Klara (mummimamma) wrote,
Klara
mummimamma

Three 3 (but no trees)

Yesterday I was working on abstract for a conference, trying to come up with reasons for why my abstract is the most interesting, important and exciting thing ever. I had two points, and was spending an exorbitant amount of time in trying to come up with a third reason. Why? Because all good things come in three - as you know.

I have contemplated my tendency to like make things into threes when I write and/or present stuff, and have considered it a inheritance from my many years of exposure to Latin, Latin writers and Latin rhetorics which also have this tendency to use tricolon - three-things. But it is not only from Latin, the number three pervades culture. The number three is common in a lot of religous things; the Trinity comes first to mind, also the Devil tempted Jesus three times, Jesus rose on the third day, Peter denied Jesus three times etc. I guess there must be some threes in Judaism, I know it is frequent in Norse mythology (along with 7 and 9) but I'm not that familiar with it, how is it in the other main religions?

Also three is a recurring number in folk tales here; a family had three sons, the hero gets three tasks, three billy-goats (little pigs, bears) etc. And thus in literature.

Not only do I have this tendency to want to write three examples (points, illustrations), but I do it totally unconsciously. Once I found myself retelling a case study where they had done a task four times. Except that in my retelling I subconsciously conflated the two last times into one, because three is better; right?*

But why? Is it just because it is more than two, but is still easy to keep track of? I tried to google myself to some answers, but had to wade through too much esoteric, alternative, nonsensical mumbo-jumbo to get a proper answer. There might be some mathemagical explanations; after all the other numbers which have a religious, folkloric, magical meaning are numbers like 7 (prime) and 9 (3x3).

So three is good, but sometimes there are just two. Or even four. And I have to learn to live with it.


*And people always stop looking after three. As you know. If you're Sherlock.

Crossposted to http://mummimamma.dreamwidth.org/292258.html where it has comment count unavailable comments. You can comment here or there.
Tags: everyday fluff:2017
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