Threesology Research Journal
Novum Organum Threesiarum
(New Instrument of Threes)
- page three -

(The Study of Threes)

...The "Novum Organum Threesiarum" is a means of attempting an overall surveyor's map and trail (of bread crumbs the previously mentioned "shadow animals" won't eat). And even though I'm making museful allusions to my own "threes" collecting and research, the images might help some readers get the gist of what I'm trying to convey without rendering too far in either direction of ascertainable comprehension— or try to deliberately equivocate in an attempt to imply it can not be grasped without indulging in some form of esoteric knowledge. I am not intentionally trying to be evasive or place up obstacles like some business, government or religion who uses hiring policies, eligibility requirements, or formulaic recitals like a rite of passage, labyrinth, or hoop-jumping gauntlet. There's far too much of the "join the club", "become a member", or "patriotic chanting, garment wearing, do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do" nonsense already in vogue, and are reminiscent of the activities we used to do in childhood with neighborhood kids.

A subject can remain in the dark if its illumination exceeds the flimsy torches of present words, and ideas. When a forest fire is set aflame, the light emitted by a campfire is but a minuscule shadow thereof... Far too many think our present symbolic languages (words, numbers, symbols, etc.,) are accurate and adequate enough to describe and define all perceptions. In actuality, our present forms of communication are worse than the picture writing used by peoples in the past... when compared to that which I hope humanity might someday achieve. Our present forms of communication are mere grunts, snorts, and murmurings of an as yet to-be-developed expressive language that most people may not have even considered as a possibility.

A further appreciation of this might possibly be fostered by trying to imagine the mind of those in the past that used hieroglyphics. It was denoted a "higher" form of glyph expression not only because it was "authorized" by reigning authority, or used repeatedly by others, but because its usage became catalogued... in as much as one might want to think of stone tablets, tomb and other inscriptions can be viewed as a "catalogue" or list.

However, not everyone claims to make or use lists, perhaps because they want to give themselves or someone else the impression of having a good memory, or that they forget to take a list with them, such as to buy groceries. And some people make an ongoing list of excuses, lies or of things they use to entertain themselves with in daydreams. In fact, dreams may be just a list on a type of revolving indexing system that is somehow (food, beverage, event) set into automated motion and "flickers" in one's mind like a series of pictures flipped quickly through to produce animation. Then again, looking at a television show guide, reading contents in a book, or recalling a memory, are all forms of list usage.

Irrespective of all these aside comments, comparing the minds of those in the distant past with our present mentality and ours with a future mind, ours is more primitive. Imagine yourself to be the person in the past who began to collect different "pictures" and was trying to tell others that the list approximated a new form of mentality, a new form of perception and communication. While those you showed the list to could recognize many, if not all of the pictures, they could see no relevance to it. In fact, some of them thought you to be wasting your time or even possibly experiencing some form of mental illness. Such has been the same for many artists, poets, educators, scientists and social reformers. Such is the same for Threes Researchers. (Tis a compliment.)

It is much easier to do so if only one subject area is targeted such as by Dr. McNulty who uses a list of threes in human anatomy with which to teach his students.

However, the task is made more difficult when larger amounts of information from different subject areas are accumulated and that Michael Eck has placed into Book of Threes.

There have been a few people in history who have collected large amounts of information and placed them into a format called an Encyclopedia. References to such individuals label them as Encyclopediasts. Here is a short list:

  • Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23 – August 25, AD 79), better known as Pliny the Elder—

    He was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian— He Wrote Natural History, a vast compendium of ancient sciences that is now claimed to be of little scientific merit but was popular in antiquity and the Middle Ages.

    Image of Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th-century portrait. No contemporary depiction of Pliny is known to survive.

Pliny the Elder (9K)
  • Vincent de Beauvis (c. 1190 – 1264?)—

    The Dominican friar Vincent of Beauvais (Vincentius Bellovacensis or Vincentius Burgundus) wrote the Speculum Maius, the main encyclopedia that was used in the Middle Ages. Vincent's Speculum Maius (The Great Mirror), the compendium of all of the knowledge of the Middle Ages, seems to have consisted of three parts:

    1. Speculum Naturale (Mirror of Nature)
    2. Speculum Doctrinale (Mirror of Doctrine)
    3. Speculum Historiale (Mirror of History)
  • All the printed editions, however, include a fourth part, the Speculum Morale, added in the 14th century and mainly compiled from Thomas Aquinas, Stephen de Bourbon, and a few other contemporary writers.
Vincent de Beauvais (14K)
  • William Caxton (ca. 1415~1422 – ca. March 1492)—

    He wrote the encyclopedia entitled Mirror of the World (1481). He was a printer trained in Cologne, as well as a merchant, diplomat and writer. He is thought to be the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England. He was also the first English retailer of printed books (his London contemporaries in the same trade were all Flemish, German or French). He also produced The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye (Bruges, c1475), which was the first book printed in English; and The Dictes and Sayenges of the Phylosphers (1477), was the first book printed in England. In 2002 he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons in a BBC poll.

William Caxton (13K)
Caxton showing the first specimen of his printing to King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth at the Almonry, Westminster (painting by Daniel Maclise).
  • "Voltaire" was the pen name of François-Marie Arouet (November 1694 – 30 May 1778), —

    He was a French satirist, polemicist, poet, dramatist, novelist, historian, letter-writer, one of the Philosophers and a genius of the Enlightenment. He contributed to Diderot's Encyclopédie and wrote his own Philosophical Dictionary (1764).

    The name "Voltaire", which the author adopted in 1718, is an anagram of "AROVET LI," the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the initial letters of "le jeune" ("the young"). The name also echoes in reverse order the syllables of the name of a family cháteau in the Poitou region: "Airvault". The adoption of the name "Voltaire" following his incarceration at the Bastille is seen by many to mark Voltaire's formal separation from his family and his past.

Voltaire (11K)
  • Ephraim Chambers (c1680 - 1740)—

    He wrote the Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences

    Chambers was born in Kendal, Westmorland, England, and attended Heversham Grammar School there. Little is known of his early life, other than that he was apprenticed to a globe maker, John Senex, in London from 1714 to 1721. It was here that he developed the plan of the Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. After beginning the Cyclopaedia, he left Senex's service and devoted himself entirely to the encyclopedia project. He also took lodging in Gray's Inn, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia 1728 (13K)
Title Page of Cyclopaedia
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778)—

    He was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological, and educational thought. He argued that private property was the start of civilization, inequality, murders and wars. He wrote for Diderot's Encyclopédie in Paris from 1745.

Jean Jacques Rousseau (19K)
  • Denis Diderot (Oct. 5, 1713 - July 31 1784) —

    He was a French philosopher, art critic, writer and a prominent person during the Enlightenment, and is best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor and contributor to the Encyclopédie (1751 - 1772) along with Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1717 - 1783). d'Alembert was a French philosopher, physicist, mathematician and another leading figure in the Enlightenment. His early fame rested on his formulation of d'Alembert's principle in mechanics (1743). His other works treat calculus, music, philosophy and astronomy.

Denis Diderot (117K)
  • Claude Adrien Helevétius (January 26, 1715 - 26 December 1771)—

    He was a French philosopher and littérateur. His work The Mind (1758) was considered godless and caused such a furor that he was attacked by his fellow Encyclopediasts Voltaire and Rousseau, but his work later influenced Utilitarianism developed by Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 183l); who is said to have had a major influence on prison and law reform in the 19th Century.

Claude Adrien Helvetius (12K)
  • William Chambers (16 April 1800 – 20 May 1883)

    He was a Scottish publisher who, with his brother Robert, formed the firm of W. and R. Chambers, which published, amongst other things, Chambers's Edinburgh Journal and Chambers's Encyclopedia.

William Chambers (10K)
William Chambers
  • Robert Chambers (1802 - 1871)—

    He was a Scottish publisher, geologist, evolutionary thinker, author and journal editor who, like his elder brother and business partner William Chambers, was highly influential in mid-19th century scientific and political circles. Chambers was an early phrenologist and was the anonymous author of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, which was so controversial that his authorship was not acknowledged until after his death.

Robert Chambers (16K)
Robert Chambers

The first Encyclopedia Britannica was composed by printers Colin Macfarquhar and Andrew Bill, and edited by printer William Smellie. They completed the encyclopedia in 1771, and it was published in Edinburgh, Scotland. Encyclopaedia Britannica online)

Colin Macfarquhar (1745? – 2 April 1793) was a Scottish bookseller and printer. He is best known for being one of the "Society of Gentlemen in Scotland", along with Andrew Bell, who first published the Encyclopædia Britannica. Macfarquhar also contributed heavily to the second and third edition. The dates of his birth and death remain uncertain, even to Britannica itself.

Bell engraving (11K) Andrew Bell (1726–1809) was a Scottish engraver and printer, who co-founded Encyclopædia Britannica with Colin Macfarquhar. Bell was born in Edinburgh in 1726, his father a baker. He had little formal education and was apprenticed to the engraver Richard Cooper. Bell was a colourful Scot. His height was 4 foot 6; he had crooked legs and an enormous nose that he would sometimes augment with a paper-mache version whenever anyone stared at his natural nose. Bell began work as an engraver of crests, names, etc. on dog collars. Despite his small stature, he deliberately rode the tallest horse available in Edinburgh, dismounting by a ladder to the cheers of onlookers.

Bell produced almost all of the copper-plate engravings for the 1st-4th editions of the Britannica: 160 for the 1st, 340 for the 2nd, 542 for the 3rd, and 531 for the 4th. By contrast, the 50 plates of the Supplement to the 3rd edition were engraved by D. Lizars. For the 1st edition, Bell produced three full pages of anatomically accurate depictions of dissected female pelvises and of foetuses in wombs for the midwifery article; these illustrations shocked King George III who commanded that the pages be ripped from every copy.

After Macfarquhar died in 1793, Bell bought out his heirs and became sole owner of the Britannica until his own death in 1809. He quarrelled with his son-in-law, Thomas Bonar, and refused to speak with him for the last ten years of his life.

William Smellie (8K) William Smellie (1740–1795) was a Scottish master printer, naturalist, antiquary, editor and encyclopedist. At the age of 28, Smellie was hired by Colin Macfarquhar and Andrew Bell to edit the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, which appeared in 100 weekly installments ("numbers") from December 1768 to 1771. It was a masterful composition although, by his own admission,[2] Smellie borrowed liberally from many authors of his day, such as Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Pope and Samuel Johnson. Nevertheless, the first edition of the Britannica contained gross inaccuracies and fanciful speculations.

He was friends with Robert Burns, whose assessment is engraved on Smellie's tombstone: "Here lies a man who did honour to human nature". Burns also described him fondly in a letter as "that old Veteran in Genius, Wit and Bawdry".

Here's some Wikipedia information on a particular type of list maker:

The encyclopédistes were a group of 18th-century writers in France who compiled and wrote the Encyclopédie, edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. More than a hundred encyclopédistes have been identified. Many were part of the intellectual group known as the philosophes. They promoted the advancement of science and secular thought and supported tolerance, rationality, and open-mindedness of the Enlightenment. Still, as Frank Kafker has shown, the encyclopédistes were not a unified group, neither in ideology nor social class. Below are some of the contributors:

There are many others who have contributed to Encyclopedias in different ways. Though they may not be familiar with every topic in a single or multi-volume set, lots of different topics and ideas may be recalled from some repository in their memory once it is stirred towards some level of refreshment. Yet, the information may not be strung together inter-relatedly, in one way or another; to produce some inter-twined coherent relevance other than some item used as a conversation-piece- superficiality (that is sometimes referred to as trivia in today's vernacular), or is aligned in terms of a bracelet with dangling charms. Then again, you might more commonly observe multiple keys dangling from a chain, with each key used as a means of stirring memories of which door they fit and what contents lie behind the door.

The foregoing keys reference reminds me of a poem I wrote several years ago:

Keys and Locket

The keys and the locket
are not the only on the chain
though they are carried in your pocket
you are carried just the same.

You are known to yourself and others
by the doors your keys will fit
how much is shared with your brothers
and what contradiction is perceived as wit.

Of dreams, of love, of fun long ago
reflections embossed by locket
deliberately you seek to know
and what is the depth of your pocket?

While another might want to adapt a sort of Librarian's Dewey Decimal system approach to their cataloguing efforts, such an exercise is not expressly focused on attempting to address the information in a comprehensive personal philosophy as is being of particular interest to the efforts of Simon Kelsey with his Triplicity: The uniqueness of three in life. But there are others with a similar interest delving into the phenomena of "threes" from their individual perspectives and philosophical proclivity.

What is particularly interesting, aside from a mention of various "threes" by a Cultural Anthropologist such as Alan Dundez in his 1967/1968 book entitled "Every man his way" in the chapter entitled "The Number Three in the American Culture", and the occasional question about the "three" such as Why are there three of everything? posed by the physicist John Butterworth. While there are a few other instances, there is no academically concerted effort in "threes" research, at least not publicly visible.

And it should be noted that it is not an uncommon thing to find entire cultures wrong about a subject. A case in point: Few if any believed that the Nazis were systematically exterminating Jews and others in "Death Camps," just like those of today can not fathom the belief that "elements" in the American government could have assisted in the perpetration of destroying the Twin Towers in New York, even when evidence suggested complicity by government sources. Such examples are of value because they occurred during an age when people consider themselves to be intellectually enlightened and not gullible... much less cowards to speak their own mind when confronted by the tyrannies of homosexuals merciously wielding a club called "homophobic" against those whose views are felt to be anti-thetical to their own.

Initial Posting Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Posting update: Friday, April 25, 2014
HTMl (4.01) update: Sunday, May 26, 2019... 10:04 AM

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