The Book of Threes
The Book of Threes

three spheres
Three spheres

Welcome to The Book of Threes. Currently we have over 3600 posts on this site all related to concepts in threes. You don’t say. A little history. For about 30 years, Michael Eck has been thinking about threes. Things that come in threes. Now he combines that esoteric interest with his attachment to the Internet by creating what he hopes will be the book with the most authors ever (a lot more than three, anyway).

The Three Graces by Peter Paul Rubens
The Three Graces by Peter Paul Rubens

He suggests that in our minds we break concepts into three parts to understand whatever it is we are thinking about. We use threes to define systems. We use the third or middle point with regard to the extremes to define a point of view. Yada yada yada.

Three Flags - Jasper Johns
Three Flags – Jasper Johns

The concept is simple. Just think of something that comes in threes, then go to this site and contribute it. For example: the colors on the American flag; Caesar’s most famous words, “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”); the number of legs on each side of an insect.

Now it’s your turn . . .  – Source: Lycos review Top 5 sites, 1995

Patterns and List Comprehension

A pattern or sequence requires three elements to define the series. For example, if we begin a set with just one element, say S = {1}, the next element could be anything really. If we ad a second element, say S = {1, 2, …}, then we still cannot tell the pattern. It depends on the rules of arithmetic, geometry or harmonic steps.

So the next element in the set S = {1, 2, …} could be 3, or 9, depending on the rule! if the rule was arithmetic (add 1), the next number would be 3 (1, 2,3, …). However, if the rule was powers or exponents, the next number would be 9 (1^0, 2^1, 3^2 … ). Here the base goes 1, 2, 3, … and the exponents go 0, 1, 2, …

So we need the third element to define and understand the series. This is true for concepts as well. We need to understand the two extremes and the middle. The middle element provides a location or measurement for understanding. For example, politics uses conservative and liberal for the extremes, and the point exactly in the middle is moderate. We then use left of center, right of center, staunch conservative, bleeding liberal, etc…

We measure energy with the extremes being potential and kinetic, where mechanical energy is the measurement of the amount of potential and kinetic energy at a given point in time.

Simplicity – Chunking

We sometimes use three items to simplify a concept. Time has a past, present and future, a before, during and after, yesterday, today and tomorrow, a second, minute and hour hand, days, even weeks, and months define a year. This chunking gives us enough information to add more concepts as we build more complex concepts.

Memory – Hooks

It’s not a repetition, but a tripetition that creates memory. it could be three words in a sentence, three sentences in a quotation, or three verses in a song. If we keep looking we see that three words define a sentence (subject, verb, object), the a minimum of three sentences defile a paragraph. The original popular 78 RPM recordings on vinyl were designed for the minutes of play with the chorus repeating three times.

Human Excellence

In sports doing something three times shows mastery. From the three-peat to the triple play to the hat-trick, we honor great performances and remember the moments. Who could forget Reggie Jackson hitting three home runs in the sixth game of the 1977 World Series in baseball.

Scholarly Research

We have some very deep articles like The Number 3 in American Culture by Alan Dundes, Ethos, Pathos and Logos, Words and Numbers, The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life by Martin Luther King Jr., Living in Threes: Triangles and Triglyphs in Ancient Cultures and many more.

Navigating the Site

You can browse posts, chapters, or search on keywords. Let us know your if you wish to contribute an idea, feature a product, or provide feedback. Mostly however, just sit back, have fun, an enjoy the collection.

  • Simplify Concepts
  • Complete Patterns
  • Create Memory

Michael S Eck, Author of The Book of Threes