Why does the number three have such power in cultures across the world?
Dr. Freud believed there was great sexual and mythical power in three. In his essay, The Theme of the Three Caskets, Freud argues we always wish for a choice between three things, not two. Three provides hope against death.
With three choices, one can tempt gold, silver and lead instead of just a simple even picking between life/gold and death/lead.
Freud also believed three was the symbol of male sexual power: Two testis and one penis. The penis is also made of three erectile columns.
Others argue the Arabic inspiration for the number three is a penis and two testis:
Here are some other cultural totems linked to Three:
- The Holy Trinity.
- Three galaxies.
- Earth is the third planet.
- We see the world in three dimensions.
- Elemental colors are red, green and blue.
- The Third Reich.
- Macbeth’s Three Witches.
- Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva.
- Heaven, Earth, Hell.
- Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmatic.
- Three time’s the charm.
- Red, white and blue.
- Three Kings.
- Three Blind Mice.
- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- He arose on the Third Day.
- Three Notes in a Chord.
I find three choices more comforting than two or four. Is the oddness of three what we find tempting in the power of three? Why do you think three is such a powerful idea in our universal human culture?
Where did The Power of Three come from and where is it taking us? What examples of Three can you add to the list?
Do you believe in the Power of Three — or is three just a mythical, human, invention with no supernatural bearing on our lives?