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The Pyramid and Three

The Pyramid and Three by

It has been my quest to understand the overall picture, and much to my surprise I had to realize that many many people before me had not only tried to understand the whole of existence, but a large number of ancient people had actually come up with the same kind of answers I discovered. I write about my (re)discoveries in "In Search of a Cyclops" — My overall delivery turned out to be a pyramidal shape of positions, and three takes in a very interesting place.

It is probably easiest to begin explaining the positions with the top of the pyramid. At this highest spot a singular position is found, pointing upward. Yet a real singular overall position it is only in an abstract way. Abstracts are easy to detect.

Did you ever realize that some plural conditions are nevertheless considered grammatically as singular? One says: "The family goes to the beach" and not "The family go to the beach." One says: "The nation is united" and not "The nation are united." The plural situation is grammatically seen as singular because we have used an abstract construct. Except for the police ("The police are coming"), we won't find any abstract in English not conjugated as singular (and in all other languages I know, one must say "The police is coming"). 

The top of the pyramid is the location where everything fits in a single construct, yet when looking closely, 'it' is made up of multiple parts. Without trying to come across as declaring that a family should be just like Hollywood portrays — with a mom, a dad, a daughter and a son — these four positions tell us what options of positions are available in the term 'family.' Four positions are well grounded and real people, and one position contains them all as an abstract in top. A pyramid of positions has become visible.

Let's change the term 'family' into a more general and singular term of 'human being' and discover where three comes into play. Instead of dad and son, mom and daughter, we can cover the same positions with male versus female, and old(er) versus young(er). Please notice that all these words contain by definition an oppositional character. The term human being is clearly a single abstract, but it is an abstract nevertheless, covering all four positions simultaneously. However, a real human being can never cover all four positions. An individual will only cover two parts out of four. We won't be able to find someone who is male and female, young and old all at the same time.

You may be able to distinguish the 'three' in this pyramidal set up: while a human being can cover only two in daily reality — female and old(er), for instance — a total of three can be claimed (sex-reassignment operations aside) when taking a lifetime into consideration. With moving from younger to older, a maximum of three positions may cover the territory for a single person over a life time.

To show more clearly where the gray areas in the pyramid exist, I would like to create the pyramid of 'answer.' In its most simple form, an answer can be 'yes,' 'no,' and 'maybe.' Where yes and no are clearly each others opposition, the third aspect of maybe contains definitively the aspect of change. To find the duality or gradual nature, I'd like to split 'maybe' up in 'maybe not' and 'maybe so.' The distinct push is easily understood when asking someone whether you should buy a lottery ticket. 'Maybe so' points to an optimistic outlook of the result, while 'maybe not' points to the average low-returns of such investments. Yet maybe — in either version — is a half-answer at best. 

Receiving no answer should be placed in this pyramid of 'answer' as well, but it has no specific place. Not receiving an answer to the question to meet up at four — and it is now five — means the answer should be read as 'no.' No one speaking up at a wedding ceremony, whether there is a reason to have this marriage not take place, leads to a clear 'yes.' No answer can be a clear answer, but in general it will be muddy, vague, unknown, kind of gray. One could as easily have said 'maybe.' Three positions, with two of them ordinarily quite clear.

The pyramid I like best is a geographical pyramid. Four positions belong to the basics of this pyramid: North, South, East and West. North and South are different from East and West in that the poles make them two directions of distinct opposition. At the South pole, there is actually no South left, and East and West have gone missing too. All we can do it walk North from the South pole. The same goes topsyturvy for the North pole. Yet East and West have no poles, and any position of East can be considered West as well — though only when the spot is viewed from a different position. On a city map North, South, East and West may be distinctions of similar magnitude, the ultimate four directions distinguish themselves as an oppositional pair, and a changeable pair. 

To show how there are only three directions we need to do away with North, South, East and West, and look at the spin of our planet. Placing the North in top, our Earth spins in a certain direction, yet when placing South in top, the Earth spins in the other direction. The spin did not change, only the position from which we are viewing the spin. There is North, and there is South. And then there is the spin. That totals three.

Next to many treasures — with some of them fascinatingly controversial — "In Search of a Cyclops" delivers the conclusion that we are responsible for not getting the overall picture correctly in focus when not acknowledging our own vantage point. To see the whole, we need not only understand what we see, but also how that we see. By understanding ourselves, we can understand the whole without a problem.