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Three at Last!


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What do Dale Earnhardt, Britney Spears and Alexandre Dumas have in common? The number "three" would nail it: stock car number, hit song and musketeers. Good luck, we're told, comes in threes. As does bad luck, along with Wise Men, Cups of Tea and Little Pigs. What is it about Earthlings (inhabiting the third planet from the sun) that attracts us to the number three? We seem to have a fixation with ...

Three: witches (Macbeth); Sisters (Chekhov); Mice (Blind); Rings of Power (Tolkien); Abrahamic religions; Coins in the Fountain; Mile Island (Penn.); pi and e (to first approximation); in One (Christian Trinity); Jewels of Buddhism (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha); Pillars of Zen; Islamic pilgrimage destinations (Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem); Centers (intellectual-physical-emotional per Gurdjieff); central Hindu gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva); Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob); realms of afterlife (heaven, hell, purgatory); Fates, Graces, Gorgons and Furies (ancient Greece); Stooges; Dog Night; wishes; sheets to the wind; ring circus; Rivers (MO); ’s a crowd; spatial dimensions in our universe; atomic components (proton, neutron, electron); buttocks (à la Monty Python); genetic codon units (in DNA and RNA); Laws of Motion (Newton); realms of matter (animal, vegetable, mineral); time division (past, present, future); primary colors; Little Words; Men in a Boat; Sons (My); strikes (and you're out).

Moving right along (the threeway), the evolution of our modern "3" symbol can be easily traced from three lines of the ancient Brahmin Indians (leftmost glyph) through the 4th century Gupta Indians (second glyph) to the Indian Nagari notation (8th century on, third glyph), who rotated the lines clockwise, adding a slight downward stroke until the strokes connected with the lines below-fourth and fifth glyphs. Ghubar Arabs eliminated the extra stroke (last glyph) when they brought their notation to Spain in the 11th century.

If three is powerful, three cubed, 27, must be super-powerful. And indeed, 1/27 = .037... repeated to infinity, while 1/37 = .027... repeated to infinity. For good measure, 27 x 37 = 999 = 3 x 333!

Threedom: It's our birthright.

Barry Evans ( is still looking for his third eye. The book of his first 80 Field Notes is available from Eureka Books or from the author.


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