Threesology Research Journal
Why so many "Threes"?

(Standing alone, with Another pattern(s), or Absent)

~ The Study of Threes ~

FWT Homepage Translator

Let's start this page with a few links to different perspectives of the "threes" phenomena.


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

Those who come to this website by choice, do so for a variety of reasons. For example:

  1. You may be seeking some reason to explain the recurring "patterns-of-three" found in fairytales.
  2. You want to find some mechanism to use in the development of your public speaking skills.
  3. You are simply curious about the recurrence of "threes".
  4. You are desirous to see whether or not your specific interest is listed, such as the triads in music.
  5. You have heard about Dumezilian Trifunctional Theory and want resource material.
  6. Do I dismiss other number patterns, thus revealing an ignorance, stupidity, obsessiveness, or biasness?
  7. Do I include geometric patterns?
  8. Do I take into consideration "subtle energies", dreams, and non-vocalized impressions?
  9. Am I aware of patterns that occur on a sub-conscious level?
  10. Do I try to force the construction of a threes example where some other pattern appears to be more suitable?
  11. Do I include esoteric or alternative ideas as well as those considered more mainstream?
  12. Can I provide you with some definitive reason for the recurrence of threes?
  13. How do I explain the presence of two-patterned recurrences such as binary stars and the binary code used in computers?

Etc... Why did I deliberately stop this list at 13? (In ancient counting terms "13" is referred to as three and (one) ten.)

There are of course other reasons such as someone seeking the origin of the (Christian) Trinity, (and perhaps all triads of gods and mythological creatures... along with single and double characterizations), and may be doing so from feelings of a genuine sincerity for religion, mythology, anthropology, etc., and not that religion can at best be described as the wayward found twig used by chimpanzees to probe for insects and becomes ceremonialized as well as commercialized— or unrealized physiologically formatted impressions which artificially construct psychologically attuned crude implements used for getting food, building a structure, mimicking sexual activity or body parts, or protection from would-be or imagined predators, as well as environmental inclements. Others may be seeking some type of algorithm to win at any number of gambling events such as the lottery, horse racing, sports bar gaming, card games, board games, or some ready-made off-hand bet for specialized circumstances, etc...

Because religion plays a large part in the lives of believers (and non-believers), we should take a brief moment to peer into this dichotomy. However it should be noted that in a society which adopts a standard rationale which in later ages is found to be a form of mental illness, those living in such an environment and attempt to break free of the standardized insanity (called normalcy), may find themselves exhibiting irrational behavior in order to combat the perceived irrationality that is adopted has become adopted as a traditionalized model of believed in sanity. It's like someone trying to cope with madness exhibited in a closed environment like an insane asylum. Those who are insane provide an allowance for those who claim them to be crazy, as a means of convincing themselves that they are sane, because the larger society has adopted and accepted their collective irrational views. Hence, this is why those who develop a type and level of sanity amongst those who are insane, or achieve some measure of "super-sanity", may exhibit behaviors labeled as eccentricities. Indeed, a sane person would appear very odd when in the presence of those who are truly insane. Those who view this or on the verge of viewing this will often engage in one or another distraction (drinking, drugs, criminal behavior, isolation in a lab, group, activity, profession, etc.,), so as to numb themselves from getting a larger dosage of the reality which is recognizing the depth and breadth of the insanity they are forced to indulge in as a means of survival.

Chimpanzee fishing for insects
Image Arcade of various chimps
Pondering the wonders of the Universe Jungle
I am pondering the wonders of the Jungle Universe
Socialized gathering of chimps with individualized fishing techniques
"Chimpanzees living on federal welfare
subsidies moved to other facilities".
Evolution's has its own lineage

The Evolution(?) or "Evilution" (?) of God and Religion.
A dichotomy stunted in its growth from reaching a superseding trichotomy.

Evolution of God
The Evolution of God
(A synopsis by Mr. Vimal Kodai)
Evolution of Religious faith
The Evolution of Religion and Removing the Rationale of Faith (by Damien Athope)

As I read the different (blog) responses to questions involving the presence of "threes" in one or another subject area, there was a time when I would have disagreed with many of the comments. However, I now realize that most of them have some relative merit on one level or perspective. For example, while someone believing in the Christian Trinity might claim that it is "THE" (sole or main) reason for the presence of "threes" in Fairy Tales, and that God is the originator of the Trinity; it is quite reasonable to consider that the idea of the Trinity has been of some influence for different ideas. Indeed, it may have even influenced ideas without a given person being aware of its influence, since it was an impression imparted on them in past years, and is all but forgotten in their daily discourse. The "Trinity" answer is good and appropriate for those who hold the idea as a predominant formative character in their lives. Yet others do not, and have noticed it portrays a profile of development, in that it was not known to earlier peoples except for perhaps in some other formula or representation considered pagan or primitive.

But this is not to say that the idea of the Christian Trinity has influenced most or all ideas with "threes" in them, or we would have to include the triple X's of pornography and moonshine (corn/potato liquor) jugs. Conversely, we can not definitively say that being on the third planet from a source of solar energy is "THE" definitive influence for all threes ideas. Different "threes" can have different points and reasons for origination. But so can other number and non-number patterns. Clearly, we need the flexibility in our thinking to establish a work-in-progress framework that permits us to be courageous enough to promote different ideas, but also humble enough to accept critiques proposed by alternative ideas... while also giving credit where credit is due, so long as that credit is not coupled to an expectation or manipulation for alternative reasons, like the many traps being set on the internet by those using image or commentary lures that conceal a duplicitous intent. For example, on some occasions I come across an image that can be included as an example, but that it is a method of entrapment for some other context that is altogether unrelated to the information being displayed. In such cases, I will not provide the source link because I would then be a contributor to the attempted scamming or spamming nonsense.

With respect to a research endeavor into the "threes phenomena", it has been necessary to widen my ideas very broadly, because the pattern does not exhibit itself at all or not very clearly in many contexts. While some readers are still wrestling with the why concerning the threes in a given subject such as Fairy Tales, others are trying to tackle the confronted realization of absence. In some instances it is clear that there is a verifiable three-patterned example, and others which exhibit what appears to be a sequential 1, 2, 3 pattern such as Monoploblastic, Diploblastic, Triploblastic (Germ layers). Others, such as the presence of the Earth, are given a representative "third position" label, but the other two planets (Mercury and Venus) are not always explicitly described. Still others appear to be in the presence of a fourth character, whereby a "3 to 1" ratio idea has been entertained, and provided a tool by which alternative subject matter can be correlated.

In fact, after describing some representative "four" examples as being 3-to-1 ratios, it has been necessary to reexamine many other three patterns from this perspective, thus revealing that a former "three" can also be used to describe a 3-to-1 pattern, if we use language in a different way. For example, the three colors on a flag can be described as "three colors on one flag", or that we hold "one" pen or pencil with "three" fingers. Necessarily so, because we have pointed out the usage of language as the medium for describing the many different patterns, be they three or otherwise, it is of value to survey physiology and anatomy, and ultimately biology/genetics as well. In short, without the capacity to hear or speak, language would be a different kind of animal than the present "pets" (vernacular, jargon, idioms, etc.) that we use. Interestingly, human hearing is replete with numerous "threes" as described on this page: Language 3's page 1.

3 patterned ear structure (21k) Three theories of hearing
3 speech components hearing frequencies

By pursuing a larger interest in the "threes phenomena", though in doing so one finds that they can be consumed by an effort which does not pay the bills or initially offer any practical application from which money or some other commercial resource is abundantly generated, it is of need to point out that it must be viewed as a hobby... or personalized "study", in the same vein as an artistic, musical, or literary effort. Much like the early stages of chemistry in is many Alchemical derivations, or medicine with its home-spun remedies— the study of threes must recognize that many people will not pursue it because they can see no immediate obvious benefit that they can use with their respective abilities. They are not interested in the topic unless it provides some measurable advantage such as a college degree, original insight to further knowledge that can be applied in their day to day concerns and supplies some benefit equal to or more often above and beyond any competitor. Hence, an advetizer will only use a "three" theme if it can be used as a "hook", like the many three-patterned repetitions used in songs.

But such discussions can get away from the central purpose of this page, which is to attempt some relative answer to the question of why there are so many threes? Is it because of a person's obsession, or because they are in a class where the topic has been brought up? Why is it that some shrug their shoulders and turn to other interests while a few linger about the topic... at least long enough to see whether or not the conscious line they have tossed into the murky waters of consideration, will reward them with more than a snag or piece of debris to be tossed in and call it a day?

Clearly, there are many different influences for "threes", just as there are for other patterns. Yet, did the influence get influenced by a similar pattern based on nuclear particle arrangements, biological processes and or geological conditions? In other words, is there some "1st" influence and is this influence a representative model of the pattern under consideration, or has the resulting pattern evolved from or been detached from the original source? In other words, for example, is a three we see the product of an original three, or has it developed from a one and/or two, or... broken off from a source with more than three?

If we take for example the quantity of strands in DNA and RNA, we find that RNA has one and DNA has two. If we view this as the result of a developmental growth sequence, the idea of an "RNA world" hypothesis seems fitting. While we could count the 1 and 2 strands as three, perhaps we need to ask if the possibility of a "3" stranded substance is yet to come, or has come and yet evolved? If we look at the 3rd member of this bimolecular group, we find not only a "3" but an additional one, which presents us with a 3-to-1 ratio:

In every amino acid, one central carbon atom exists - the alpha-carbon (a-carbon). Of the four atom groups covalently bonded to the a-carbon, three are the same in all amino acids. The a-carbon is always directly bonded to one amino group and to one carboxyl group (carboxylic acid). The name amino acid derives from the presence of these two functional groups (amino + acid). All amino acids share a third common covalent bond to a hydrogen atom, but the fourth atom (or atomic group) bonded to the a-carbon is unique in each amino acid.

Structural model of a protein

But let me back up a bit and point out the "pairings" of amino acids occurring with DNA and RNA. Thus, we need to point out the number of strands, the base pairings of amino acids, the triple code perspective and that both DNA and RNA use three of the same nucleobases (Adenosine- Cytosine- Guanine), but that each uses a separate identifier: Thymine for DNA and Uracil for RNA. In short, we have a 3-to-1 pattern. In addition, let us mention the presence of 3 stop codons and 1 start codons. If we assume these patterns were imprinted on early biological processes from an environmental source, we must wonder if the source is still around or that the patterns are somehow self-sustaining... but may not be able to be sustained forever... particularly under the conditions of a deteriorating solar energy source, slowing spin of the Earth, and recession of the Moon. And as part of the equation, we must also insert the knowledge that the rate of the Earth's rotation has not been constant... thereby yielding different rates of rotation for the developmental presence of different life forms. In other words, if we extrapolate back in time, we find that the inception of the hominid base occurred during a time with the Earth's rotation had reached a 23 hour rate. This may mean that humanity is rotation-rate specific, and dependent... thus indicating an inability to adapt to an environment in which the rotation rate has slowed to a given rate beyond the 23 period... that is, coincidentally, the number of chromosomes that a "normal" person receives from each parent, and that the tilt of the Earth is said to be 23.5 degrees. While the correlations are speculative, it makes for some interesting comparisons.

Then again, if we are (for whatever reason) psychologically inclined to see certain patterns, then perhaps we are merely "reading into" the patterns which we claim to see in genetics, physics, mathematics, music, art, etc... and rationalize some believable support. Do all of those who claim to believe in three families of fundamental particles actually known there are three, or are our minds so limited that we can only grasp a certain relative sampling of reality and must create some accompanying rationale for accepting a given belief because it is part of our efforts of maintaining some measure of equilibrium in an environment that is decaying not only because of human abuse but an overall planetary disintegration that we must view in terms of human life spans and not geological life spans?

Do the patterns we seen in biology represent an actual design or something we have made up to go along with a possible psychological predisposition to see given patterns? Are there three large nuclear particles or have we made this idea up to suit some mental framework? And yet again we ask why? Why the three, or not the three... or the three with one or more other patterns? Then again, why the recurring patterns? When we have trillions+ number patterns to choose from, why is there only a very few being used? Is the imagination and thought processing of humanity actually this limited? What is causing the limitation? Why the conservation of pattern usage? Is that which causes the considered limitation that which limits our usage to a set quantity of patterns to be used over and over again... with presumed increases merely some functional addition or multiplication of a smaller quantity?

In terms of quantity applied to human genetics, it is said that diversity increases the survival chances of the species in order to keep us away from mutations, yet the stabilization of mutations is what humanity is made up of, though it is referred to as adaptation and fittedness. Diversity may be little more than a "hail Mary" pass attempt at survival in an environment that is geared to deteriorate all things that are attached to it, such as the developing trend of accepting the presence of homosexuality/lesbianism (etc.) as viable normal activities... even though they are anti- thetical to the act of increasing the biological diversity of the species. Clearly this type of thinking is a mutation that does not bode well for the genetic pool, if it becomes the dominant and expect norm for all people to adopt as the preeminent life-style. Regardless of all the arguments being used to rationalize many of the "alternative life styles", and irrespective of what authority accepts, protects and promotes them, the authority figures are part of the deterioration themselves. The "three" pattern is helping to reveal pristine images that are not embellished by language, culture or the egotisms of authority figures who attempt, in their own way, to make the world into representative sampling of their own image.

Does the value of "three" lend itself to being compared to all instances of three? While they may not be of the same family, they may indeed be of the same species, or a different species living under certain environmental conditions.

Let's now take another biological example by looking at carbohydrates: making note of the 3-tiered organization method used in this particular illustration, which also describes the latter three pattern as a "one" (monosaccharides), "two: (disaccharides), "three" as "Many" termed (polysaccharides):

Three tiered carbohydrate illustration

All the carbohydrates have the same three-patterned molecular formula CH2O, which indicates carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules. If we look a bit closer at these, we uncover some other threes:


  • 3-tiered categorization of carbon "allotropes: (different forms of the same element at the molecular level):
  • 3 natural "isotopes": (different atom structures of same element) 12C, 13C, 14C, (12 and 13 are stable. 14 has a half-life of a 5,730±40 years and occurs in trace amounts.)
  • Occurs in three phases: Solids, liquids, gases

3-tiered categorization of carbon allotropes
Structure of Diamond, Graphite and Fullerene with explanation
3 backbones of carbon
Organic Molecules and nutrients
Nucleic acids in mono, di, tri forms
Molecules of Life
Nucleic acids and ATP
Respiration lab Biology I
3 to 1 ratio of carbon compounds
Why are organic molecules important to living things?


  • 3 common isotopes: protium, deuterium, tritium (the first two are stable, the third has a half-life of 12.32 ± 0.02 years)
  • Occurs in three phases: Solids, liquids, gases

3 isotopes of hydrogen


  • 3 stable isotopes 16O, 17O,18O
  • Occurs in three phases: Solids, liquids, gases

Interconnection between carbon, hydrogen and oxygen cycle in metabolism of photosynthesizing plants:

Carbon, Hydrogen, Oygen cycle
Wikipedia: Oxygen Cycle

Three-to-One differentiation of the states of matter occurring on Earth:

3 to 1 ratio concerning states of matter
Plasmatec: Plasma Technology

So, do you think it's all a bit of a coincidence that there are numerous 1, 2, 3 and 3-to-1 configurations? Is it possible to discover the "why" so long as we remain confined to Earth, this galaxy, or in any specific region of space? Indeed, the question about why there are so many threes requires that we continue to catalogue its presence, its absence, and its presence with one or another patterns.

Page initially created: Sunday, 10-Sept-2017... 5:34 AM
Initial Posting: Monday, 11-Sept-2017... 9:54 AM
Updated Posting: Monday, 11-Sept-2017... 2:51 PM

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