Over the past few weeks we’ve had a lot of time to think about how special a number 3 is. Now granted our opinions on this matter are a little loaded…but triplets are not the only special thing that comes in threes. Here are some more reasons why three is a magic number.
The rule of three is a principle in English writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things.
In the history of transmission of mathematical ideas, the Rule of Three forms an interesting case. It was known in China as early as the first century AD. Indian texts dwell on it from the fifth century onwards. It was introduced into the Islamic world in about the eighth century. Renaissance Europe hailed it as the Golden Rule. The importance of the rule lies not so much in the subtlety of its theory as in the simple process of solving problems. This process consists of writing down the three given terms in a linear sequence (A -> B -> C) and then, proceeding in the reverse direction, multiplying the last term with the middle form and dividing their product by the first term (C x B : A). With this rule one can easily solve several types of problems even without a knowledge of the general theory of proportion. The writers in Sanskrit, however, were well aware of the theory.
From Caren & Christian our architecture friends:
We were taught in architecture school that everything should always come in threes!
And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I suggest everyone takes a look at the Flickr photo group called “Things in Threes”. Here are a few random photos from the group: