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The Three Stooges Slapstick

The Three Stooges
The Three Stooges Columbia Pictures
The Three Stooges Columbia Pictures


Three Stooges revealed
Three Stooges revealed

The Three Stooges’ trademark is their physical comedy. They loved to slap faces! Ted Healy, who started The Stooges, was the first comedian who actually slapped his cohorts around. After The Stooges left Ted Healy’s act, Moe took over the role of leader and did most of the belting, smacking, tweaking and slapping.

You would think that the Stooges would have been hurt in the process, but Moe developed a technique of keeping his fingers loose so that The Boys would not get injured. It was up to the other Stooges then to do the follow-through and make it look as if they had really been smacked. Below are some of the most common slaps, tweaks, and stunts.

Three Stooges Video Playlist

In The beginning

The Three Stooges were founded by a vaudeville performer named Ted Healy
The Three Stooges were founded by a vaudeville performer named Ted Healy

The Three Stooges were founded by a vaudeville performer named Ted Healy in 1925

In the early days of television, movies had to be at least 10 years old (or older) to be shown on the tube. Hollywood was afraid this new-fangled TV thing would put them out of business. So, in the few hours a day that TV was even on, the morning hours were filled with 1930s fare – grainy black-and-white early talkies, serials and shorts – singing cowboysBusby Berkeley musicals, the Little Rascals, and Ted Healy‘s Stooges.

Healy started the Stooges vaudeville act in 1922, and toured the country with them, ending up on Broadway in New York. They started making movies in 1930. From the beginning there were lawsuits over who owned the rights to the stooges. Cast members came and went. More lawsuits came and went. Healy lost a few, but generally won more than he lost. Even his own Stooges sued him.

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Buckminster Fuller explains threeness in the Universe

Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller

  1. The stability of the triangle
  2. The one quantum created in the tetrahedron
  3. How the icosahedron, the octahedron and tetrahedron create everything in the universe
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Living in Threes: Triangles and Triglyphs in Ancient Cultures

Fichier:Weighing of the heart
Pyramids of Giza
Pyramids of Giza

Few periods of ancient history sum up mathematical precision in quite as dramatic a fashion as Ancient Egypt. Against a rugged landscape of rocky mountains, rolling sand dunes, and the wide emptiness of an endless blue sky, the architects in the Land of the Pharaohs embraced geometric design with a passion by any other civilization.

Pyramids all over the world
Pyramids all over the world

The Pyramids at Giza remain one of the great architectural wonders of the world, and the giant sculpture of the Sphinx is unrivaled example of the Egyptian ability to represent the natural form within a geometric methodology. Equally interested in the mystical power of numerology were the Ancient Greeks.

With their elegant marble temples and fertile landscapes, the Greeks built a civilization of which the number three was an object of passion. Its legacy has continued to live on as a core element of more modern cultural codes and religions, suggesting that three may be more important to the way that we currently view the world than we necessarily realize.

Building in Threes


The plurality of three offered a sense of balance, order, and geometric precision. This is something that was held with such reverence that it is present at all levels of Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek culture and design, including the very fabric of their buildings. Finding opportunities to include representations of the number three was a crucial element of architectural design in Greece. For instance, Doric friezes on temples feature triglyphs, which are a rectangular panel of three vertical lines.

triglyphs separate metopes stone panels carved with figured reliefs
triglyphs separate metopes stone panels carved with figured reliefs

Created by carving two angular channels (known as hemiglyphs), Greek triglyphs are thought to be a recreation of the Egyptian hieroglyph for the number three, which appears as three straight lines ( I I I ). The Doric design is thought to have represented harmony whilst invoking the powerful magic of the pluralism concept, an important consideration for a building as important as a temple.

Still going strong

This design remains popular today, and is a common feature of many modern skills in arts and crafts such as wood carving and metalwork. Museums frequently offer craft workshops and exhibitions exploring the exceptional skill and unique design of classical landscapes.

Independence Hall of the White House triglyphs
Independence Hall of the White House triglyphs

Such is its legacy that the triglyph is also found in many modern buildings. These include neoclassical buildings, such as those common on Broadway, and also in aspects of quintessentially modern buildings. In a nod to the civilization that gave us Democracy, the Cabinet Room, Roosevelt Room and Independence Hall of t

Empire building New York Neoclassical
Empire building New York Neoclassical

he White House triglyphs as part of their ceiling moldings.

It would seem that there is something irresistible about this simple representation of the number three that has caused its legacy to live on beyond the lifespan of the civilizations that created it, raising the tantalizing possibility that it will also appear in the landscapes of the distant future.

The power of the triangle


Aside from triglyphs, the number three is found in triangles throughout both Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek architecture. Perhaps the most overt three in Ancient Greek architecture is the triangle on the front and back of the Parthenon in Athens. Known as pediments, these triangles are considered to contain some of the finest examples of Doric sculpture, and contained images of the most important moments in the lives of the Olympic triad.

A side view of the great Sphinx with all of the pyramids of Giza in the background in Cairo, Egypt
A side view of the great Sphinx with all of the pyramids of Giza in the background in Cairo, Egypt

Another example of the triangle, The Great Pyramid of Giza, also features a prominent number three in the form of its three triangular faces. This is part of the  complex numerology of the pyramids, the various mathematical elements of which represent the Pythagorean concept of all universal rhythms being modeled from the triangle (three), the square (four), and the pentagon (five).

Egyptian Triangle
Egyptian Triangle

Again, the triangles in Egypt are closely related to mythology, and deictic triangles in particular. The shortest side of the Pythagorean triangle (known as “Ausar”) corresponds to the Father, the longer side (known as “Auset”) corresponds to the Mother, and the hypotenuse (called “Heru”) is the son.

sacred rope triangle
sacred rope triangle

The power of the triangle became  important amongst Ancient alchemists, and was later embraced by Medieval architects. The natural ease with which a triangle can be divided into parts whilst still remaining a whole proved an attractive idea for those who were aiming to explore the fundamental harmony of biological life.

Egyptian alchemy
Egyptian alchemy

For instance, the Egyptian Alchemical Triangle had three, four, and five divisions for the Father, Mother, and Son sides respectively. The three divisions on the Ausar side represented the three vital principles that formed the known world: salt, sulfur, and mercury, a vital part of the process of the Spirit manifesting as Matter.

Egyptian triangle eye
Egyptian triangle eye

The irresistible geometry of the triangle has seen the concept reappear throughout cultures and religions, making it one of the most recognized symbols in the world. Crucial to the Christian realization of the Father, Son, and Spirit trinity, the three-sided polygon also appears in Buddhism as part of the Eye of Consciousness (the so-called “third eye”), as as part of the Sri Yantra of Hinduism.

Enduring threes

Weighing of the heart
Weighing of the heart

n a world where consumerism drives a fast-paced life, the importance of the fundamental building blocks of culture and civilization can easily become lost. Three may appear to be a simple number, useful for a quick bit of mental arithmetic or jotting down a phone number, but its historical importance remains all around us in the form of triangles and triglyphs.

Eye of Providence
Eye of Providence

From the ancients who truly believed in the mystical power of not simply the number three but also the concept behind it, to the geometric balance that continues to attract architects and designers to its fan club, to its integral role in constructing modern religions, the number three is a part of the ancient world that has refused to succumb to the ravages of time.

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Number 3 in American Culture

Three American Flags by Jasper Johns


By the late Professor Alan Dundes of the University of California at Berkeley

Allan Dundes

Professor Allan Dundes

Students undertaking professional training in anthropology are rarely, if ever, required to formally study their own cultures. They must demonstrate competence in various topics and areas, but these do not normally include materials from their own cultures. They may be told that the identification and careful delineation of native categories may be crucial to a fuller understanding of that culture which they investigate, but their own native categories, the identification of which is equally important for an understanding of another culture, may not be considered at all. With our present knowledge of the cultural relativity of perception and cognition, it seems clear that students of anthropology should be encouraged to analyze their own native categories with the same care and methodological rigor that is demanded of them in their fieldwork in other cultures. If the reduction of ethnocentric bias is truly an ideal of anthropological scholarship, then anthropologists should go into the field with as comprehensive an understanding of the nature of their own culture as possible.

Continue reading Number 3 in American Culture

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The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther Knig Jr.Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Speech Text:

I want to use as the subject from which to preach: “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.” (All right) You know, they used to tell us in Hollywood that in order for a movie to be complete, it had to be three-dimensional. Well, this morning I want to seek to get over to each of us that if life itself is to be complete, (Yes) it must be three-dimensional. . .

Three Sound Clips from the speech:

  •       Master the Length of Life
  •       We are Dependent on One Another
  •       The Power Of God

Audio of Complete Speech

      Three Dimensions of a Compete Life

Speech Text:

I want to use as the subject from which to preach: “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.” (All right) You know, they used to tell us in Hollywood that in order for a movie to be complete, it had to be three-dimensional. Well, this morning I want to seek to get over to each of us that if life itself is to be complete, (Yes) it must be three-dimensional.

Many, many centuries ago, there was a man by the name of John who found himself in prison out on a lonely, obscure island called Patmos. (Right, right) And I’ve been in prison just enough to know that it’s a lonely experience. (That’s right) And when you are incarcerated in such a situation, you are deprived of almost every freedom, but the freedom to think, the freedom to pray, the freedom to reflect and to meditate. And while John was out on this lonely island in prison, (That’s right) he lifted his vision to high heaven (All right, He did) and he saw, descending out of heaven, a new heaven (All right) and a new earth. (That’s right) Over in the twenty-first chapter of the book of Revelation, it opens by saying, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. (All right) And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, (All right) coming down from God out of heaven.” (Oh yeah)


Martin Luther King praying
Martin Luther King praying

And one of the greatest glories of this new city of God that John saw was its completeness. (That’s right) It was not up on one side and down on the other, (All right) but it was complete in all three of its dimensions. (Yes) And so in this same chapter as we looked down to the sixteenth verse, John says, “The length and the breadth (He did, he did) and the height of it are equal.” (Yes, sir) In other words, this new city of God, this new city of ideal humanity is not an unbalanced entity, (No) but is complete on all sides. (Yes) Now I think John is saying something here in all of the symbolism of this text and the symbolism of this chapter. He’s saying at bottom that life as it should be and life at its best (Yeah) is a life that is complete on all sides. (That’s right)

And there are three dimensions of any complete life to which we can fitly give the words of this text: length, breadth, and height. (Yes) Now the length of life as we shall use it here is the inward concern for one’s own welfare. (Yes) In other words, it is that inward concern that causes one to push forward, to achieve his own goals and ambitions. (All right) The breadth of life as we shall use it here is the outward concern for the welfare of others. (All right) And the height of life is the upward reach for God. (All right) Now you got to have all three of these to have a complete life.

Now let’s turn for the moment to the length of life. I said that this is the dimension of life where we are concerned with developing our inner powers. (Yeah) In a sense this is the selfish dimension of life. There is such a thing as rational and healthy self-interest. (Yeah) A great Jewish rabbi, the late Joshua Leibman, wrote a book some years ago entitled Peace of Mind. And he has a chapter in that book entitled “Love Thyself Properly.” And what he says in that chapter, in substance, is that before you can love other selves adequately, you’ve got to love your own self properly. (All right) You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. (That’s right) And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself.

And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself. (All right) So many people are busy trying to be somebody else. (That’s right) God gave all of us something significant. And we must pray every day, asking God to help us to accept ourselves. (Yeah) That means everything. (Yeah) Too many Negroes are ashamed of themselves, ashamed of being black. (Yes, sir) A Negro got to rise up and say from the bottom of his soul, “I am somebody. (Yes) I have a rich, noble, and proud heritage. However exploited and however painful my history has been, I’m black, but I’m black and beautiful.” (Yeah) This is what we’ve got to say. We’ve got to accept ourselves. (Yeah) And we must pray, “Lord, Help me to accept myself every day; help me to accept my tools.” (Yeah)

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.I remember when I was in college, I majored in sociology, and all sociology majors had to take a course that was required called statistics. And statistics can be very complicated. You’ve got to have a mathematical mind, a real knowledge of geometry, and you’ve got to know how to find the mean, the mode, and the median. I never will forget. I took this course and I had a fellow classmate who could just work that stuff out, you know. And he could do his homework in about an hour. We would often go to the lab or the workshop, and he would just work it out in about an hour, and it was over for him. And I was trying to do what he was doing; I was trying to do mine in an hour. And the more I tried to do it in an hour, the more I was flunking out in the course. And I had to come to a very hard conclusion. I had to sit down and say, “Now, Martin Luther King, Leif Cane has a better mind than you.” (That’s right) Sometimes you have to acknowledge that. (That’s right) And I had to say to myself, “Now, he may be able to do it in an hour, but it takes me two or three hours to do it.” I was not willing to accept myself. I was not willing to accept my tools and my limitations. (Yeah)

But you know in life we’re called upon to do this. A Ford car trying to be a Cadillac is absurd, but if a Ford will accept itself as a Ford, (All right) it can do many things that a Cadillac could never do: it can get in parking spaces that a Cadillac can never get in. [laughter] And in life some of us are Fords and some of us are Cadillacs. (Yes) Moses says in “Green Pastures,” “Lord, I ain’t much, but I is all I got.” [laughter] The principle of self-acceptance is a basic principle in life.

Now the other thing about the length of life: after accepting ourselves and our tools, we must discover what we are called to do. (Oh yeah) And once we discover it we should set out to do it with all of the strength and all of the power that we have in our systems. (Yeah) And after we’ve discovered what God called us to do, after we’ve discovered our life’s work, we should set out to do that work so well that the living, the dead, or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. (Oh yeah) Now this does not mean that everybody will do the so-called big, recognized things of life. Very few people will rise to the heights of genius in the arts and the sciences; very few collectively will rise to certain professions. Most of us will have to be content to work in the fields and in the factories and on the streets. But we must see the dignity of all labor. (That’s right)

When I was in Montgomery, Alabama, I went to a shoe shop quite often, known as the Gordon Shoe Shop. And there was a fellow in there that used to shine my shoes, and it was just an experience to witness this fellow shining my shoes. He would get that rag, you know, and he could bring music out of it. And I said to myself, “This fellow has a Ph.D. in shoe shining.” (That’s right)

What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; (Go ahead) sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Martin Luther King Jr.If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill

Be a scrub in the valley, but be

The best little scrub on the side of the hill,

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a highway just be a trail

If you can’t be the sun be a star;

It isn’t by size that you win or fail,

Be the best of whatever you are.

And when you do this, when you do this, you’ve mastered the length of life. (Yes)

This onward push to the end of self-fulfillment is the end of a person’s life. Now don’t stop here, though. You know, a lot of people get no further in life than the length. They develop their inner powers; they do their jobs well. But do you know, they try to live as if nobody else lives in the world but themselves? (Yes) And they use everybody as mere tools to get to where they’re going. (Yes) They don’t love anybody but themselves. And the only kind of love that they really have for other people is utilitarian love. You know, they just love people that they can use. (Well)

A lot of people never get beyond the first dimension of life. They use other people as mere steps by which they can climb to their goals and their ambitions. These people don’t work out well in life. They may go for awhile, they may think they’re making it all right, but there is a law. (Oh yeah) They call it the law of gravitation in the physical universe, and it works, it’s final, it’s inexorable: whatever goes up can come down. You shall reap what you sow. (Yeah) God has structured the universe that way. (Yeah) And he who goes through life not concerned about others will be a subject, victim of this law.

So I move on and say that it is necessary to add breadth to length. Now the breadth of life is the outward concern for the welfare of others, as I said. (Yeah) And a man has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his own individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. (All right)

One day Jesus told a parable. You will remember that parable. He had a man that came to him to talk with him about some very profound concerns. And they finally got around to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” (All right) And this man wanted to debate with Jesus. This question could have very easily ended up in thin air as a theological or philosophical debate. But you remember Jesus immediately pulled that question out of thin air and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. (He did, he did) He talked about a certain man who fell among thieves. (Right) Two men came by and they just kept going. And then finally another man came, a member of another race, who stopped and helped him. (Oh yeah) And that parable ends up saying that this good Samaritan was a great man; he was a good man because he was concerned about more than himself. (Oh yeah)

Martin Luther King Jr.Now you know, there are many ideas about why the priest and the Levite passed and didn’t stop to help that man. A lot of ideas about it. Some say that they were going to a church service, and they were running a little late, you know, and couldn’t be late for church, so they kept going because they had to get down to the synagogue. And then there are others who would say that they were involved in the priesthood and consequently there was a priestly law which said that if you were going to administer the sacrament or what have you, you couldn’t touch a human body twenty-four hours before worship. Now there’s another possibility. It is possible that they were going down to Jericho to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association. That’s another possibility. And they may have passed by because they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the causal source rather than one individual victim. That’s a possibility.

But you know, when I think about this parable, I think of another possibility as I use my imagination. It’s possible that these men passed by on the other side because they were afraid. You know, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. (That’s right) I’ve been on it and I know. And I never will forget, Mrs. King and I were in the Holy Land some time ago. We rented a car and we drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho, a distance of about sixteen miles. You get on that Jericho road�I’m telling you it’s a winding, curving, meandering road, very conducive for robbery. And I said to my wife, “Now I can see why Jesus used this road as the occasion for his parable.” (Yes) Here you are when you start out in Jerusalem: you are twenty-two hundred feet above sea level, and when you get down to Jericho sixteen miles later�I mean you have sixteen miles from Jerusalem�you’re twelve hundred feet below sea level. During the days of Jesus that road came to the point of being known as the “Bloody Path.” So when I think about the priest and the Levite, I think those brothers were afraid. (All right)

They were just like me. I was going out to my father’s house in Atlanta the other day. He lives about three or four miles from me, and you go out there by going down Simpson Road. And then when I came back later that night�and brother, I can tell you, Simpson Road is a winding road. And a fellow was standing out there trying to flag me down. And I felt that he needed some help; I knew he needed help. [laughter] But I didn’t know it. I’ll be honest with you, I kept going. [laughter] I wasn’t really willing to take the risk. (That’s right)

I say to you this morning that the first question that the priest asked was the first question that I asked on that Jericho Road of Atlanta known as Simpson Road. The first question that the Levite asked was, �’If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” (That’s right) But the good Samaritan came by and he reversed the question. Not “What will happen to me if I stop to help this man?” but “What will happen to this man if I do not stop to help him?” This was why that man was good and great. He was great because he was willing to take a risk for humanity; he was willing to ask, “What will happen to this man?” not “What will happen to me?” (All right)

This is what God needs today (Yes): Men and women who will ask, “What will happen to humanity if I don’t help? (Oh yeah) What will happen to the civil rights movement if I don’t participate? (Yes) What will happen to my city if I don’t vote? (Oh yeah) What will happen to the sick if I don’t visit them?” This is how God judges people in the final analysis. (Oh yeah)

Oh, there will be a day, the question won’t be, “How many awards did you get in life?” Not that day. (Yeah) It won’t be, “How popular were you in your social setting?” That won’t be the question that day. (Yeah) It will not ask how many degrees you’ve been able to get. (All right) The question that day will not be concerned with whether you are a “Ph.D.” or a “no D.” (That’s right) It will not be concerned with whether you went to Morehouse or whether you went to “No House.” (Yes) The question that day will not be, “How beautiful is your house?” (That’s right) The question that day will not be, “How much money did you accumulate? How much did you have in stocks and bonds?” The question that day will not be, “What kind of automobile did you have?” On that day the question will be, “What did you do for others?” (That’s right)

Martin Luther King Jr.Now I can hear somebody saying, “Lord, I did a lot of things in life. I did my job well; the world honored me for doing my job. (Oh yeah) I did a lot of things, Lord; I went to school and studied hard. I accumulated a lot of money, Lord; that’s what I did.” It seems as if I can hear the Lord of Life saying, “But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. (That’s right) I was sick, and ye visited me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was in prison, and you weren’t concerned about me. So get out of my face. What did you do for others?” (That’s right) This is the breadth of life. (Oh yeah)

Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others. And this is the way I’ve decided to go the rest of my days. That’s what I’m concerned about. John, if you and Bernard happen to be around when I come to the latter-days and that moment to cross the Jordan, I want you to tell them that I made a request: I don’t want a long funeral. In fact, I don’t even need a eulogy (No) more than one or two minutes. (All right) I hope that I will live so well the rest of the days�I don’t know how long I’ll live, and I’m not concerned about that�but I hope I can live so well that the preacher can get up and say, “He was faithful.” (Yes) That’s all, that’s enough. (That’s right) That’s the sermon I’d like to hear: “Well done my good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful; you’ve been concerned about others.” (That’s right) That’s where I want to go from this point on the rest of my days. (Oh yeah) “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” I want to be a servant. (Yes) I want to be a witness for my Lord, to do something for others.

And don’t forget in doing something for others that you have what you have because of others. (Yes, sir) Don’t forget that. We are tied together in life and in the world. (Preach, preach) And you may think you got all you got by yourself. (Not all of it) But you know, before you got out here to church this morning, you were dependent on more than half of the world. (That’s right) You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom, and you reach over for a bar of soap, and that’s handed to you by a Frenchman. You reach over for a sponge, and that’s given to you by a turk. You reach over for a towel, and that comes to your hand from the hands of a Pacific Islander. And then you go on to the kitchen to get your breakfast. You reach on over to get a little coffee, and that’s poured in your cup by a South American. (That’s right) Or maybe you decide that you want a little tea this morning, only to discover that that’s poured in your cup by a Chinese. (Yes) Or maybe you want a little cocoa, that’s poured in your cup by a West African. (Yes) Then you want a little bread and you reach over to get it, and that’s given to you by the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. (That’s right) Before you get through eating breakfast in the morning, you’re dependent on more than half the world. (That’s right) That’s the way God structured it; that’s the way God structured this world. So let us be concerned about others because we are dependent on others. (Oh yeah)
But don’t stop here either. (No, sir) You know, a lot of people master the length of life, and they master the breadth of life, but they stop right there. Now if life is to be complete, we must move beyond our self-interest. We must move beyond humanity and reach up, way up for the God of the universe, whose purpose changeth not. (Right)

Now a lot of people have neglected this third dimension. And you know, the interesting thing is a lot of people neglect it and don’t even know they are neglecting it. They just get involved in other things. And you know, there are two kinds of atheism. Atheism is the theory that there is no God. Now one kind is a theoretical kind, where somebody just sits down and starts thinking about it, and they come to a conclusion that there is no God. The other kind is a practical atheism, and that kind goes out of living as if there is no God. And you know there are a lot of people who affirm the existence of God with their lips, and they deny his existence with their lives. (That’s right) You’ve seen these people who have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. They deny the existence of God with their lives and they just become so involved in other things. They become so involved in getting a big bank account. (Yeah) They become so involved in getting a beautiful house, which we all should have. They become so involved in getting a beautiful car that they unconsciously just forget about God. (Oh yeah) There are those who become so involved in looking at the man-made lights of the city that they unconsciously forget to rise up and look at that great cosmic light and think about it�that gets up in the eastern horizon every morning and moves across the sky with a kind of symphony of motion and paints its technicolor across the blue�a light that man can never make. (All right) They become so involved in looking at the skyscraping buildings of the Loop of Chicago or Empire State Building of New York that they unconsciously forget to think about the gigantic mountains that kiss the skies as if to bathe their peaks in the lofty blue�something that man could never make. They become so busy thinking about radar and their television that they unconsciously forget to think about the stars that bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity, those stars that appear to be shiny, silvery pins sticking in the magnificent blue pincushion. They become so involved in thinking about man’s progress that they forget to think about the need for God’s power in history. They end up going days and days not knowing that God is not with them. (Go ahead)

Martin Luther King Jr. with father and sonAnd I’m here to tell you today that we need God. (Yes) Modern man may know a great deal, but his knowledge does not eliminate God. (Right) And I tell you this morning that God is here to stay. A few theologians are trying to say that God is dead. And I’ve been asking them about it because it disturbs me to know that God died and I didn’t have a chance to attend the funeral. They haven’t been able to tell me yet the date of his death. They haven’t been able to tell me yet who the coroner was that pronounced him dead. (Preach, preach) They haven’t been able to tell me yet where he’s buried.

You see, when I think about God, I know his name. He said somewhere, back in the Old Testament, “I want you to go out, Moses, and tell them �I Am’ sent you.” (That’s right) He said just to make it clear, let them know that “my last name is the same as my first, �I Am that I Am.’ Make that clear. I Am.” And God is the only being in the universe that can say “I Am” and put a period behind it. Each of us sitting here has to say, “I am because of my parents; I am because of certain environmental conditions; I am because of certain hereditary circumstances; I am because of God.” But God is the only being that can just say, “I Am” and stop right there. “I Am that I Am.” And He’s here to stay. Let nobody make us feel that we don’t need God. (That’s right)

As I come to my conclusion this morning, I want to say that we should search for him. We were made for God, and we will be restless until we find rest in him. (Oh yeah) And I say to you this morning that this is the personal faith that has kept me going. (Yes) I’m not worried about the future. You know, even on this race question, I’m not worried. I was down in Alabama the other day, and I started thinking about the state of Alabama where we worked so hard and may continue to elect the Wallaces. And down in my home state of Georgia, we have another sick governor by the name of Lester Maddox. (Yes) And all of these things can get you confused, but they don’t worry me. (All right) Because the God that I worship is a God that has a way of saying even to kings and even to governors, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And God has not yet turned over this universe to Lester Maddox and Lurleen Wallace. Somewhere I read, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, and I’m going on because I have faith in Him. (Oh yeah) I do not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. (Yes) And if He’ll guide us and hold our hand, we’ll go on in.

I remember down in Montgomery, Alabama, an experience that I’d like to share with you. When we were in the midst of the bus boycott, we had a marvelous old lady that we affectionately called Sister Pollard. She was a wonderful lady about seventy-two years old and she was still working at that age. (Yes) During the boycott she would walk every day to and from work. She was one that somebody stopped one day and said, “Wouldn’t you like to ride?” And she said, “No.” And then the driver moved on and stopped and thought, and backed up a little and said, “Well, aren’t you tired?” She said, “Yes, my feets is tired, but my soul is rested.” (All right)

She was a marvelous lady. And one week I can remember that I had gone through a very difficult week. (Yes) Threatening calls had come in all day and all night the night before, and I was beginning to falter and to get weak within and to lose my courage. (All right) And I never will forget that I went to the mass meeting that Monday night very discouraged and a little afraid, and wondering whether we were going to win the struggle. (Oh yeah) And I got up to make my talk that night, but it didn’t come out with strength and power. Sister Pollard came up to me after the meeting and said, “Son, what’s wrong with you?” Said, “You didn’t talk strong enough tonight.”

And I said, “Nothing is wrong, Sister Pollard, I’m all right.”

She said, “You can’t fool me.” Said, “Something wrong with you.” And then she went on to say these words, “Is the white folks doing something to you that you don’t like?”

I said, “Everything is going to be all right, Sister Pollard.”

And then she finally said, “Now come close to me and let me tell you something one more time, and I want you to hear it this time.” She said, “Now I done told you we is with you.” She said, “Now, even if we ain’t with you, the Lord is with you.” (Yes) And she concluded by saying, “The Lord’s going to take care of you.”

And I’ve seen many things since that day. I’ve gone through many experiences since that night in Montgomery, Alabama. Since that time Sister Pollard has died. Since that time I’ve been in more than eighteen jail cells. Since that time I’ve come perilously close to death at the hands of a demented Negro woman. Since that time I’ve seen my home bombed three times. Since that time I’ve had to live every day under the threat of death. Since that time I’ve had many frustrating and bewildering nights. But over and over again I can still hear Sister Pollard’s words: “God’s going to take care of you.” So today I can face any man and any woman with my feet solidly placed on the ground and my head in the air because I know that when you are right, God will fight your battle.

“Darker yet may be the night, harder yet may be the fight. Just stand up for that which is right.” It seems that I can hear a voice speaking even this morning, saying to all of us, “Stand up for what is right. Stand up for what is just. Lo, I will be with you even until the end of the world.” Yes, I’ve seen the lightning flash. I’ve heard the thunder roll. I’ve felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. And I go on in believing that. Reach out and find the breadth of life.

You may not be able to define God in philosophical terms. Men through the ages have tried to talk about him. (Yes) Plato said that he was the Architectonic Good. Aristotle called him the Unmoved Mover. Hegel called him the Absolute Whole. Then there was a man named Paul Tillich who called him Being-Itself. We don’t need to know all of these high-sounding terms. (Yes) Maybe we have to know him and discover him another way. (Oh yeah) One day you ought to rise up and say, “I know him because he’s a lily of the valley.” (Yes) He’s a bright and morning star. (Yes) He’s a rose of Sharon. He’s a battle-axe in the time of Babylon. (Yes) And then somewhere you ought to just reach out and say, “He’s my everything. He’s my mother and my father. He’s my sister and my brother. He’s a friend to the friendless.” This is the God of the universe. And if you believe in him and worship him, something will happen in your life. You will smile when others around you are crying. This is the power of God.

Go out this morning. Love yourself, and that means rational and healthy self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That’s the length of life. Then follow that: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That’s the breadth of life. And I’m going to take my seat now by letting you know that there’s a first and even greater commandment: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, (Yeah) with all thy soul, with all thy strength.” I think the psychologist would just say with all thy personality. And when you do that, you’ve got the breadth of life.

Martin Luther King Jr. MemorialAnd when you get all three of these together, you can walk and never get weary. You can look up and see the morning stars singing together, and the sons of God shouting for joy. When you get all of these working together in your very life, judgement will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

When you get all the three of these together, the lamb will lie down with the lion.

When you get all three of these together, you look up and every valley will be exalted, and every hill and mountain will be made low; the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh will see it together.

When you get all three of these working together, you will do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

When you get all three of these together, you will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth.

When you get all three of these together… [recording ends]

Delivered at New Covenant Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, on 9 April 1967.

More Audio Recordings

For more recordings of Martin Luther King Jr.  visit The Historical Archives.

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Ethos, Pathos, Logos – A General Summary of Aristotle’s Appeals

Caesar ethos pathos logos



Within the Trivium the goal of argumentative writing is to persuade your audience that your ideas are valid, or more valid than someone else’s. The Greek philosopher Aristotle divided the means of persuasion, appeals, into three categories–Ethos, Pathos, Logos.

Ethos (Credibility), or ethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people whom we respect. One of the central problems of argumentation is to project an impression to the reader that you are someone worth listening to, in other words making yourself as author into an authority on the subject of the paper, as well as someone who is likable and worthy of respect.


Ethos, Pathos, Logos
Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Pathos (Emotional) means persuading by appealing to the reader’s emotions. We can look at texts ranging from classic essays to contemporary advertisements to see how pathos, emotional appeals, are used to persuade. Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument.

Logos (Logical) means persuading by the use of reasoning. This will be the most important technique we will study, and Aristotle’s favorite. We’ll look at deductive and inductive reasoning, and discuss what makes an effective, persuasive reason to back up your claims. Giving reasons is the heart of argumentation, and cannot be emphasized enough. We’ll study the types of support you can use to substantiate your thesis, and look at some of the common logical fallacies, in order to avoid them in your writing.

 signal text triangleEthos, Pathos, and Logos.

Logos (Greek for ‘word’) refers to the internal consistency of the message–the clarity of the claim, the logic of its reasons, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence. The impact of logos on an audience is sometimes called the argument’s logical appeal.

Ethos (Greek for ‘character’) refers to the trustworthiness or credibility of the writer or speaker. Ethos is often conveyed through tone and style of the message and through the way the writer or speaker refers to differing views. It can also be affected by the writer’s reputation as it exists independently from the message–his or her expertise in the field, his or her previous record or integrity, and so forth. The impact of ethos is often called the argument’s ‘ethical appeal’ or the ‘appeal from credibility.’

rhetoric[P]athos (Greek for ‘suffering’ or ‘experience’) is often associated with emotional appeal. But a better equivalent might be ‘appeal to the audience’s sympathies and imagination.’ An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but to identify with the writer’s point of view–to feel what the writer feels. In this sense, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb ‘to suffer’–to feel pain imaginatively…. Perhaps the most common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the writer are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to the reader. Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer’s message moves the audience to decision or action.

[The above text drawn verbatim from Ramage, John D. and John C. Bean. Writing Arguments. 4th Edition. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1998, 81-82.]

 Or The Shorthand Version:

Ethos: the source’s credibility, the speaker’s/author’s authority

Logos: the logic used to support a claim (induction and deduction); can also be the facts and statistics used to help support the argument.

Pathos: the emotional or motivational appeals; vivid language, emotional language and numerous sensory details.

The Art of Rhetoric:  Learning How to Use the Three Main Rhetorical Styles

Rhetoric (n) – the art of speaking or writing effectively (Webster’s Definition).

According to Aristotle, rhetoric is “the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion.” He described three main forms of rhetoric: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.

In order to be a more effective writer, you must understand these three terms. This site will help you understand their meanings and it will also show you how to make your writing more persuasive.

It also has some fantastic example web sites that use ethos, logos, and pathos.  My ACME and Coyote fans will love these examples.

 The following essay “The Appeals: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos” was written by Professor Jeanne Fahnestock of the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a very insightful explanation of the three appeals.  I highly recommend reading it at the following web site . . .

According to Aristotle, our perception of a speaker or writer’s character influences how believable or convincing we find what that person has to say. This projected character is called the speaker or writer’s ethos. We are naturally more likely to be persuaded by a person who, we think, has personal warmth, consideration of others, a good mind and solid learning. Often we know something of the character of speakers and writers ahead of time. They come with a reputation or extrinsic ethos. People whose education, experience, and previous performances qualify them to speak on a certain issue earn the special extrinsic ethos of the authority. But whether or not we know anything about the speaker or writer ahead of time, the actual text we hear or read, the way it is written or spoken and what it says, always conveys and impression of the author’s character. This impression created by the text itself is the intrinsic ethos.

Institutions, public roles and publications also project an ethos or credibility. We assume, for example, that The New York Times is a more credible source than the Weekly World News or the National Inquirer. And we usually assume that a person selected for a position of responsibility or honor is more credible than someone without official sanction. These expectations about credibility and ethos are occasionally disappointed.


The persuasive appeal of pathos is an appeal to an audience’s sense of identity, their self-interest, their emotions. Many rhetoricians over the centuries have considered pathos the strongest of the appeals, though this view of persuasion is rarely mentioned without a lament about the power of emotion to sway the mind.

Appeals to our sense of identity and self interest exploit common biases; we naturally bend in the direction of what is advantageous to us, what serves our interests or the interests of any group we believe ourselves a part of. Even when advantage is not an issue, writers who belong to groups we identify with, or create groups we can belong to, often seem more compelling. We also naturally find more persuasive the speaker or writer who flatters us (especially indirectly) instead of insulting us. Thus skillful writers create a positive image in their words of the audience they are addressing, an image their actual readers can identify with. Who does not want to be the “sensible, caring person” the arguer describes? Especially powerful are devices that create an identity between the writer and reader so that the speaker almost seems to be the audience addressing itself.

The emotions also strongly assist, perhaps sometimes determine, persuasion. If, for example, a writer wants a reader to evaluate something negatively, she or he may try to arouse the reader’s anger. Or to produce action to someone’s benefit (e.q. to persuade us to make a charitable donation), an arguer may work on our pity.

Direct appeals to the reader to feel an emotion (e.q. “You should be crying now”) are rarely effective. Instead, creating an emotion with words usually requires recreating the scene or event that would in “real” circumstances arouse the emotion. Thus descriptions of painful or pleasant things work on the emotions. Or the arguer can work on the natural “trigger” of the emotion. If, for example, we usually feel anger at someone who, we believe, has received benefits without deserving them, then the arguer who wants to make us angry with someone will make a case that person was rewarded unfairly.


Finally, we come to the “argument” itself, the explicit reasons the arguer provides to support a position. There are many ways to describe the support provided in an argument, but a sample way to begin is to consider all the premises the author seems to supply. These can be scattered throughout the argument and expressed indirectly, so identifying premises is a judgment call in itself.

Next ask which of the premises are presented as objects of agreement that the arguer considers as given, elements of the argument taken for granted. Objects of agreement are basically either facts or values. Of course, the facts may not be facts and readers may not agree with the values assumed. Some of the premises will be supported further, but basically every argument has got to come down to certain objects of agreement that it presents as shared between arguer and audience.

You can also classify premises into the following categories. 1. Are they arguments based on definition? In other words, does the arguer make claims about the nature of things, about what terms mean, what features things have? 2. Does the arguer make analogies or comparisons? Does he or she cite parallel cases? 3. Are there appeals to cause and consequences? Arguing from consequence is especially common when policy issues are debated. 4. Does the arguer rely on testimony or authority by citing the received opinions of experts? Or does the author create some kind of authoritative reference group, citing public opinion on what most people think as support for his or her position?

 Rhetoric, Logos, Pathos, and Ethos

Caesar ethos pathos logos
Caesar ethos pathos logos


There are three artistic proofs that we can create: the appeals from ethos, pathos, and logos.


Persuasion from ethos establishes the speaker’s or writer’s good character. As you saw in the opening of Plato’s Phaedrus, the Greeks established a sense of ethos by a family’s reputation in the community. Our current culture in many ways denies us the use of family ethos as sons and daughters must move out of the community to find jobs or parents feel they must sell the family home to join a retirement community apart from the community of their lives’ works. The appeal from a person’s acknowledged life contributions within a community has moved from the stability of the family hearth to the mobility of the shiny car. Without the ethos of the good name and handshake, current forms of cultural ethos often fall to puffed-up resumes and other papers. The use of ethos in the form of earned titles within the community-Coach Albert, Deacon Jones, Professor Miller-are diminishing as “truthful” signifiers while commercial-name signifiers or icons appear on clothing-Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger- disclosing a person’s cultural ethos not in terms of a contributor to the community, but in terms of identity-through purchase. Aristotle warns us away from such decoys, telling us that the appeal from ethos comes not from appearances, but from a person’s use of language. In a culture where outward appearances have virtually subsumed or taken over the appeal from inner (moral and intellectual) character, the appeal from ethos becomes both problematic and important. Given our culture’s privileges/rights of free speech and personal equality, however, we have enormous possibilities for the appeal from ethos any writer well versed in his or her subject and well spoken about it can gain credibility. This kind of persuasion comes from what a person says and how a person says it, not from any prejudice (pre-judging) of the author.

Aristotle tells us that three things “Inspire confidence in the rhetor’s [speaker’s/writer’s] own character-the three, namely, that induce us to believe a thing apart from any proof of it: good sense, good moral character, and goodwill. False statements and bad advice come from the lack of any of these elements. Exhibiting these three aspects of character in your discourse can play a large part in gaining credibility for your ideas. As regards the academic essay, be sure to have your writing appear written by a person of good sense by following the format dictated by the Modern Language Association (M.L.A.) or American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) or whatever your particular academic community wants. Citing a bunch of sources always adds to your credibility (sense of good sense) too. Stylistically in your writing, you can show, if not your good moral character, at least some character identification by sticking some little phrase before using “r’ or “we.” Like, “As So-in-so’s attorney, I suggest . . . Or “As a dental hygienist, I advise…… Or “As an elderly snowboarder for the past decade, I see no reason why…… Actually, using “I” or “we” without such identifiers flips the attempt at ethos into a sense of the generic nobody. Many writing teachers, therefore, just say “don’t use I.” Aristotle implies, use “I” or “we” to your advantage with an ethos-appeal sort of phrase out there in front, or else forget it. Despite warnings against believing discourse ‘just because it appears written by someone of good sense or because the ideas “look good,” you should try to create discourse that “looks good.” As a reminder from the Plato chapter (now reinforced by the Aristotelian tip that people judge the credibility of your ideas by your writing skills), you should run your academic essay through the spell checker and bother numerous guinea-pig readers for fixing up the organization and Standard English before letting your essay loose on the world to do its work. If, as Aristotle says, people are going to judge your spoken and/or written ideas by virtue of the appearance of good sense, you’d best attend to that quality.


Persuasion from pathos involves engaging the readers’ or listeners’ emotions. Appealing to pathos does not mean that you just emote or “go off’ through your writing. Not that simple. Appealing to pathos in your readers (or listeners), you establish in them a state of reception for your ideas. You can attempt to fill your readers with pity for somebody or contempt for some wrong. You can create a sense of envy or of indignation. Naturally, in order for you to establish at will any desired state of emotion in your readers, you will have to know everything you can about psychology. Maybe that’s why Aristotle wrote so many books about the philosophy of human nature. In the Rhetoric itself, Aristotle advises writers at length how to create anger toward some ideal circumstance and how also to create a sense of calm in readers. He also explains principles of friendship and enmity as shared pleasure and pain. He discusses how to create in readers a sense of fear and shame and shamelessness and kindness and unkindness and pity and indignation and envy and indignation and emulation. Then he starts all over and shows how to create such feelings toward ideas in various types of human character’ of “people” of virtue and vice; those of youth, prime of life, and old age; and those of good fortune and those of bad fortune.” Aristotle warns us, however: knowing (as a good willed writer) how to get your readers to receive your ideas by making readers “pleased and friendly” or “pained and hostile” is one thing; playing on readers’ emotions in ways that make them mindless of concepts and consequences can corrupt the judgment of both individuals and the community.


Finally, a writer appeals to readers through the appeal to the readers’ sense of logos. This is commonly called the logical appeal, and you can use two different types of logic. You can use inductive logic by giving your readers a bunch of similar examples and then drawing from them a general proposition. This logic is pretty simple given this, that, and the other thing-poof, there you go, a conclusion. Or, you can use the deductive enthymeme by giving your readers a few general propositions and then drawing from them a specific truth. Like, “because such-‘n-such is true and such-‘n-such is true and such-‘n-such is true and everybody agrees on this other thing, then-poof, stands to reason, a new truth.

Since the time that a bunch of guys called “The Royal Society” (Hume, Locke, Bacon, etc.) rejected deduction, our culture has generally favored induction because it’s often called the “scientific method” and we like science. Historically, people have also attributed feminine metaphors to deductive logic and then easily dismissed it or dismissed the general propositions as “not documented” or “old wives tales.”

Source: Henning, Martha L. Friendly Persuasion: Classical Rhetoric–Now! Draft Manuscript. August, 1998.

 A student sample that uses these three proofs to analyze a contemporary speech given by George Bush can be read at the following web site.  You can agree with or disagree with the author’s interpretations, but the sample might provide you with an example of how you can use these terms to help you analyze your own article.   Remember it’s not the issue, it’s the way the issue is presented by the author.

Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Applied: George W. Bush Speaking at ‘Ground Zero’

The following web site presents student sample paragraphs that have been revised and, as a result are much stronger.  I strongly suggest looking at these paragraphs in order to fully understand how Ethos, Pathos, and Logos can be used to analyze your articles.

Paragraph Development (for Ethos, Logos, Pathos Essay)


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Greek Columns


Greek Columns

Greek Columns

Three Greek columns; Ionic, Corinthian and Doric made up of the capital, shaft and base. Of the three columns found in Greece, Doric columns are the simplest. They have a capital (the top, or crown) made of a circle topped by a square. The shaft (the tall part of the column) is plain and has 20 sides.

There is no base in the Doric order. The Doric order is very plain, but powerful-looking in its design. Doric, like most Greek styles, works well horizontally on buildings, that’s why it was so good with the long rectangular buildings made by the Greeks. The area above the column, called the frieze [pronounced “freeze”], had simple patterns.

Above the columns are the metopes and triglyphs. The metope [pronounced “met-o-pee”] is a plain, smooth stone section between triglyphs. Sometimes the metopes had statues of heroes or gods on them. The triglyphs are a pattern of 3 vertical lines between the metopes.

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