13 Jun The power of three
Sometimes when writing, a metaphorical neon highlight is needed to emphasise an idea or get across a point without resorting to overstatement. That’s where three comes in. Using words or phrases in groups of three offers a rhythm that no other phrasing can quite replicate.
Long been a writing principle, the law of threes gives gravitas to a comment and provides poetry where the mundane could so easily dominate. Who doesn’t remember the basics, “Stop, look and listen” when learning to cross the road or one of the most successful health campaigns in Australia – “Slip, slop, slap”. But the rule of threes extends way beyond words and infiltrates every facet of our lives.
We live on a planet that is third from the sun, in three states of time – the past, present and future, surrounded by three states of matter – solid, liquid and gas. Three is the designer’s friend whether in composition or the mix of primary colours, red, yellow and blue. Gardening etiquette dictates that plants are arranged in groups of three, while film production uses the rule of thirds. Of course, good things come in threes, while third time lucky is often articulated, when life isn’t going so well.
In numerology terms, three is considered creative, ambitious, enthusiastic and strong. It’s not lonely like one nor has the formality of two, although, if it were human, it would be considered tricky. If you’re on a winning streak, then you might win gold, silver or bronze – there’s no fourth place and who doesn’t want the stability of a tripod or like the symmetry of a triangle? Put two triangles together and make a diamond – a girl’s best friend!
We live in a wonderful 3D world that offers us all, a what, where and when to our beginning, middle and end.