a headache if they count all day, and simply look and pick up two without having to think about it, which made their job easy.  As I tried using the "two" formula, I found it exasperatingly slow and decided to use other formulas such as three.  After awhile, this too became quite easy so I tried additional values such as 4, 5, and 6.   I must confess that even as I used the "three" grouping method without counting, I was beginning to make the "two" counters uneasy because I was packaging more items than they were, and they were forced to increase their production in order to not appear to be falling behind, particularly to someone that is a beginner.

As I continued to experiment with the larger quantities beyond 3, those who were using a form of what first appeared to be a "4" formula, further observation helped me to recognize that they were using a rapid form of 2 X 2 "collecting," which was being used by those who wanted to give the impression that they were somehow superior to the others, yet they would frequently maneuver themselves into other positions which provided them with periodic rest periods from having to gather the product in this manner.  This is also true for those who attempted to keep pace with me (in my experimentation of larger grouping methods), which in one case had influenced one particular male (in his thirties) to boast that he "collects" (grabs) the product in groups of five, yet he could only sustain this method for a very short period before trading places with another worker who was doing a task that was much easier in the sense of not having to package (count) the items... which is mentally fatiguing for those who do indeed count as opposed to those who simply recognize a grouping quantity through a visual form of pattern recognition.

The term "Subitizing" was first coined by Kaufman, Lord, Reese & Volkmann (1949) Defined as: “The rapid, confident and accurate report of the numerosity of arrays of elements presented for short durations ” Mandler & Shebo (1982, p.1)

For more on Subitizing: Artificial Intelligence and Threesology pg 29

While there are many twists and turns on the threesological road, for those so inclined, the road displays a "three" for those who can see. And it begs the question of why the road builder(s) used such a pattern, unless it is the image of a pattern mis-represented... but not necessarily misinterpreted. And though the road appears to be a circular course, this may be due to relativity (perception)... because of the circle (Earth) upon which we inhabit.

Page initially created: Saturday, 12-Nov-2016... 04:34 AM
Initial Posting: Saturday, 12-Nov-2016... 09:30 AM
Updated Posting: Friday, 16-June-2017... 10:51 AM

Flag counter added to a previous Home page: Friday, 16-Sep-2016 (approx.) 11:20 AM.
The flag counter counts only those who come to the home page. It does not count visits to other pages at this website.

Your Questions, Comments or Additional Information are welcomed:
Herb O. Buckland