Threesology Research Journal
Research into the "Threes" Phenomena

~ The Study of Threes ~

The Threesology Research Journal is a study into what has frequently become referred to as the "Threes" Phenomena (and some think of it as "Phenomenology" with respect to a model of thinking in Philosophy). It is a study much like many other efforts at studying some subject, be it medicine, mathematics, art, music, biology, architecture, automotive mechanics, carpentry, sports medicine, massage therapy, animal husbandry, pharmacology, farming, hunting, fishing, etc...; except that the the "hands on" approach is as yet primarily on the intellectual level, even though I can visualize some experimental applications. However, a "STUDY" is an examination. It is not a demand, request nor expectation that you are required to believe in it as if it were a business ethic, patriotic duty or religious edict written on stone.

However, inasmuch as this is short introduction into a particular type of study, I am inclined to provide a short synopsis of conclusions I have thus far reached (and are presented as a type of "patent pending" expedition in that the conclusions are not to be viewed as definitive). I do so after the following links.

science (153K)

To begin a preliminary excursion into this study, for those who may have no idea what a "three" is, you may want to begin by looking at a list containing multiple subjects. Michael Eck's site is a particularly valuable resource:

Michael Eck

Book of Threes

Link to larger photo Michael Eck's collection efforts have quite possibly been the most enduring on the internet. The persistence and clarity of his work is cherished by all those who have a sustained interest in threes research, and we heart-fully acknowledge our indebtedness. The site address has recently changed and is now updated on this and the contents page. However, the uniquely coined word "Triclopedia" should be made as an historical reference to Mr. Eck.

Tom Van Gelder

Phenomenology - Threefoldness


For the skeptic, you might want to examine a single "serious" subject area such as human anatomy, even if you have little or no familiarity with the subject of anatomy. Dr. McNulty's site is an excellent beginning:

Dr. McNulty

List of Threes in human anatomy

Dr. McNulty's list is highly prized breath of refreshed air amongst those threes researchers who appreciate his (and others) efforts in compiling a list that illuminates a consistency not typically influenced (for the most part) by cultural fads, hearsay, or historical misrepresentations. His list has an expressed date of 1994 as its inception thus describing a longevity that others will no doubt pass on to succeeding generations.

With respect to the "threes" in human anatomy (which includes the many geo-metrically noted "triangular" configurations), such a list must be compared with other species' as well as denoting whether or not there is a change in our human threes-based anatomy over time. For example, what we of today might medically describe as a mutation might well be the formative structure of a new type of "three" that future generations of humans will have and may take for granted as most of us now take the various "threes" in our body for granted. Dr. McNulty's list is not meant to be exhaustive with respect to human physiology. Readers must keep this in mind because there are lots of other "threes" to be found.


From a cultural anthropological perspective, a good source is Alan Dundez's "The Number Three in American Culture", of which I have recreated and placed at this site:

Professor Alan Dundez

The Number Three in The American Culture

Dr. Dundez' chapter designated "The Number Three in The American Culture", can be found in a copyrighted 1967-1968 book entitled "Every Man His Way." I have included the chapter in its entirety, in 3 pages listed as:

#3 in the American Culture A
#3 in the American Culture B
#3 in the American Culture C

For threes collectors, this book is a "must have" piece of written threes history. (There is also a great need for the funding of a Threes-related museum and library as well as experimentally based research to test hypothesis derived from the issues of "threes-related" questions that need to be answered and not remain in the realm of speculative philosophy.)


For those interested in Linguistics and Literature, a "Threes" resource is Dr. Croft's unique perspective applied to Russian Literature:

Professor L.B. Croft:

People in Threes Going Up in Smoke...
and Other Triplicities in Russian Literature and Culture

His article has brought much to the table of threes research considerations: For example, if it is true that the Russian peoples use more "threes" than other groups/cultures (at least in terms of what is being expressed in literature), are there identifiable influences which have created this circumstance such as diet, genetics, etc.? Do Russian infants babble in "chunks-of-three" more so than the infants of other cultures? Are Russian children exposed to "threes" (fairy tales, education standards, etc.) more than any other culture's children?

His thesis needs to be explored more comprehensively and deserves the necessary funding to accomplish these (and other literary-focused) analytical ends.


And for those interested in an original idea, Simon Kelsey's site is the on-going development of a philosophical perspective with a dimension of applicable practicality:

Simon Kelsey

  Triplicity- The Phenomenon of Threeness in Life

Mr. Kelsey's efforts are an interesting exploration into the threes phenomena as elucidating the need for adopting a comprehensive and comprehensible program-in-development criteria, the many facets of which are in the making. His research efforts are welcomed and I acknowledge that a host of the "threes" examples found on this site have come by way of his direct assistance.


There are other examples which can be found on the Contents page:

Threesology Research Journal Contents

There is as yet no University curriculum that I know of, which provides some semblance of a guide for whomever might be interested in the "threes" phenomena, for whatever personal or professional reason(s). And as such, there is no syllabus with which to give a student a truncated appreciation of that to be explored and the reasons for doing so. But I suspect that a different approach towards teaching will eventually be adopted, having arisen from research in the "threes" phenomena. I say this because it can not only provide an insight into basic thinking patterns, but help to collate large amounts of divergent material into a comprehensive perspective with which we can apply to all subject areas. Unfortunately, this is little understood.

Here is the beginning of some conclusions:

Calling the present study (a) research into the "Threes Phenomena" is a misnomer, since I have come to realize this is a rather superficial illustration of a much larger three-part Singularity - Duality - Plurality structure, with the most dominant plurality being patterns-of-three. In other words, we can find other number-referenced patterns which exceed the value of "three", such as four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, etc., but the most predominant plurality is a pattern-of-three. But don't take my word for it. Go ahead and try to find a number greater than three that has more examples in more subject areas than the "three". Please let me know when you find one.

As such, I need to revise an earlier conception which stated:

We are environmentally influenced to be genetically predisposed, to conceptualize many of our ideas, perform many of our activities, and grow physiologically along a one, two, three maturational development sequence.

It is revised thusly:

We are environmentally influenced to be genetically predisposed, to conceptualize many of our ideas, perform many of our activities, and grow physiologically along a singular, dual, plural maturational development sequence, with "three" being the most predominant plurality...

Admittedly, with such a revision, I will have to transform the information at this site based on this new perspective. I must further concede that I do not know if the collective array of "singular - dual - plural" is but a single selection in an as yet undetermined larger array with two other sets-of-three. Then again, if we were to use a biological analogy taken from the genetic code, as is presently understood; is this three-part of a larger ensemble, whether or not some "64" availability is pertinently applied?... like types of box cars on a particular length of train carrying particular goods over a particular terrain for a particular customer for particular circumstances?... (all of which is peculiarly particularlized.)

However, the environment of the Earth in the present solar system within this galaxy, constrains us to adopt, become adept with as well as adapt to its rhythms of a course along its procession towards an ultimate decay. Whereas we are particularly cognizant of how severe and dramatic environmental changes effect us, those which occur transitionally over long expanses of time, have subtle but no less determinate effects that we succumb to.

Our biology, our ideas and our activities will follow the imposed constraints and rationalize the acceptability for doing so. The Triplet Coding system of DNA is one example thereof. The Three Germ layers (Endoderm - Mesoderm - Ectoderm) is another example. The Three Domains of life (Archae - Bacteria - Eucaryota) is a third example. And even if you were to subtract or add another item to these three, you would nonetheless be exhibiting a similarly affecting constraint imposed upon us by the environment. Hence, the pattern of "Singular - Dual - Plural" is, at present, an adequate formula which enables us to grasp the totality of all possible patterns into a single compartmentalization. In more simple terms, it gives us a means to analyze and collate large amounts of information.

By extension, all our religious, political/social and scientific philosophies (to name but a few), will follow the decay of the planet and organize its views accordingly... either in a negative or positive way,— even though there will be those that will come to realize the futility thereof unless such philosophies are directed towards removing the human species from this planet, this solar system, and eventually this galaxy. In other words, no present business, government or religious philosophy offers humanity any real salvation. The salvation being offered are little more than rationalizations to go along with the decay of the planet and solar system. And when I speak of "humanity" I mean the species, and not common self-centered assessments related to a single nation, culture or ideology. While such philosophies do provide relative salvation in a selectively given life time, they are self-serving and do not think in terms of salvation for the species in thousands or millions of years to come. All they care about is the here and now and their own place in history. They all lack the foresight and wisdom to effectively interpret such a foresight. They all represent a part of the cyclical degeneracy affecting all life forms on this decaying planet.

But humanity has the potential for growth beyond all its business, government and religious perspectives. It can think beyond a "three" as is detailed by the few ideas representing larger values of cognitive exploration. Yet, it is constrained from doing so just as our physiology and genetics are. While it is well noted that human anatomy has a peculiarly remarkable design of "Threeness" as is indicated by Dr. McNulty's List of threes in human anatomy, there are a few anatomical examples which do not conform to this pattern. While some may want to describe them as functional mutations, or some other similarly attributive labeling, they nonetheless provide us with the perspective of anatomical possibility. But again, the ability to grow beyond a "three" is constrained by environmental circumstances that our genetics, physiology and conceptualizations must abide by in order to survive. Those cultures which do not conform to the usage of some sort of singularity - duality - plurality structure eventually die out. And yet, these three must also be flexibly adaptive.

Though I have elsewhere discussed what environmental event may have influenced the development of threes in biology and thus our ideas, such that I promoted the idea of a three-patterned stroboscopic (solar) irradiation affect born out but a greatly increased rotation rate of the Earth during the incipient stages of the basic building blocks of life (DNA, RNA, Proteins), I must include the idea that the word "irradiation" may be more useful if it is viewed as a metaphor. As such, not only can light produce a three-patterned strobe-light effect, but so can magnetism, heat, cold, sound, etc., with mixtures and alternating inclusions or deletions as well. When we think of a strobe-light, we may not describe the intermittency of its absence as a necessary contributing factor... it is merely implied but not typically described in the same breath. And we should not be so quick as to view the same as being limited to a single exposure of a similar event, when, for example, three different items occurring in a succession can produce a strobe effect like first using a finger to tap on a table, then a pencil, and then a spatula. While the interval between each may well be slower than using a single item, it nonetheless is a strobe-like effect though we may use the word 'repetition', chorus, echo, etc., instead.

But let me now change the pace of discussion by inserting some thoughts which came to mind awhile back. And though they may seem out of context with a "threes" threes topic, it has an application because I think far too many people are over-looked for a Nobel Peace Prize because the Nobel Committee has failed to go beyond its own standards of interpreting what is meant by "peace", and how a selection based on a larger appreciation of different 'global activity' not typically defined as being of a social nature, does in fact have a profound meaning for humanity in its efforts to effect global, and not just regional peace, as seen from the vantage point of those who make up the Nobel Committee while gathered in a particular social enclave. One must wonder if the Committee met to discuss potential candidates would be different if they were on some other continent, the Moon, Mars or simply hovering above the Earth in a space craft. Perspectives can be influenced towards a bias by subtle effects of one's day -to- day participation in a given environment.

Nobel Peace Prize

Those who decide what person or organization is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize have been extremely short-sighted, even though their efforts were no doubt well-intentioned. They think in terms of a moment, a decade, or even a century... though most of us have difficulty thinking in terms of longer expanses of time with respect to social probabilities. As far as I know, no one has a crystal ball or time machine. Because of this, it is prudent for us, as a species, to develop a perspective which might well be a tool that may not necessarily provide the clarity of any particular socio- cultural definitiveness, but may nonetheless elucidate probabilities that should be considered as having an impact there on.

Quite often the Nobel Peace Prize committee gives the prize to someone in the hope it will quell some pressing social concern based on a specific situation. For example, by recognizing someone with a particular gender, race in a given context, as a means of giving a vicarious expression to acknowledging a concern of many that a singular person is given credit for providing a voice to. In such a way, a large number of people feel they are being given a level of respect which very often produces a measure of social calm. Unfortunately, the Committee members are not accustomed to thinking in terms of distant centuries with respect to the survival of the overall human species. Their present perspective is like that of a small town mayor and city council involved in the issuing of a specific ordinance and are not exhibiting a true global appreciation of larger concerns. Typically, their efforts reek of some ulterior motivated machination directed towards a given ethnicity for a given region on the globe that is mistaken as an appreciation of global issues. Whereas efforts to strive for peace, harmony, equilibrium, and balance in areas or under conditions of turmoil are commendable, and should be rewarded, they should likewise be identified as oriented towards a given populace in a given area of Earth... that may or may not have valuable socially reverting effects. Fixing a leaking faucet does not address the underlying issue of a worn out water heater which, if addressed, does not deal effectively with an overall system which is bad for one's heath such as the once logical usage of lead pipes is now seen as a poorly thought out design based on an accepted ignorance at the time... which needed to be replaced due to an advanced understanding.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not philosophically provisioned to speak of someone's efforts to make known that long-term peace, harmony, equilibrium and balance are a futile gesture for a species living in a situation of global decay that is beyond the control of all humanity. As is being presently awarded, the Nobel Peace Prize is a sugar pill, a garland, a type of written-on-sheepskin diploma of desired achievement, even if the reality suggests otherwise. Because they work within the scope of a short-sighted perspective, they are limited in their ability to perceive efforts with a more profound intent.

Indeed, their efforts are also a means by which they preserve some measure of personal respectability in the world, from where they originate, and thus feel an obligation to effect at least some tincture of presumed social responsibility. In order to do so, it would view comments about the futility of chasing peace in an environment of global decay, as negative and pessimistic, instead of the intended sincerity of an educationally-directed effort to benefit all. Take for example three examples of occurrences which are and will continue to affect life as we know it:

  • Humanity does not have, at present, the means to stop the ongoing and eventual expansion of the Sun as it decays, and its effects on all of life taking place each and every day.

  • Nor does humanity have a means to stop the slowing rotation of the Earth and its concomitant diminishing electro-magnetic (dynamo) effects.

  • And likewise, humanity does not have a means to prevent the Moon from receding from the Earth, which will and does affect tidal behavior.

Hence, the Nobel Peace Prize is being given for self-centered and short-sighted reasons. The officiating committee is acting as if it is a Quorum of psychologists assuming some social responsibility based on the presumption of having a time-honored wisdom with which they have a solemn right; based on an authoritative ability, to impose their own values wrought by some socially adopted standard of assumed excellence being rendered by their judgment... like so many Supreme Courts who have caused so many problems created by judgments dedicated to personalized ulterior motives to interject some purpose they think will best serve those who are, in their view, best to be served... by sticking a Nobel Peace Prize feather in a particular hat. The Nobel committee must adopt a far greater vision than it has ever practiced before if it hopes that its efforts in attempting a calculated selection will truly have an impact on human thought and subsequent behavior. By so doing, such that it rewards the prize based on a different, more realistic criteria, the people of the world will begin to adopt a far greater vision... and practice, themselves. When the definition of Peace is a philosophical conjecture as is the description of beauty and truth, the Nobel Peace Prize committee must go beyond their presently used specious formula for selectivity.

The bulk of our efforts, energies and resources should be directed towards the goal of removing humanity from this planet, this solar system and eventually this galaxy. But NASA nor any of its counter-parts can be put in control of such a project. They have an antiquated "prospecting" mentality of looking for some biological gold. While such a perspective will be of need by a few later on, it can not be the primary objective of a space program with a larger, more immediate purpose. In order to think outside the many boxes we've put ourselves in (business, government, religion, etc...), we have got to remove ourselves from the larger geophysical, planetary, and cosmological containers these boxes are in. Such a perspective is an expression of Godel's theorem applied outside the realm of mathematics.

Yet, many people want the human species to perish in order to confirm some belief, be it religious or otherwise. Others simply want to maintain some measure of control in order that their lives might be interpreted (by them) as having reached some achievement regardless of what philosophy is believed in... so long as they are in some position of leadership. Such people are irrational. They care nothing for truth other than that which they can manufacture and convince others to believe in, without recourse to objective examination and/or experimentation. And even if they permit or insist in some form of experimentation or examination, it is only because they have some means of manipulating the outcome or its interpretation in their favor. They are a modern version of the old breed of sophists that Plato argue against because they practiced how to win an argument regardless of truth, like so many (but by no means all) lawyers, business professionals, politicians, ordained clergy, etc...

The conclusions reached are quite simple. Our ideas and activities are little more than adaptations to live within the constraints imposed by the current environment. All the philosophies, all the mathematics, all the political ideologies and religious perspectives are exercises in survival. Take the human species elsewhere and subject it to other types of environmental circumstances, and it will change. All its ideas. There would be no Islam, no Buddhism, no Christianity, no Democracy, etc., etc., etc... In fact, the human species might well become extinct and replaced by a species more suitable for living in the new environment.

But conclusions that are simple can be looked upon as being simple conclusions if one plays the part of their own Devil's advocate. While it is easy to claim that if we humans were subjected to another environment all our present ideas may not exist, it might well be that such ideas are extended products of our particular biology in a particular environment, and are thus inevitable constructs though they may be fashioned and labeled differently if we humans were subjected to another environment. For example, the three "Great" Monotheisic religions denoted as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam were all born in desert environments. If there were no deserts during the day and age in which they sprouted, would they have been born into their current forms... or at all? If such religions are mental metaphors of a particular biology subjected to a particular terrestrial environment during a particular socio-cultural environment, what do they actually represent and tell us about the human species when all the attendant social and cultural nonsense is stripped away?

Again, within the present context of discussion, why is it that "Three" religions were developed? Why not eighteen or one-hundred Monotheistic religions? With the assumed ability of imagination and inventiveness we like to attribute to our species, does the limit of three suggest an underlying bias based on a biological imperative which also imports a set limit to accepting assumed diversity? And even though someone might want to suggest a higher quantity, the quantity may in fact be confined to exhibiting a construct with some pattern-of-three compartmentalization, as we do when using a comma to distinguish a value greater than 999 or 999,999, or 999,999,999, etc... though some compartmentalize their thoughts in accord with such (three) patterns as 666 (Satan), 888 (Jesus), 555 (Hitler), ABC, 123, red-white-blue, etc... Is the preference towards a usage of "three" to be suggestive of that which might be disparagingly viewed as a prejudice? Is it because we have a triplet coding in our DNA or that we are on the third planet from a solar source, or that it is the dominant pattern in our physiology, that we use a "three" formula, whether or not most people are aware of such?

In the larger sense, all our present business, government and religious perspectives are a joke because they are all focused on a dead end... and that dead end is for the species to perish in this environment if we were to seriously and literally adopt the notion of creating a "Heaven on Earth". It is a collective suicide pact of like-minded idiots who manufacture illusions and delusions called Economic wealth, Social stability and Heaven, instead of presenting humanity with the viable option of seeking their so-called (however so named) Heaven beyond the confines of this planet, this solar system and this galaxy. Present businesses, governments and religions are afraid of a truth that doesn't support their self-centered naive notions.

The further along in the present environmental decay we get, with the Sun's three "moments" (dawn - noon - dusk) "fusing", the future will bring us more attempts by the reigning social institutions to consolidate... to "fuse" together. It will not just be organizations, departments or sects within businesses, governments and religions; but the three large Monotheistic religions will fuse together in an attempt to unify and solidify that their particular belief-style in a single God is true and that all religious-minded people should continue to believe in the totality of beliefs in the religions... despite growing evidence to the contrary. If religious people become an obstacle to a greater realization being unfolded, massive killings might well take place, along with the destruction of businesses and governments who stand in the way.

And it should be emphasized that it is not the belief in a single God which will be at issue, but how and why such a concept is being presented by a particular religion which will be the point of contention. Government and business actions will also fuse separately and together in an attempt to keep the public under the control of those who believe in a particular business and/or governing structure. Wide-spread rebellions and revolutions will become a daily occurrence as the people strive to get out of those boxes which are acting as coffins.

I do not intend or attempt in any way to suggest you must believe in anything being written at this site. Please verify everything you have questions about in as much as you may be able to with respect to available resources. Yet, there is no way to verify ideas born of originality because there is no pre-existing information. And let me add that this is not a religion or esoteric viewpoint where you are expected to believe what you have read or are told, simply because the person providing the information says they believe in it (though they may not, yet they want you to so that they will have a means of manipulating you for some ulterior motive).

With respect to believing something, for example, just because I have been known to write poetry with a religious content does not mean I believe in it. Like-wise, just because I have assembled a collection of "threes" from different religious perspectives does not mean I believe in any of those perspectives. Sometimes, poems are "born" from some inexplicable internal source and have awakened me in the middle of the night to be put to pen and paper. Even if the poem reeks of some emotional content does not mean I believe in it. It's just a poetic formula. However, I do believe in the conclusions thus far reached with respect to the threes research.

And as astonishing as it may seem to some readers, I have actually been known to change my mind about things I have thought and said. Imagine that! My gosh! A person can change their mind about something and even dare to think differently then their friends, family, neighbors, relatives and co-workers. It's so hard to fathom how someone can not have a herd mentality when businesses, religions and governments want you to think the same... again, and again, and again... like so many stuffed animals on a conveyor belt. Whereas you are allowed to walk and talk, but what you think and say have to be a recording of their perspective. However, someone may live in a particular culture or social setting which tries to impose a redundancy of thought and activity.

  • I am not your military or educational drill instructor forcing you to learn something in order to receive a pass or fail grade.

  • I am not your boss expecting you to acquire certain knowledge and skills to make you functional in a given retail sales environment or else lose your job.

  • I am not a clergyman using various tools of manipulation to bring you into a respective fold so that you might provide some measure of tithing.

Far too many people are expecting you to believe in something in order that your belief in a particular subject helps them to confirm their belief. A business wants you to believe in their product, a government wants you to believe in its policies, and a religion wants you to believe in its varying models of ritualistic thinking. All of whom want you to think within the box that they outline, while the authority figures of these organizations want the freedom to stand outside those boxes. All of them exert force on the public to abide by their views, in separate and collective ways. When you start to think outside any one of these boxes, you become an outsider. You are a rebel. And you may or may not be confronted by one or more others because you are not like everyone else. Here's a poem that talks about those of you who dare to think differently:

How Dare You!

How Dare You!!! say my neighbors & kin
How Dare You Not? I ask of them
to mow your lawn on a different day,
or to pile your leaves in a simpler way.

How Dare You!! say they who whistle alike
and those that wash their windows the same
where is your pride, have you no shame...
to wear such clothes without a brand name-
or to sing a song with a tune more bright.

How Dare You!? ask those who want to know
and those who thought to think of the new
such as skipping stones on a moonlight's hue
or seeing figures in clouds, when others haven't a clue,
no less to laugh out-loud cause smiling won't do,
since we live but once... dare you?

Entry: Friday, October 17, 2014, 3:42 AM

In relation to the pre-stated hypothesis concerning the origin of the threes phenomena, I venture to reconsider that my usage of the single- dual- plural reference might well be re-examined. In as much as I portray the "three" or patterns-of-three as the most predominant plurality, one might make a case for "duality" as being and adjunct model of a plurality. Yet, one might also subject the usage of "singularity" in a similar mindedness when compared to a zero value quantity, though in making any sort of reference, even to indicate absence, we are giving it substance. Aside from these philosophical sojourns, the usage of a "single - dual- plural" system of reference appears to characterize another means of an early counting system in that everything beyond the value of "two" was considered as "many". With this said, it appears I have re-created the old counting scheme with an elaboration of words. However, a documented listing of "threes" from a variety of subject areas, along with ideas contrasting them to other grouping patterns, indicates that others are similarly engaged in their own early counting scheme model which may not rely solely on words or numbers. A portrait or landscape artist might well use color combinations or placement of details in a single- dual- plural arrangement and not even be aware they are doing so and those who view their work are not inclined towards an analysis or commentary with such a pattern in mind. Whereas someone may not be aware of their efforts in doing so, the effect of using the same underlying basic 1- 2- 3 quantitative pattern architecture is evident. Be it called a triplet coding system, three basic rock formations, three Olympic medals, an ABC alphabet recital, a three-color traffic light pattern, a three trimester pregnancy, a musical triad, three families of fundamental particles, or else-wise... the human mind is repeating a simple pattern with individualized elaborations... but so is our human body.

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Herb O. Buckland