Why are we fascinated with the number 3 (three)?
This is a question my wife asked me the other day, and for the life of me I could not give her a proper answer.
If you think about it, how many times a day do you use the number 3 (three)? Not in a numerical sense, but rather in a practical sense. You’d be surprised; here are some examples:
- Knocking 3 times on a door to let someone know your there
- Counting to 3 when your children misbehave
- Ready, Steady, GO (three)
- Small, Medium and Large (three)
- Ready, Aim, Fire (three)
- The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth (three)
I am sure that there are many more examples of the number 3 in our daily lives, but why, why are we subconsciously drawn to the number 3 (three)?
As always, this is my personal opinion, but I think there are a couple of ways to look at this
I am a Christian and so will take my thoughts about religion from my personal Christian viewpoint. I’m sure no matter what your religion is, but hope that you can find some sort of common reasoning.
- The Father, Son and Holy Ghost
- There are 27 books in the New Testament, which is 3x3x3, or completeness to the third power.
- Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest. He was placed on the cross at the 3rd hour of the day (9 a.m.) and died at the 9th hour (3 p.m.).
- There were 3 hours of darkness that covered the land while Jesus was suffering on the cross from the 6th hour to the 9th hour.
- Christ was dead for 3 days before His resurrection.
- There were only three individuals who witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration on Mount Hermon: John, Peter and James.
- The apostle Paul was privileged to visit the location of God’s throne, which is in the Third Heaven (2Corinthians 12:2 – 4).
- 3 is the most commonly found or referenced number in Revelation; an angel is charged to cry three woe’s to those who live on earth to warn them of more trials to come (Revelation 8:13).
- Three unclean spirits will be allowed to deceive the whole world to FIGHT the return of Jesus Christ in what is called the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13 – 16).
- The New Jerusalem, created by God for placement on a New Earth, will be shaped like a square with three gates on each side (Revelation 21:13).
Now there are multiple more examples of the number 3 in the Bible but I will leave that for you to find. The point that I want to make is that from Biblical times, the number 3 has played a crucial part in society and thinking. From the day that we are first introduced to Christianity we are subjected to the number 3 in all forms, so it makes sense that we then make it a part of our daily lives. Just as we use our Christian values, we use the number 3 almost without thinking about it.
The rule of 3 (three) / Power of 3 (three)
The rule of three or power of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective. The reader or audience of this form of text is also thereby more likely to remember the information. This is because having three entities combines both brevity and rhythm with having the smallest amount of information to create a pattern. It makes the author or speaker appear knowledgeable while being both simple and catchy.
Slogans, film titles and a variety of other things have been structured in threes, a tradition that grew out of oral storytelling. Examples include the Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the Three Musketeers. Similarly, adjectives are often grouped in threes to emphasize an idea.
A common feature of legal documents, which gives property or grants rights as drafted by legal professionals, perpetuates an old English practice in which the rule of three echoes the intended Act by the varying restatement of the act in triplicate. For example, in a Will or Trust Instrument, you’ll find the phrase, “I give, devise and bequeath …”
A witness in a court proceeding is asked to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
For some cosmic reason it doesn’t look like we will ever understand the true meaning of the number 3(three), but hopefully you’ll be a bit more curious every time you use the number, and to quote a funny explanation I found:
“Now that you are privy to this ancient secret, you have unlocked the world of mystery and there is no turning back. It is like peeling away the layers of an onion only to find infinitely more onion-layers underneath. Take a look at today’s winning lottery number and you are likely to find the number three in there. If you take today’s closing value of the Dow Jones, divide it by the date of the J.F.K. assassination taken to the power of n, where n is the serial number on the next two-dollar bill you come across, it will most likely have the number three somewhere in the result. Not only is it prime, but when multiplied by itself, then divided by itself, then taken to the third root, and then to the third power, the result is still, amazingly, three. In this way, the number three is considered a supra-transcendental primeval number. When a Sistine monk in the fifth century discovered this fact, he immediately gouged out his eyes with a fountain pen and screamed into the air, Ho bisogno di una calcolatrice (I need a calculator!).”
Once again this is my own thought on the matter, I gathered some information from the internet and give credit to those people who wrote it.