Threesology Research Journal
3s Interest Origins
Page 2

(The Study of Threes)

My "Threes" vocation most assuredly has had some influence resulting from my interest in numbers at an early age; a short recounting of which may help to elucidate my own recall of the specific time and place I became "Threes conscious" in terms of a patterns-of-three awareness.

While as a child in first and second grades, I began to find patterns in numbers with respect to reoccurrence such as:

  1. In comparing the ages of neighborhood children though fractions (6 1/2, 6 3/4 etc,. were extremely important in deciding who was older) the cost of penny candy and going to the movie (for 10 cents), mentally.

  2. Forming rudimentary equations by using house and street numbers that were subjected to my own brand of deductive reasoning.

  3. And let me not forget to mention differentiating numerical values by learning to tell time, with the value of "3:00 O'clock" somehow transfixed in my mind at this moment, perhaps because I awakened this A.M. at that time in order to place this pre-written information into HTML format.

While most children also encounter such forms of innumerative interplay, such "number learning incidents" in one's culture don't appear to typically absorb most children to the degree of absorption I consider myself to have been subjectively involved. Even though I didn't verbalize nor acknowledge my "absorption" with number-- related experiences, in retrospect, as I reflectively examine my many different intellectual forays; my present interest in the threes phenomena suggests I had more than a usual interest in number associations, ...though at the time such a thought never came to mind. Yet, if such events are duplicated in another child's life, this does not necessarily mean such an interest is a preeminent factor in detailing who will or will not become "threes" oriented.

At this early age I also noticed numerical patterns in the neighborhood games we played such as:

  • "Hide-n-Seek" (count to one hundred)
  • "Go-Sheepy-Go" (another variation of hide-n-seek)
  • "Mother May I" (take three giant steps, etc...)
  • "Swing the Statue" (practicing different mental patterns to express physically)
  • "Red Rover" (the winner is the side that collects the most players determined by counting)
  • "Crack the Whip" (the final three not thrown by the whip cracker were held in high esteem)
  • And of course choosing equal numbers of players for more formalized social games such as baseball, kickball, and the like, with the value that an odd number of players resulted in off-setting the numerical discrepancy by then dividing up players by skill level, with two lesser skilled players placed on one team and a better skilled player placed on a team with less players.

But, none of the kids I played with in childhood, who were also subjected to these same number using games, developed an interest in any number-related compilation other than the hoarding of certain items one typically sees being collected by adults in their day to day living routines. Whereas one person may have a dozen wrenches of one size, the quantity is not necessarily counted or socially reflected on. Even though I have noticed some people I did not share childhood moments with that do use a form of counting system when discussing the number of guns, fishing poles, vehicles, etc., they have collected. But such number-related itemizations are particularly elementary.

...I should also to mention being taught to identify particular values assigned to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishings, by adults, during competitive events, as another number orienting occurrence.

It was at this early age that I also began to write poetry. Poetry, specifically the rhymed variation, has, for me, an underlying triplet base... such that a rhyme within a single line can occur at the beginning, somewhere in the middle, or at the end; not to mention the numerical variations of rhyme placement from line to line and then some. For me, poetry is an equation. Whereas the rhymed part is easy, the almost indescribable intimations of subtle nuances provoking thoughts and ideas seems always to taunt me just at the edge of my finger tips, or tongue, or pen/pencil tip. There exists a recurring refrain that haunts my attention at a distance I have spent my entire life trying to reach by description. While I think I am very close at times, it remains like an insect one is trying to catch, or swat, or swhoosh out the door/window. This very nearly describes my adventures with the threes phenomena as well.

But unrhymed poetry deserves mention as well, though it holds little fascination for me, just as does so-called picture or visual poetry where the arrangement of words to form a visible picture is deemed poetry. Unrhymed poetry has its own traditional forms of rhyme with respect to content, ideas/emotions explored, revealed context, and the like. ...even if a non-rhyming poet wants to claim greater sophistication for presumed character-formed concentric ripplets suggesting a much larger presence, in an attempt to cover-up simplistic meanderings contoured by vagueness to give the appearance of some deep attribute not fully appreciated by common definitions or means of descriptive portrayal byway of conventional channels of communication.

Simplistic expressions such as are most often expressed by humans, particularly seen in songs, are nothing more than... hmmm, simplistic expressions, regardless of the syllable count in a word. Trying to make them other than what they are, such as into some form of crossword or jigsaw puzzle the reader must figure out,... as if this increases the value of the simplisticism, is like trying to paint a bucolic landscape from a stuporous memory with a single color while being blindfolded and thinking it a work of art even though most of the paint (expression) remains on (or inside some pocket placed rag on) the painter.

But enough of the divergence into poetry, let's get back to the threes topic at hand.

During these early years I also noticed flashes of light while my eyes were closed while laying in bed in a darkened room during a lighting storm. The flashes in my brain occurred just prior to a lightning flash taking place nearby in the sky; distinctive events which were obviously different. I thought it was pretty neat that I could foretell the future event of a lighting flash before it occurred, but not so much that I thought it was an exceptional ability. The flashes frequently occurred in groups-of-three, though at the time I didn't think much of the numerical value, and I should also mention that there were single flash instances as well... that, interestingly enough can be numerically correlated with the 1 and 3-phase electric service in the United States. (I said "correlated" and not "connected.")

I do not remember any other numerical pattern that sticks out as a repetitive occurrence. On several occasions I also began to notice birds appearing to land alongside themselves in groups-of-three on telephone and power lines, but the placement and patterns which came to mind--- most often reminded me of musical notes seen on a sheet of music. I really didn't think too much of these events beyond the moment of occurrence to other non-bird related patterns-of-threes since I honestly thought everyone else had the same experiences, even though no one talked about them. I shrugged off the notion that the birds were "purposely" arranging themselves in such patterns and concluded it as just another curiosity of nature. Since I didn't read music with a coherent understanding, I can't tell you what sort of "song" or musical rendition was being portrayed.

One of my favorite pastimes in those early years was to wander for hours in the Natural museums on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio. I just couldn't get enough of all the different forms of information available. No doubt this is why I was transferred from a 3rd grade class to a 6th grade class where I got to read the teacher's text books, only to be placed in a separate class for kids who had to be given "special" tests. When all of us started to flunk, it was found that all of us hated the teacher we were placed with. She made learning intolerable... in other words, no fun. All the kids in the class purposely placed wrong answers on the assignments given, as a protest against her. She didn't even realize we were having a secret contest to see who could give the worst answer without laughing, even though we did, and she got mad cause we were laughing even when she threatened to take us to the principal's office and have us spanked with his wooden paddle. Imagine such a conspiracy amongst nine year olds! Down with the establishment!

As a teenager, I recall listening to a radio in a car (I don't remember the song) when the music vanished and I heard only the words being sung. I at first thought there was something wrong either with the radio or the song, so I turned to another station. Again while listening to another song, the music vanished and only the sung words remained. It was quite humorously strange, making me chuckle. So once more I changed the station. When the same event occurred once more, I concluded that I must be listening to the radio too much. However, the same event occurred again and again from then on, no matter what radio I was listening to. In other words, after the third time, I would either turn the radio off, or move away from it, because upon mentioning the circumstance to friends, they began to look at me funny, because everything was fine to them. I never mentioned the situation to anyone again until many years later, but only to those who themselves have had personally uncommon experiences. Perhaps for some readers, it is needless to say that without the musical accompaniment, the words being sung were viewed as silly and stupid. Because of the music I had not really paid much attention to the words being sung. When I did, brought about by these occasions, I realized I was listening to a bunch of nonsense.

With the foregoing said, instead of marching to the beat of a different drummer, I simply was not hearing any drummer at all, which nonetheless began to make me change (as an individual) just as if I were hearing a different beat than the common throng. Particularly when the beat I have heard is the playing of a three-patterned bag pipe "song" as if standing in an open field yet none are nearby and I am no where near an open field. Though I have tried to some extent in locating the particular bag pipe "song", I have not been able to find it. However, when I hear bag pipe music, it reaches to the very marrow of my bones. I don't know why, since I don't recall any childhood memories of bag pipes ever being played. For me, it's like the beat of a drummer from a very distant time and place that stirs memories stored in my genetics... and I am at a loss to explain it. But it's not an emotional circumstance for me, since emotions are much too superficial to explain that which seems to touch echoing chambers of my soul. Perhaps I have Scottish roots that transcend time and place. In any case, I hope the three-patterned bag pipe song is played for me when I pass from this world into the "threes" realm whatever and wherever that might be.

At this moment let me interject a thought concerning music. With respect to the ideas of "voices" being heard by characters in Homer's the Iliad and Odyssey as discussed by Julian Jaynes in is book "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", as a portrayal of how people typically described personal voices as gods; our modern day usage of music may be a way in which humanity provides themselves with a socially acceptable excuse, even though it is not defined as such, to conceal their own "voices" phenomena. The voices may be an indication that the human brain is still in a developmental transition. Music without words is a means to "quiet" our brain's from "thinking," which is an advanced form of brain transition away from simply "hearing voices" like someone calling one's name, or hearing someone "say something" that may or may not be distinct. Music with words helps us to "quiet" those intermittently encountered "sporadic"-like voices that can be heard at any time and place, including waking a person up.

The hearing of "voices" is not a sign of mental illness, it's an indication of normalcy. If you define the "voices" (whether they repeat or not), as bad or good, that's YOU doing the interpretation, not the voices. Yes, a person can hear the same content over and over again, that a brain in a stage of greater development will intermesh with a song, making a person "hear" (in one's mind) the repetition of a song, which typically means a small portion of a song is repeated over and over again in their mind. It should also be mention that one might very well interpreted or describe one or more voices as that belonging to an "inner voice" that is protective. Some may even describe it as a guardian angel, just as more ancient people described it as a personal god. All of this is quite normal. Even if the voice appears to be directing someone to do something wrong or bad, which would account for many impulsive criminal occurrences, the person themselves is not mentally sick because they did something bad or wrong because of a "voice," it's the resulting act that is sick. The person is, humorously put, guilty by association with a ghost.

Some people have, for reasons not understood in any as yet scientifically comprehended way, learned to sublimate the hearing of an inner voice into a feeling, an indistinct sense (that they may or may not innumerate such as by calling it their 6th sense), or call it instinct, or even perhaps want to egotistically define it as a special "gift" they have. It is unfortunate that humanity as a whole, as a united culture, has not yet learned how to identify characteristics of perception as part of the process of a human brain experiencing developmental transitions, while also developing public training centers to assist individuals with their individually experienced individualized points of transitional brain development. This would entail not only being able to recognized points of transition, but the many forms of "socially accepted excuses" for obscuring such things as one's voice or voices such as through music, drugs, drinking, crowd gatherings, etc..., which include the many activities where one tries to quiet the voices (whether or not they are distinctly heard or even identified as such), by "getting away from it all." Ah! so you ask, "but why voices?" that is a discussion for another time and place.

With the foregoing said, we might also say that "threes" are the form my "voices" have transitioned into a manifestation of a physical presence, metaphorically speaking, and one should not take the word "voices" as literally as one might want to infer that such only refers to human-like vocalized expression. There are many anthropomorphisms used such as the hands of a clock, the face of a vehicle, the eye of a storm, the after taste of a social encounter, the bite of a hot pepper, a babbling brook, etc...

And for a few final comments about a song or songs that may be repetitively heard (in one's mind): I have at times learned to distract myself from the occurrence of a song that goes over and over in my mind like a stuck phonograph record, by listening to a portion of another song such as might be encountered include the many activities where one tries to quiet the voices (whether or not they are distinctly heard or even identified as such), by "getting away from it all." Ah! so you ask, "but why voices?" that is a discussion for another time and place.

With the foregoing said, we might also say that "threes" are the form my "voices" have transitioned into a manifestation of a physical presence, metaphorically speaking, and one should not take the word "voices" as literally as one might want to infer that such only refers to human-like vocalized expression. There are many anthropomorphisms used such as the hands of a clock, the face of a vehicle, the eye of a storm, the after taste of a social encounter, the bite of a hot pepper, a babbling brook, etc...

And for a few final comments about a song or songs that may be repetitively heard (in one's mind): I have at times learned to distract myself from the occurrence of a song that goes over and over in my mind like a stuck phonograph record, by listening to a portion of another song such as might be encountered in a store or elevator (the elevator sound system provides the music but you have to provide the words), which sometimes works by a method of "canceling" in the sense of fighting fire with fire. I have also noticed, clearly by accident, that running an electrically motorized hand tool near one's head also serves to interrupt the repeating song... perhaps because the brain is electrical activity and the song is a magnetic field that has been disturbed like someone who placed a magnetic too close to a television set. (Running a hairdryer, electric drill, etc., near the screen usually gets rid of the distortions.) But I've also noticed that a prolonged changed of activity or routine can effect a stop of the repetition. For example, I was asked to house-sit for friends while they went on vacation, in order to feed their fish and dog. It was a nice break from a routine, where I kept encountering different songs being repeated. And no, for the arm chair psychologists reading this, I did not personalize the content of the songs as to having any relevance in my life.

Whoops, there I go again, off onto some related tangent, but let me return to describing events with respect to those which may have influenced by current adult interest in the threes phenomena. My sojourns into other areas of conversation is also how I daydream. You might say I'm writing this in my sleep in these early morning hours. I scurry from idea to another and then I may or may not combine them into some synthesis of coherent production. Very often I discard one or more items as I focus on the particulars of a single item. (I haven't figured out if I'm a butterfly dreaming I'm a man or a man dreaming I'm a butterfly or a (Fibonacci-ally enumerated) flowering plant having a philosophical discussion about man and a butterfly with a honey bee that I am distracting with my monologued sophistry. My previous discussion about the honey bee's figure-of-eight dance as a symbol of infinity kept the bee at bay for several weeks.)

Let me also tell of two other frequently recurring events in my life with respect to tears and knocking during my youthful years. Time and again I witnessed three tear drops falling from the left eye. I was not crying and there was nothing irritating it such that I could positively say I had something in my eye. Interestingly, when the three tear occurrence began to stop appearing, I began to hear various instances of three-knocks. Not three screams, chains rattling, owls hooting, or three ghostly apparitions wanting to show me the past, present and future like Mr. Scrooge, but plain ole' knockety- knock- knocks.

At first, I would go to the door only to find no one there and consider that I must have been mistaken. Yet when the three-knock phenomena occurred three times in a relatively short span of time, I thought it might be some neighborhood kid playing a joke. Upon discovering no one even remotely nearby, I shrugged it off and decided to claim the knocks as being due to the presence of a ghost. But this ceased to be funny after being awakened from a beginning or deep slumber on several occasions. As such, I would tell the ghost to stop messing around and come in or get lost so I could get some sleep. Most often the knocking would cease until some time in the future. Anyway, the knocks (on doors, ceiling, walls, windows and floors,) have persisted to this day, though at times with less frequency... like a playful ghost who departs for awhile because they have other places to haunt or some other ghostly things they've got to attend to. I have no idea why I have experienced the three-knock phenomena over and over again for many years. Aside from all the would-be psychoanalytic mumbo-jumbo, why do different people at different times in different places experience the phenomena as well?

While I can not at this very moment recall the exact time and place I acknowledged that I was actively collecting threes in a tabulated written form, though this might be deduced from information found in one of my journals buried on a trailer in a storage unit, containing journals of poetry as well; there are some tell-tale indications that I was already deep into the threes phenomena prior to 1984, the date which is displayed on the Three Wise Men poster:

[The poster contains a condensed version of a 333 line poem about patterns-of-three in the life of Jesus, that occurs in the English and other language translations; and is frequently misinterpreted as a confession on my part as playing witness to the religious role Jesus plays in Christian theology instead of being, as it is, but one example of a pattern-of-three amongst many that have been collected from various research excursions.]

Since I can remember the activity surrounding the efforts involved in getting the poster printed, (actually, the printing was the easy part, getting the various translations took about a year); noting that there were numerous "adventures" into the realm of threes exploration prior to this, I will surmise for the moment that the threes phenomena took an uncompromising hold on me somewhere in the 1970's, and a reflective attendance on my psyche in the form of undocumented memorizations in the 1960's.

It was in the 1970's that I discovered Professor Alan Dundez's "The Number Three in the American Culture" in a book entitled "Every Man His Way". I was so excited to have found someone who sees the same phenomena as I do, but I was also very jealous that he was able to articulate his observations into a coherent written form of presentation. Yet, I was incensed that he was claiming the phenomena of threes was the nature of culture and not the nature of nature. Oh! how could this intelligent person be so blind as not to see such a truth as I saw it? Upon re-examination I noticed that he had not provided much in the way of physiological, biological, nor genetic patterns-of-three examples. When the article/chapter was written, the acknowledgment of DNA's triplet codon system was not talked about or known as commonly as it was when I read the selection. Professor Dundez could be forgiven since his perspective was and is cultural anthropology.

During this same time I developed an intense interest in Circadian rhythms tied to the movement of the Sun. Again and again and again I awoke each day to see the Sun rise and set in a triangular fashion. When I tried to point this out to others, I got one of those (he's a weirdo) looks, though close friends were more accepting since I frequently presented them with unconventional perspectives of so-called normal reality. I even built a stringed triangle out in the backyard in order to "scientifically" test my hypothesis. It was as plain as day, yet no one I showed it to could see anything. Like early peoples, some of them thought the Sun's path went from one side to the other side in a horizontal linear fashion. Others preferred to say they saw the Sun travel a semi-circular fashion, though most had not really spent much time thinking about the path of the Sun. The realization of the Sun proceeding along a triangular pathway would later prove to be of imminent value to the 1-2-3 maturational development sequence hypothesis that was beginning to form.

The triangular solar path, the Sun's three intense moments (Dawn- Noon- Dusk), and a developed interest in chemical evolution provided the impetus for beginning elementary experiments into the effects of a three-patterned stroboscopic irradiation on life forms. My trials with gold fish only proved to breed short term experimentation because they all died after a few short hours of exposure. I did not have the financial means to pursue more sophisticated experiments even though such experiments are critical in enhancing our understanding of the threes phenomena.

My interest in threes, if I would surmise in a general way at this point, for the average reader, appears to arise from numerous three-patterned experiences that are not only remembered as repeating event types, but as a numerically denoted recall similarly associated with other events that may not be considered similar if no method of innumeration is employed as a mental cataloguing schema. Yet, such personal experiences may not be enough to explain what might be referred to as an immersion into the threes phenomena realm. Let me then further speculate by saying that my unusual experiences with threes and what might be interpreted as an impressionability thereto... coupled with an aligned threes-related memorization, caused an accumulation of threes material which took on a life of its own.

Such a foregoing consideration is an analogy to the idea concerning the emergence not only of life, but all of matter. In the latter case, it is thought that different forms of matter arose as a result of accumulated atoms which contain the three basic structures labeled Protons- Neutrons- Electrons. In the former case, it has been considered that life emerged as the result of accumulated biologically relevant substrates (in a primordial soup) which developed into a genetically oriented triplet codon system. With respect to the human body, it is the emergence of underlying three-patterned physiological/anatomical substrates. As a third example, it is sometimes mused upon that consciousness itself emerged as a phenomena of human brain activity by way of accumulated information being stored. Like a stream overflowing its banks due to an effusion of water that can not be contained or confined in a small space, human conscious learned to walk upon the shores girding its past, only to begin evolving from the laid down layers of plenty into a separate entity with an identity... such is the present state of human mentality.

For those who become aware of the threes phenomena, they realize that a threes consciousness develops after a certain amount and type of threes examples begin to take on a life form image in the sense of reappearing in view, like some portion of a hyper-or alternate consciousness. For those who don't acquire a threes "entity" consciousness, it is of value to note that their memory does not acquire a three-patterned routine of exercising a reflection of such. They don't see it even when it is pointed out to them. While there are some that begin to develop a threes consciousness such as they sometimes recall the colloquial observations recited in the expressions "Death occurs in threes", "Third time's the charm", or perhaps some other cultural, gender, or social three-related idea, we further note that such individuals don't move beyond an appreciation of these simplistic threes observances.

Many people, perhaps due to the particular social environment they are involved with, don't, at the very least, mentally catalogue various other three-patterned examples when exposed to them in their daily routines. And, interestingly, on some occasions, such individuals will not move into a thinking form of threes consciousness even when taught to recognize other examples of threes. The additional examples become other static forms of information that do not interact dynamically to produce a working threes-pattern awareness. They're like an old juke box that houses multiple recordings of different songs, but there is no underlying activity until prompted to do so by the usage of coins and selection buttons pushed. At such time they will be able to recite examples of three, but it is not a threes consciousness, only a type of memorization involving a limited memory of the patterns-of-three phenomena.

Yet, I am cognizant of other recurring patterns occurring that I may or may not innumerate or catalogue. It "just so happens" that most of the recurrences involve a pattern-of-three. For example, if it's not my keys that are dropped three times, then its a hand tool or something else. Sometimes the three-patterned events occur so frequently that I take them for granted. Sure, you can call me a klutz, an obsessive compulsive, or a slow learner who requires a three-part repetition, but the fact remains the pattern being exhibited is three-based and not some other number. While I have noticed that other people exhibit three-patterned "expressions" (vocal, behavioral/physiological) of various types, I seldom encounter someone who is cognizant that they do. Exhibiting the pattern and being aware that one does are different characteristics, just as is being aware of one's own and others awareness or lack thereof.

Humourously, at this point I must wonder, am I a man interested in threes phenomena or the threes phenomena interested in a man? Or am I a tortoise talking to the honey bee and flowering plant? Or...?

Content initially created December 14, 2011 with a slight update in Feb. 2012.

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