I searched the internet diligently [well, at least a lot], and THE general Rule of Three was not to be found. Nope, not there… at least not by that name. Oh, there are plenty of Rules of Three, but they refer directly to a specific topic, none of which claim that things are better when they come in threes.
There is a Latin phrase "omne trium perfectum" which translates to “everything that comes in threes is perfect” or to “every set of three is complete.” As best I can tell, the original quote was used in reference to the art of oratory, but no doubt it is the source of The Rule of Three.
Rats! The automobile advertisement is vindicated.
The number three, however, has a long history of popularity all over the world. The origins of this esteem are unknown with any certainty, but the number seems to pop up in every culture and in nature.
Three symbolizes the Holy trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In addition, the three attributes of God are omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. Biblically, the number three represents divine wholeness, completeness and perfection. The number seven also holds some lesser importance in Christianity.
Three symbolizes The Triple Gem or The Three Jewels: Buddah, the Enlightened One; Dhamma, the Teachings, and Sangha, the Community of Followers
Three symbolizes creation, destruction, and preservation
The number three was the symbol of holiness. The Holy of Holies occupied one-third, and the Holy Place two-thirds, of the entire Temple. The tapestries were ten times three ells in length, and there were three vessels each for the altar of burnt offering, the altar of incense, and the Ark. The candlestick had twice three arms (besides the shaft, which also held a lamp), and each arm had three knobs. The blessing of the priest consisted of three sections, and in the invocation of God, the word “holy” was repeated thrice.
Also, three signifies male, female, and uniting intelligence.
Three is the Great Triad: Heaven, Human, and Earth.
The significant number in the Muslim religion is seven, not three.
The Chinese believe three is the perfect number.
The Mayan culture believed three was the sacred number of women.
Egyptians revered three as the number of the cosmos.
In Japan three stands for three treasures: truth, courage, and compassion.
The Rule of Three has also been used to encapsulate some of history’s most powerful ideas. For example:
▪ “Veni, vidi, vici.” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) ~ Julius Caesar.
▪ “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.“ (“Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.”) ~ The national motto of France.
▪ “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” (Swifter, higher, stronger”) ~ The Olympic motto
▪ “Location, location, location.”~ Harold Samuel.
▪ “Education, education, education.” ~ Tony Blair.
▪ Body, mind, and spirit
▪ Faith, hope, and charity
▪ Thought, word, and deed
▪ Animal, vegetable, and mineral
▪ The three primary colors combine to make all other colors.
RULES OF THREE
These are not all the rules of three that pertain to specific topics, but you’ll get the idea.
The rule of three is writing principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.
Choose three main points, no matter how long your presenting slot is. If you’re there to talk about a weighty subject, break each of your key three issues into three sub-parts. Your audience will be able to follow so much more easily.
Each of the following assumes that the one(s) before it are met:
▪ You can survive three minutes without breathable air (unconsciousness occurs), or in icy water.
▪ You can survive three hours in a harsh environment (extreme heat or cold).
▪ You can survive three days without drinkable water.
▪ You can survive three weeks without food.
Here it is not so much three rules as rules which revolve around the number three so they are easy to remember (but are only generally accurate scientifically).
Sometimes called trebling, the Rule of Three is a pattern used in stories and jokes, where part of the story is told three times, with minor variations. The first two instances build tension, and the third releases it by incorporating a twist.
Newton’s three rules of motion.
▪Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it.
▪Force equals mass times acceleration [ f (t) = m a (t)]
▪For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The rule of three in business and economics is a rule of thumb suggesting that there are always three major competitors in any free market within any one industry.
Musical triads are the three-note building blocks of musical harmony.
The Aviation rule of three: "3:1 rule of descent" is that 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of travel should be allowed for every 1,000 feet (300 m) of descent.
”The rule of thirds simply states that if you take a canvas and divide it into three equally sized horizontal sections and three equally sized vertical sections, the resulting grid provides a sort of roadmap that helps you choose where to place your design elements.” companyfolders.com/blog/rule-of-thirds
internal, relational and external. This could also encompass the three-act structure of beginning, middle, and end.
The Rule of Three is a Mathematical Rule that allows you to solve problems based on proportions. By having three numbers: a, b, c, such that, ( a / b = c / x), (i.e., a: b :: c: x ) you can calculate the unknown number. bookofthrees.com/rule-of-three-mathematics
Humans brains can only hold a few pieces of information in short-term (active) memory. Harvard Professor George Miller, author of “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two” claimed that humans have a hard time retaining more than seven to nine digits in short-term memory. More contemporary science has lowered that number to three or four pieces of information the working memory can pay attention to and manipulate.
Three is fewer than four. Since all living species tend to follow the path of least resistance, conserving energy whenever possible, the brain remembers three more easily than four. I guess our brains are either very lazy or very smart or both. Regardless, it pays attention to patterns of three. Four, not so much.
Memory favors the path of lease resistance. Stick with three.