Threesology Research Journal
Examples of "Threes"-oriented Web Pages
page 6

~ The Study of Threes ~

The following are references culled from other websites regarding the number 3 or have "three" as a focus, though other labeling may be used. Please give all respective authors their due credits. Links to their websites are provided following each section. However, it must be noted that some of the links may not be viable since the information was compiled in 2004 or earlier.

Three-point shots in basketball

©1995, Eric Knudstrup

When North Carolina State's Bennie Bolton made a long shot in a game 10 years ago, he probably thought he was just playing basketball.

But with 10 years of NCAA basketball history behind us, we now know that he changed the game, hitting the "shot heard around the world."

Bolton rifled his way to history with a three-pointer 2:59 into a game against Navy on Nov. 22, 1986. He was the first player in NCAA history to shoot from beyond 19 feet, 9 inches and have it mean something.

This season marks the three-pointer's 10th birthday, and the game hasn't been the same ever since.

"The three-pointer has dramatically changed the game," said Geno Ford, a guard for Ohio's men's team. "It has created an emphasis on perimeter play. No team at any level can win without perimeter players now."

The three-pointer made basketball coaches across the country reconsider their coaching philosophies. A 10-point lead seemed less frightening to coaches - instead of praying for five buckets, three three-pointers and a foul shot could do the trick.

More importantly, coaches had to change their defensive plans, said Ohio women's coach Marsha Reall.

"Coaches who used to pound the ball inside on every play had to re-think their philosophy," she said. "If both teams are hitting two-pointers and threes in equal amounts, it gives an advantage to the one team. It was harder on the coaches who predominantly pounded the ball inside."

Ironically enough, the rule change was designed to open up the middle of the floor. The NCAA was worried about the increasingly physical play in the paint and needed something to clean up the game.

One approach was to make the lane bigger, forcing big players away from the basket. The three-pointer seemed like an innovative way to add excitement to the game while pulling people away from the lane.

"I wasn't really sure what impact the three-pointer would have," said Ohio men's coach Larry Hunter. "In general I'm a pretty conservative coach, especially when it comes to rule changes.

"It certainly has made the game faster, and it's been interesting overall ... Its impact is that it is a difference-maker. You have to guard people farther out."

The three-pointer also draws the crowd into games. Few things enthuse a fan more than watching a player pick up the ball 20 feet from the basket, set sights on the basket and fire away at the target.

"It makes the game more exciting," said Natalie Britt, a guard for Ohio's women's team. "The people in the stands are jumping up and down with their three-pointer signs, and the cheerleaders throw the balls out. It just makes it exciting for everyone."

Britt, who leads her squad with a 15-of-44 mark from three-point range, understands the value of the 3-pointer. During her high school career at Shelby High School, she only made two three-pointers - her team's philosophy was that it could win without the long shots.

Obviously she was a quick learner in college, though. She found the key to the infamous three-point shot.

"The important thing is that you just have to practice it," she said. "You have to use your legs, and you have to follow through with the shot. You also have to have a good arch on the ball. But it's more than just the shot - you'd be surprised what a difference it makes with a person in your face."

It's that last part - the defender - that makes the shot so exciting. He's hit 22 of his 51 three-pointer attempts this year, but they're never simple.

"Life changes dramatically when you have a 6-foot-10-inch defender with a 50-inch vertical guarding you and you put on the defensive pressure," he said. "It's definitely not an easy shot. You don't have much time, and sometimes you have to hope an off-balance shot will fall in."

Both Bobcat squads have taken advantage of the three-pointer. The women have the second-best three-point percentage in the Mid-American Conference, hitting 44-of-130. The men have the best long-range attack in the MAC, hitting 45-of-103.

Ohio also has its place in NCAA lore for the three-pointer. In 1989, Dave Jamerson set a national record by drilling 14 in a single game.

The sad part of the three-pointer's story is that its birthday almost went unnoticed. Perhaps now it's time to celebrate what it's done for the game.

Cake, anyone?

Trinko, a Post sportswriter, only hits threes from the right side of the floor. He usually bricks from the other side.

--- The Post ---


The number three is startlingly prevalent in human life. Parents announce to errant children that they are going to count to three - not two or four, but three. Superstition is rife with threes; such sayings as "third time's a charm", and the belief that bad things always come in threes have long been present in our culture. The Bible describes three aspects of God - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Occult thought, as well, includes many different references to the number three.

Three is not always manifested as a numeral. Numbers are abstract, below only The One on Plato's twice-divided line. Three can be expressed as the Arabic numeral 3, or the Roman III, as a triad of objects, or as a triangle. The triangle is, with its three sides and three corners, perhaps one of the most interesting and powerful manifestations of the number three.

Though many would deny that the Bible is an occult writing, it contains one of the most interesting instances of the number three. God is described as having three different forms: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or Ghost. God, in the Christian tradition, is triple. Most occult philosophies believe in the tenet of "as above, so below;" the idea that the material world is a reflection of the divine.

Note: Some observers consider this view as that which inspired the great pyramid complexes in Egypt and Central America to represent the Orion belt of three stars. In other words, to construct on Earth- a symbolic representation of that which they perceive to be in heaven (or the "heavens.")...H.O.B.

One can learn about God from studying themselves, since it is repeatedly asserted by people interested in the Bible that God created man in His image.

Taking this into account, one can say that man is also triple. This concept is prevalent in Western thought. Plato believed there to be three parts of the human soul: appetites, spirit, and rationality. Each of these were believed to reside in a specific part of the body. Rationality, he believed, resides in the head, appetites in the gut, and spirit, which includes emotion and motivation, in the chest.

Gurdjieff held a similar theory: that human beings have three "brains", or intellectual centers. These, too, were assigned to specific parts of the body (which correspond almost exactly to Plato's). The intellectual center resided in the head; quite sensible, since the brain is in the head. The emotional center was placed, predictably, in the heart. The so-called "moving" center, which controls motivation, sexuality, and appetites, resides in the bowels. Additionally, Gurdjieff believed that there were three types of people, each dominated by one of these three intellectual centers. The ultimate goal, however, was harmonious reconciliation of the three.

The idea of human beings having three parts is not confined to Western culture. Many Eastern cultures believe that people are divided into mind, body, and chi or ki; this is similar, if not equivalent to, the Western concept of mind, body, and soul.

The Holy Trinity or Plato's idea of three parts of the soul could easily be the source of the abundance of threes in Western culture. In fact, the three parts of soul could have influenced the Trinity, since Christianity is, in many ways, heavily Platonic. However, this would not explain the importance of threes in Eastern culture and beliefs, which were not exposed to Western thought until quite recently.

In Western art, threes are stressed; good composition forms a triangle.& Images are considered balanced if they have three major elements to them.

Religions, whether accepted as occult or not, also have a proliferation of threes. The most notable occurrence of the number three in Christianity is the Holy Trinity. While Christians believe in only one God, they also believe n three different aspects of this God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. Though it may seem so at first, these three are in fact not three different Gods, but three parts of the same God.

God the Father is unrestricted, all-powerful. He is universal by nature, and is necessary for all other existence; therefore the existence of the Son and Holy Spirit are dependent upon him. Although he is not dependent on anything else to exist, without God the Son he lacks purpose.

God the Son is Jesus Christ, considered by Christians to be the savior of all mankind. The Son's nature is opposite of the Father's; he is everything that God the Father is not. Though his existence is dependent only on God the Father, his interaction with God the Father and his effect on the world are dependent on the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the connection between God the Father and God the Son. His existence is necessary for all association between the Father and the Son, and he is dependent upon them both for his existence. He is the bridge between the Father and the Son.

The three parts of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are at the same time individual and one. They come together in perfect harmony. Every member of the Trinity is necessary for all other existence. It is the harmonious reconciliation of separate parts sought after by alchemy, as well as many other theories.

Christianity is not the only religion in which threes play a part. The Jewish Star of David is a pair of overlapping triangles, a definite three. Hindu gods come in threes, and many Eastern religions believe in the concept of mind, body, and ki/chi. Buddhism includes the idea that there is a duality neutralized by a third force on a higher plane.

Occult religions have as many, if not more, manifestations of the number three as "mainstream" religions. The Kabalistic Tree of Life includes three pillars and can, additionally, be divided horizontally into three different sections. The Golden Dawn had three founders - a Freemason, a scholar, and a coroner - and includes three people representing god forms in its neophyte initiation ritual. Wiccan beliefs include the rule of three, which states that whatever you do will come back to you threefold.

Gurdjieff introduced the Law of Three, which stated that everything arose from a three-part cause.& He believed that a combination of active, passive, and neutralizing causes were at the root of every event. The first, or active, force can be considered the force that is acting, and the second, passive force is what is being acted upon. The third, neutralizing force is that which allows the two to interact. However, one cannot see all three forces at once. To see the second force one must first see the first, active force, which is what makes the second force appear...

--- Three ---

The following is but one section of several different themes from the same page:

The "Trinity"

...Now let us study the "Trinity" and its roots in ancient pagan worship. The "Trinity" of Christendom, as defined in the creed of Nicea, is a merging of three distinct entities into one single entity, while remaining three distinct entities. We are told to speak of the three gods as one god, and never as three gods which would be considered heresy (Isaiah 43:10). They are considered to be co-eternal, co-substantial, and co-equal. However, only the first was self existent. The others preceded from the first. This Neo-Platonic philosophical doctrine has its roots not in the inspiration of God, but in ancient paganism. Most ancient religions were built upon some sort of threefold distinction. Deities were always trinities of some kind or consisted of successive emanation in threes.

three-headed figure

In India we find the doctrine of the divine trinity called "Tri-murti" (Three-forms) consisting of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. It is an inseparable unity though three in form. Worshipers are told to worship them as one deity. Such concepts posed no problem to the logic of a Hindu worshipper since they were already used to worshipping gods with the body of a man and the head of an elephant (Ganesh), or monkey-faced gods (Hanuman), or gods with six arms, and so forth. Remember, classical Hinduism dates back to at least 500BC, with roots extending as far back as 2000BC.

The Brahmas also have their trinity. In their trinity, Vajrapani, Manjusri, and Avalokitesvara form a divine union of three gods into one god called "Buddha." The citizens of China and Japan also worship Buddha, but they know him as "Fo." When they worship him they say "Fo, is one god but has three forms."

Sir William Jones says:

"Very respectable natives have assured me, that one or two missionaries have been absurd enough to in their zeal for the conversion of the Gentiles, to urge that the Hindoos were even now almost Christians; because their Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa (Siva), were no other than the Christian Trinity."

Bible myths and their parallels in other religions, p. 370.

The ancient Egyptians also worshipped a trinity.& Their symbol of a wing, a globe, and a serpent is supposed to have stood for the different attributes of their god.

The Greeks also had their trinities. When making their sacrifices to their gods, they would sprinkle holy water on the altar three times, they would then sprinkle the people three times also. Frankincense was then taken with three fingers and strewed upon the alter three times. All of this was done because the oracle had proclaimed that all sacred things ought to be in threes. Remember that the philosophy of these people (The Greeks) is what was primarily responsible for defining the Christian "Trinitarian" nature of God. This was done through the writings of the Greek philosopher Plato regarding his "Logos" ("word"). Further, remember that the Gospels of the Bible were named the "Greek Gospels" for a reason: they were written in their language and based upon their philosophy (see chapter one).

As mentioned previously, T. W. Doane says:

"The works of Plato were extensively studied by the Church Fathers, one of whom joyfully recognizes in the great teacher, the schoolmaster who, in the fullness of time, was destined to educate the heathen for Christ, as Moses did the Jews. The celebrated passage: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God" is a fragment of some Pagan treatise on the Platonic philosophy, evidently written by Irenaeus.& It is quoted by Amelius, a Pagan philosopher as strictly applicable to the Logos, or Mercury, the Word, apparently as an honorable testimony borne to the Pagan deity by a barbarian........We see then that the title "Word" or "Logos," being applied to Jesus, is another piece of Pagan amalgamation with Christianity. It did not receive its authorized Christian form until the middle of the second century after Christ. The ancient pagan Romans worshipped a Trinity. An oracle is said to have declared that there was 'First God, then the Word, and with them the Spirit'. Here we see the distinctly enumerated, God, the Logos, and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, in ancient Rome, where the most celebrated temple of this capital - that of Jupiter Capitolinus - was dedicated to three deities, which three deities were honored with joint worship."

Bible Myths and their parallels in other religions, pp. 375-376.

Trinities were not confined to these groups alone, but the Persians, the Assyrians, the Phoenicians, the Scandinavians, the Druids, the inhabitants of Siberia, the ancient Mexicans, the Peruvians, and many others, all worshipped "Trinitarian" pagan deities (among a great multitude of other gods) long before the council of Nicea of 325 C.E. officially recognized this to be God's "true" nature...

--- Ancient paganism and the dangers of compromise ---

God's so-called true "nature," in terms of the present trinitarian discussion, may in fact be just that. A word symbolizing an early instance of nature worship. It is interesting, that many observers do not make the link between the trinity and the Sun's three "moments" called dawn, noon, and dusk, though many of these observers clearly acknowledge the fact that early humans saw gods in many natural occurring events. The information presents us with a type of "syllogistic theorem" reminiscent of that attributed to Pythagoras: A2 + B2 = C2

  1. Major Premise The Sun and its three "moments" [dawn- noon- dusk] is an event known to all cultures.
  2. Minor Premise Many cultures, if in fact not all in some form or another, had some type of trinity involving a superior being [often referred to as a god].
  3. Conclusion The Sun and its three "moments" played a part in the influence of trinitarian concepts.

When we place the instance of a natural event similarly taking place and that there was some form of "trinity" existing in many of these seemingly disparate cultures, they don't surmise that all of the trinitarian ideas may have "emerged" as a result of the Sun's three moments. If widespread trinitarian (three-linked-gods) did not arise due to some external, wide-spread... naturally occurring event such as the Sun's three "moments", then they may have arose due to some internal, wide-spread... naturally occurring event related to a "three" in our physiology (such as three bones in our ear, etc.), genetics (such as DNA's triplet codon system, etc.), or perhaps on the atomic level such as neutrons-protons- electrons. Yet, while in the present context we are discussing a topic assigned to the genre of religion, let us not be so obstinate as to include other, non-typically religion-related patterns-of-three as having a similar influence...H.O.B.

Trinityorigin (10K)

December 31, 2002
The Life & Times of 3

Alumni of my Creative Layout Techniques workshop will always remember the "Rule of Threes." I spend some time describing and demonstrating why the 'Rule of Threes' naturally makes a photograph or layout more appealing, and more effective. But this is by no means a new idea. The rule of 'Threes' has held special significance throughout all time.

Classics built on 3

Examples of the use of triangles, or 'threes' abound in ancient art, and the art of the Masters. Viewing such sculptures as "The Laocoon Group" from 1st century Italy, or Giovanni Bologna's "Abduction of the Sabine Woman" (1583) illustrate that the triangle makes for a more exciting composition. Michelangelo fashioned his famous Peita based on three distinct triangles. If you squint at the sculpture they become apparent. In the 1871 painting of his mother, artist James Whistler utilized a very obvious triangle to bring the viewer's eye always back to her face.

The Laocoon Group
The Laocoon Group
Abduction of Sabine Woman
Abduction of The Sabine Woman

Today, graphic designers know that building a layout around three major visual elements makes the layout more dynamic and more interesting to look at. "Two" is balanced and leads to no place (is boring), and four is static and rests too easily. The triangle is more exciting, less balanced, less static.

Civilization built on 3

Architects and structural engineers build the strongest and most durable buildings based on threes, or triangles, better known as trusses. Why? The are far stronger than the square or circle. Buckminster Fuller used the rule of three to develop his geodesic principle, providing a building method which utilizes the least number of individual elements, to enclose the most possible cubic feet of volume into the strongest possible structure -- building with triangles rather than right-angles. NASA uses the truss and geodesic rules to build the lightest weight, highest strength space components.

Society built on 3

Through the ages, 'threes' have suggested that some condition or some situation is special. For some reason, the number 3 has worked its way into virtually all areas of society, sometimes with an obvious meaning -- and sometimes not so obvious.

  • Why do we have three lights in a stoplight?
  • Why three strikes in baseball? (Why not two, or four?)
  • Who decided there would be Three Musketeers or Three Horsemen of Apocalypse?
  • Why does the Genie grant us three wishes?
  • Why did the founders of both our highway system and the international signing system decide on three-sided signs to indicate danger or caution?
  • Of thirty species of snakes in Virginia, why are only three poisonous?

As children we sang about Three Blind Mice, and later watched the Three Stooges, My Three Sons and "Three's Company". The American Flag has three colors, the Boy Scout salute holds up three fingers, pledging the three most important traits: physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

We have three meals a day, and are invited to drink Dr. Pepper at three different times of the day. In the frigid north countries a particularly cold night was called a "Three Dog Night" because you would need to sleep with three of your dogs to keep warm.

Most computer users know there are three colors on their screens: Red, Green and Blue. Graphic designers think about the three primary colors of light: Cyan, yellow, and magenta. Expectant mothers think about trimesters, poets think about triolets, and authors about trilogies.

Faith built on 3


Since the earliest dawn of humanity, the concept of "three" has played a significant role in the religious and spiritual beliefs of people. Early civilizations deified the three elements Earth, Wind and Fire as gods. Throughout the generations, native Americans held sacred the three properties of the Great Mother (Earth): earth, water and air. In Greek mythology, Poseidon, God of water and the seas (later known as "Nautilus") wielded a three-pronged pitchfork (called a "Trident") also seen in many depictions of Satan.

The early Christians based their belief on the "Trinity" -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and promised a selection of three possible final resting places. All through the history of Christianity, the theme of three was used to illustrate important points like: the three signs used to convince the Pharaoh that Moses wasn't kidding; Three denials by a friend which gave way to three wounds, three crosses, and ultimately, the rising on the third day.

We also remember the everlasting story of three wise men who traveled afar to deliver three precious gifts to one of three very special people spending the night in a stable.

Tomorrow built on 3

Enter year two thousand and three

Will the fact that it is the "third" year of the second millennium mark some unique occurrence or change? Will the third year of the third millennium have even greater significance? I haven't heard any predictions, have you?

My opinion is that the time we have is what we make of it. It will be a banner year -- if, and only if we make it one. Everyone always has an infinite number of possibilities and opportunities; it's what you make of them that determines the present and the future.

So try this experiment: do something good for someone else on the third day of every week. Then, do something extra special for others on the third day of the third week of every month. In December of 2003 we'll meet back on this subject and see if we all agree it was, indeed, a better year because of our own actions.

Go forth, be creative, and make sure that 2003 is a wonderful year.

Fred Showker

Postscript: What famous "Threes" come to mind for you? Are there significant "threes" you know of that are not included above? Sure there are. We'd love to hear and share your views on the number '3' and the concept of "Threes." --- Send them in --- ( and we'll keep a running list.

After writing this article, I decided to Google the concept of "Threes" and arrived at Michael Eck's wonderful web site " --- The Book of Threes --- (" Michael has been thinking about threes for nearly 15 years, and he presents that esoteric interest in his web site with an invitation for you to participate.

But Michael isn't the only one -- try the --- --- ( list of threes -- and, if you're into --- Tarot ---,
you may enjoy the story of "Threes" and the Daughters of the Moon.

The Boy Scouts of America can be found at: --- ---

--- Sixty Second Window: The Life and Times of 3 ---

Note: Some readers will notice that the above author gives the examples of 3 Musketeers and 3 horses of the Apocalypse, and they may be aware of four-part representations. I too have previously come across the expressions of 3 Musketeers and 3 horses of the Apocalypse and have wondered if these are examples of:

  1. A cognitive persistence to see the "three."
  2. An urban legend type of metamorphosis.
  3. A form of linguistic/cognitive disintegration taking place over time in particular contexts.

In other words, why do earlier forms of 4- recognized parts to a circumstance begin to exhibit a 3-part reference in some contexts? ...H.O.B.

Latest Updated Posting: Saturday, 17-June-2007... 3:57 PM
Your Questions, Comments or Additional Information are welcomed:
Herb O. Buckland