May 12, 1996

When we encounter things that have no order, we create order out of nothing. It is our nature to do so. It helps us understand and remember. You look at the stars and there is no real order in how they are arrayed. Nevertheless, we create stellar beasts and heroes and populate the firmament with our imaginings. You look up and see the Big Dipper, or King Charles' Wain, or the Great Bear, and this artifice provides you with a handle on what would otherwise be unmanageable chaos. Humans can instinctively recognize quantities from one to three. One is one and all alone. Two is eyes, and three is a face. For larger quantities, we have either to count, or ignore counting and create patterns. You remember things by their patterns: the stars in the sky, the tic-tac-toe of a telephone number, the face of a loved one.

If something has happened once, that is not enough for a pattern. Twice, and you can draw a straight line; three times and a pattern has been established. From this you may extrapolate coming events. Trouble always comes in threes. Two's company, three's a crowd. Three's a charm.

The Big Dipper, King Charles' Wain and the Great Bear are different names for the same familiar northern constellation.

"One is one and all alone," is a line from a popular 19th century song, "Green Grow the Rushes, O!"

May 12, 1996 is the day I married Sophie.


Left graphic Small button graphic  


  Small button graphic Right Graphic
Previous Article This Article    Next Article

Return to  C - D Index