Threesology Research Journal: The Standard Cognitive Model 36
The Standard Mental Model
(aka: The Standard Cognitive Model)

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Progressive Thinkers as of 5/8/2020

Language Narrative Series
Preface 1 Preface 2 Preface 3
Prologue 1 Prologue 2 Prologue 3
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12
Standard Cognitive Model series:
Page (#37) is most recent:
37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29
28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20
19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Old numbering system(Hence, oldest writings)
1b 1c   1d 1e

In a Don Quixote imaginative sense, when I encounter someone speaking of a recurring number pattern which is not a "three", I view it as a challenge, much like an opponent of a chess match. While there are no time limit for a counter-move... per se, it is very much a call to arms against such a antagonist. The precise move in this instance to which I must parry, is the following excerpt taken from a Britannica article on the subject of Myth:

Myths of time and eternity

The apparent regularity of the heavenly bodies long impressed every society. The sky was seized as the very image of transcendence, and what seemed to be the orderly course of sun, moon, and stars suggested a time that transcended man's— in short, eternity. Many myths and mythological images concern themselves with the relationship between eternity and time on earth. The number four for the number of world ages figures most frequently. The Zoroastrians of ancient Persia knew of a complete world age of 12,000 years, divided into four periods of 3,000 each, at the end of which Ormazd (Wise Lord) would conquer Ahriman (Destructive Spirit). Similarly, the Book of Daniel (in the Bible) mentions four kingdoms—of gold, silver, bronze, and a mixture of iron and clay, respectively—after which God will establish an everlasting kingdom. The notion of four world ages, sometimes associated with metals, occurs also in the works of Classical writers and in later speculative writings on human history. Judaism developed the view of a 1,000-year period between the four world ages and the everlasting kingdom (hence the words millennium and millenarian). Although other numbers occur (three, six, seven, 12, and 72), four is dominant. In ancient Mexico this world was held to be preceded by four other worlds. India, in both Hindu and Buddhist texts, has developed the most complex system of world ages and worlds that arise and come to an end. Here, too, the number four is important— e.g., the four ages (yugas) of decreasing length and increasing evil. Many writings, often with large numbers, reflect exact astronomical observations and calculations. Some mythologies— e.g., those of the Maya in Central America–have developed sophisticated views interrelating time and space. Mythological accounts of repetitions of worlds after their destruction occur not only in India but also elsewhere, such as in Orphism and in the Stoic philosophy that flourished in Classical antiquity.

In instances where the "four" occurs, we may not readily be able to interpret the use of a cognitive parity (2 + 2) or a 3-to-1 ratio or a reference to a cognitive "Many" by way of elaboration (by the use of an additional word and/or symbol). For example, if one says there are four directions (north, south, east, west), is this (in their own language equivalent way) how a given ancient people actually expressed a perspective (as two polarities), but mythologists (using a simple process of examination and explanation) provide a "4" count which did not exist in ancient times? Was there a continue word usage of a previous number counting methodology that relied on paring? In similar instances the so-called "4" count insisted on by later chroniclers (such as mythologists and religious scholars (who might otherwise be labeled as different kinds of historians), may be the word or symbol employed to express a "many, much, more, plenty, heap, infinity, etc..." quantity, due to the presence of the old standard of cognitive limits related to the development of counting.

However, as I have suggested, could we also at times becoming across a cognitive development (in this regard and singular? incident), which is attempting to show a development past a cognitive "3" or "2" or even "1", by using a crude representation of a 3- to- 1 ratio? Whereas in present day parlance it is not uncustomary to see the directions line-up displayed with the word "and" such as— north, south, east "and" west—, it is not until we take this example and combine it with other so-called "four" groupings that a 3- to- 1 ratio is more easily identified. In short, what does the "four" item ensemble represent in the developmental terms of cognition... of brain development? Is it an extension of the old 2 + 2 numerical pairing when developing larger numbers by early humans, or an unrealized (albeit momentary) expansion of human consciousness exploring a realm greater than that previously signified? Whereas large numbers that do or do not reflect accurately calculated Astronomical observation, can easily be described as an attempt to quantify some notion of the infinite, the Many, the totality, the Eternity... in a makeshift attempt to pin-point an approximate definitive location, time period- time place designation, like being able to provide a name and thus some presumed measure of control like the events in the story of Rumpelstilskin.

Over eight years ago I compiled a single page on patterns-of-four entitled The Quaternary Perspective which got its cue from Alexander Stepanov's comments on examples he provided. However, the idea of "quaternions" or "patterns-of-four" needs to be considered along-side those pages beginning here: Three-to-One ratios. Let me provide some

Quaternion structure examples:
by A.I. Stepanov

  • Four-dimensional physical space; the aggregate states of the matter: solid - liquid - gas - plasma;
  • The fundamental physical interactions: strong - electro-magnetic - weak - gravity;
  • The Golden - the Silver - the Bronze - the Iron Ages;
  • The four elements: earth - water - air - fire;
  • The four of the Gospels (by Matthias, Mark, Lucas, John);
  • The fours by A. Schopenhauer, H. L. Bergson;
  • The four-dimensional time by M. Heidegger;
  • The Ancient history - the Middle Ages - the New Age - the Newest;
  • The social and economic structures by Marxism: slave-owning system - feudalism - capitalism - communism;
  • The fourth type of political movements: bolsheviks;
  • "Les trois mousquetaires" by A. Dumas: Athos - Porthos - Aramis - d'Artagnan;
  • "The Karamazov Brothers" by Dostoyevsky: three legitimate sons and an illegitimate one;
  • "The Golden Calf" by Il'f and Petrov: Kozlevitch - Balaganov - Panikovsky - Bender;
  • The seasons: spring - summer - autumn - winter;
  • The cardinal points: east - west - south - north;
  • The times of the day: morning - afternoon - evening - night;
  • Division of the day in German;
  • The fourth literary genre;
  • Quaternions by K. Jung;
  • Paradise - Purgatory - Inferno - Earth;
  • Studies about Sophia in Russian religious philosophy;
  • Quaternions in the mass culture;
  • "Three men in a boat (to say nothing of the dog)" by J. K. Jerome;
  • The Beatles John - Paul - George - Ringo;

The issue of the Quaternary is an important one to consider in the research of the "threes phenomena". Mr. Stepanov's public comments on the subject are indeed noteworthy, just as are his private ones sent to me in an email about eight years ago (2014). Let me provide the email for those who may be interested:

Dear Herb O. Buckland,

You've got an interesting, useful site, undoubtedly. It's a pity, but I'm not specially engaged in the problem of Threesology for a long time. As concerns to the past, the main interest of me was dynamics of transformation of triple structures into quaternary ones (and vice versa). The both types of structures are very ancient in their genesis. It's unknown which one is more ancient (in one case the triple ones are previous historically, in other, on the contrary, the quaternary ones appeared earlier).

It's very possible that the most previous were dual structures, i.e. opposites. Structuralism, including anthropology, say so (for example, Claude Lévi-Strauss). It sounds quite plausible psychologically, besides is proved by supervisions over primitive tribes.

Later were two ways:

  • 2 + 1 = 3 (for example, an average between two extreme, transition from one to another),
  • 2 x 2 = 4 (repetition of dual structure).

So, both of the structures (3 and 4) were complex and derivative in their genesis.

As it was told, all the structures were transformed one to another. For example, the most ancient were representation of the year consisting of two seasons (warm and cold, or dry and damp). Then three seasons, then four.

For example, ancient Egyptians had three seasons. On the one hand, the culture of ancient Egyptians had a lot of very archaic elements, from the Stone Age. On the other hand, the option of three seasons was natural to Egyptians from the point of view of their environment. Their agricultural life depended on floods of Nile. So, the seasons were:

  1. before flood,
  2. flood (some months),
  3. after flood.1

(Unfortunately, I don't remember exact names now, even less in English. It isn't really difficult to find them in the Internet).

Many triads of ancient deities are known, too. For example, ancient Babylonians had a triad of astral gods: Sin, Shamash, Ishtar (Moon, Sun, planet Venus). Planet Venus is the brightest star in the sky. Compare here night (darkness), day (light) and transition from night to day (morning and evening dawn). The matter is that the planet Venus is visible only just before sunrise and right after sun's decline. Respectively, there were ideas of the Morning and Evening stars. The Babylon astronomers proved that it is the same star (planet).

But here very deep ancient metaphysics consisted also. Day is life (an activity), night is death (a dream). Transition of the person or the nature from non-existence to life is a birth or revival. Transition from life to non-existence is a dying. The goddess Ishtar is a goddess of fertility (love) and war. That we call planet Venus, Babylonians called planet Ishtar (planet = goddess)2.

Earlier I was surprised very much why the same goddess Ishtar represented both love (fertility), and war. It seemed to me that love and war are incompatible ("make love, not war"). But my representation was too modern. I didn't consider a role of recurrence in ancient thinking. Every year the nature dies and revives. What is "earlier", life or death? In both cases there is a transition from one state to another.

That the death (or non-existence) precedes life (existence) is a very ancient representation. For example, god Marduk creates the world by the murder of the goddess Tiamat ("Chaos"). He split her into two parts. From her top part he created the sky, and from the bottom the earth. Even more ancient representations were in the Paleolith. Ancient hunters believed: if to kill a bear or a deer (to eat them), they will revive then. Really, the food is life for human. But people thought that murder is life for animals and the nature, too.

I can say about these things for a long time, but the main thing for us here is that life and death are connected. In the Bible Adam and Eve as a result of their fall learned sexual love and became mortal.

The Babylon goddess Ishtar became Astarta at Phoenicians. Astarta is a goddess of love and war, too. She is a greatest soldier. Phoenician Astarta, in turn, affected an image of the Greek Aphrodite. Aphrodite is not a murderer anymore. But her lover is Ares, god of war, very blood-thirsty3.

Most important here for us is that quaternary representation passed into the ternary. Initially we have quaternary circular structure: 1) death (non-existence), 2) transition from non-existence to life (birth), 3) the very life, 4) transition from life to a non-existence (death). But points 2 and 4 were connected in one4. Morning and Evening stars are one in their essence – the planet Ishtar, the goddess of love and war (conception and death, or murder). Who gives life, that takes it away, as he/she is an owner of life and death. As a matter of fact, we still think so: God is the owner of our life and death (not a goddess anymore, we think patriarchally).

About transformation of quaternary structures into the ternary K. Jung writes also. Though are known many examples of return transitions, too.

Reading various books, I often meet triple structures. Sometimes I write down the most interesting of them. But it is quite impossible now to find it in a lot of my papers (for 14 years I'm working on a book about numbers, already not only about 3 and 4).

But what I can remember at the moment is the following. Ancient idea of the top world (heavenly), the bottom (underground) and the average (earth). In the World tree it is a krone, a trunk, and roots. In many mythologies, a bird lives in the krone, and at roots of the tree lives a dragon (a snake). They meet, and the bird takes down World egg (from which our world is born). Modern scientists still argue, from where came life to Earth:

  1. from space (sky),
  2. from Earth (self-generation of life on Earth),
  3. from their interaction.

One of the options of ancient division of human life: youth, maturity, old age. But there were also other divisions consisting of four, six, seven elements (from what that I met). In general, mythological classifications often are indistinct, change from an era to an era, from one district to another. It is not rare that later various classifications became contemporary in the same culture.

Here's one more triad. In modern physics it is a macrocosm, the mesoworld, and a microcosm. The first one is learned by relativistic mechanics (Einstein), the second – by classic (Newton's) mechanics, the third – by quantum mechanics.

There is a lot of triads in Ancient Greek philosophy. It seems like that this is a general rule: the more rational is a philosophical theory the more triads it has. The philosophy of Proclus (a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major Classical philosophers) is entirely constructed on triads. You can see any good book about Greek philosophy. As to me, I like Losev's works most of all (A.F. Losev). I don't know if there is a translation in English. He wrote many books on antiquity. For example, there is "History of Antique Esthetics". On my shelf there are eight volumes of it. I don't doubt that there are excellent works on this question in English literature, too.

The huge number of triads is available in the German philosophy, especially by Hegel. As a matter of fact, I had an impression "the more rational is a philosophical theory the more triads it has" because of it. Of course it is not a representative row consisting of two lines: Antique and European philosophies. But the fact is that consistently rational theoretical science arose in the history only two times: in Ancient Greece and Europe. All of us follow these cultures.

Mr. Herb O. Buckland, I am very glad that you are engaged in the matters. Unfortunately, these questions are studied not sufficient for a while. But I am sure that persistence of researchers from different countries will yield its positive fruits, sooner or later (I hope, sooner J). Your country now is the main center of world science. I wish your country and, of course, to you personally a great success in a noble cause of science. Needless to say, I am grateful to you for the link to my modest person. Forgive me for my awful English (generally I read in English, not write).

Sincerely yours,

Alexander Stepanov


1 The Egyptian year consisted of three seasons for four months.

2 Our tradition to call planets on names of deities occurs from Babylonians. This tradition passed to Greeks then, and from them to Romans. Greeks named the planet Venus Aphrodite (the goddess of love).

3 Our culture in many respects comes back to the ancient, and modern scientists say that a sexual inclination and aggression are operated by the same hormone: testosterone. Alpha males are most aggressive, they have more females. Female sexual activity is operated by testosterone, too. 4 I don't know, how it was historically. Perhaps, the most ancient people simply didn't distinguish transitions from one to another and from another to the first. Quite often we think the same. For example, the distance from point A to point B is equal to the distance from point B to point A.


Sorry, as concerns to mythology, I forgot to recommend you one more English author: Robert Ranke Graves (especially his “White Goddess”). He isn't considered an initial scientist, but many of his ideas were picked up by the most serious researchers later. There there are enough examples of triple structures.

Sincerely, A.S.

I am revisiting the comment with an emphasis on highlighting his recognition of a distinction to be made about which pattern is older. The problem is, either one of them could be older for a given description in a given context, but this may not necessarily indicate the sequence of events related to overall human cognitive development with respect to the onset of patterns, the sustainment of patterns, those instances in which a pattern may show itself, then seemingly play a low key representation or appear to disappear and then reappear in a "steady state" or episodic fashion in one culture and time period in comparison to another. Plotting the course of cognitive patterns over time and place may provide us with some insight as to how cognition is changing with respect to a supposed improvement and a supposed deterioration caused by incrementally deteriorating environmental conditions.

Date of (series) Origination: Saturday, 14th March 2020... 6:11 AM
Date of Initial Posting (this ): 1st March 2022... 6:04 AM
Updated Posting:Tuesday, 15th November 2022... 12::37 AM, AST (Arizona Standard Time); Marana, AZ.