Why Does A Triad Pattern Dominate Logic?

by Dr. Carl Weisbrod

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by Dr. Carl Weisbrod

From the "Book Of Esoteric Whys"

I first noticed a pattern of threes emerging in 1971 as I put together my treatise on the mechanics of problem-solving. In the process, I made a list of the possible ways of dealing with some garden variety problems such as smoking, weight control, self-image, etc. I ended up with

Dr. Carl Weisbrod

a lengthy list. I then started combining and refining until, at three items, I could go no further. In this case, the list refined down to: (1) solve the problem;  (2) have a reason for the problem to exist; and (3) learn to live with the problem. As a therapist, I needed to identify the defense mechanism(s) (#2), and then convince the patient that (#1) was within the realm of possibility, and only then would (#3) start to emerge.

When I made other human behavior lists, it seemed like magic that the number three always popped up. I then noticed the number three appeared in the structure of religion, music, and even such fields as salesmanship. I did a paper on the psychology of the comedian's monolog (see excerpt below) and discovered, within the timing of their punch lines, there once again, was the ol' number three.

I started working backwards to discover why it was a three, but never a two or four...or, for that matter, why any particular number is compatible with human behavior.

To understand "why threes?" ...some basic information about brain structure might be useful.
The Eyes Have It
Excerpt: Chapter Eight of Charisma And Power

I recall in a high school biology class seeing a drawing in a textbook suggesting the development of worms into higher life forms. The early guys didn't even have much of a central nervous system but, as millennia passed, there was a concentration of nerve cells at one end that qualified as the primitive precursor of a brain.

As these wiggly rascals progressed toward becoming fish and lizards, the front of this bulge got some light sensitive cells that allowed them to choose surface or floor of their watery  home, and these cells became more and more predominate until they bulged out of the front end as precursors to eyeballs. Layers of brain tissue were added to serve the needs of worms, fish, and reptiles until, as a final step, there was the cerebral cortex that could support the needs of the primate group.

In the human brain, the tissue that downloads the information from the eyes is at the back of the brain (occipital lobes), rather than the original worm-like design. This demonstrates that more advanced eyes started from the first light-sensing cells, and then layer after layer was sandwiched between the light-sensitive and the sight processing cells.

In this manner, our eyes have become separate from the brain, yet retain a primitive affinity for their mother tissue. When a sudden thought focuses neuro-electrical/chemical energy to one part of the frontal lobes, the eyes tend to flick toward this spurt of mental activity.

When you have some knowledge of what goes on in what part of the brain, it all fits together. For example, if the imagination is called upon, the eyes may flick up and to the right. With about 90% of the population, this hemisphere is the physical location of the imagination. In left-handed people (and others) the hemispheres can be reversed.

When the eye-flick is more toward the forehead, psycho-visual images (imagination) can be suspected. It's as if the eyes are attempting to look back into the occipital lobes. Auditory is more along the horizontal mid-line, from ear to ear. The limbic system, which is an emotional switching system, will pull the eyes below midline. I'm sure you've observed someone quickly dropping their gaze when they experience sadness or embarrassment.

If you were to ask someone with the usual left-right construction to do some mathematics, his or her eyes will flick up and to the left.

When there is difficulty finding information, the eyes will flick left and right as the brain searches both hemispheres looking for some suitable information. You've heard the term "shifty-eyed." People who are telling a practiced lie have characteristic eye patterns, and another when the lie is made up on the spot.

Politicians train themselves to hold their eyes in a neutral position so people like me can't blow their cover... but, sorry guys, I can still tell when the things they are saying are constructed rather than an actual part of their belief system. I have noticed, however, that the longer they remain in the political spotlight, the harder they are to read. This probably happens as they begin to believe their own lies.

I started watching eye movements with my first hypnotism experiences and never stopped. Even with the eyes closed, eye position is observable by watching corneal bulge movements. Over many years, I had the opportunity to watch thousands of eye movements in a way that would be difficult under normal circumstances.

Some seasoned therapists with similar experiences developed a technique called Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR). I haven't studied it, but I'm sure it's a very interesting technique.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) co-opted the standard eye positing information and added it into their methodology.

Personally, I see eye positioning more as clues to insight rather than a therapy in itself.

But why threes?

The Triad System

This concept follows the principle that we comprehend best when information is presented in threes, or a triad. This isn't some kind of numerological mumbo-jumbo--the brain is construction in such a way that this happens.

To give you a basic example:

(1) if you were going to an art store to purchase a painting for your living room wall, you would first use (usually) the right hemisphere of your brain--the imagination--to spot something that grabs your sense of aesthetics.

(2) This information is then funneled the the opposite hemisphere using a bundle of neurons called the corpus collosum. This allows the esthetic information to blend with prices and other mechanical particulars.

(3) You would then use the right side again to visualize how several choices would look on your living room wall, usually instinctively choosing three paintings for your comparison.

(4) And finally both brain hemispheres would get into the act as you made a choice by “comparing notes” between the two thought processes.

So you will have the information from one brain hemisphere, and information from the opposite hemisphere to interact forming a third perception. Decisions will typically be made either through domination by one hemisphere or the other, or by an equal combination of both.

Many of us have a tendency to favor either right, left or both when making decisions--and this is something that can be measured. In my practice I used a number of tests, the most comprehensive was called Brain Hemispherisity Evaluation.

This process is instinctively used by us all... probably hard-wired in our brain at birth. Fine-turning it, however, can bring about a impressive increase in perceptual ability.

Of course, there is much more to this process than I've described, but now you at least have a few of the basics.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  Excerpt from ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

- The Weisbrod Digest of Seminars -
Problem-Solving by Formula
Carl Weisbrod, Ph.D.
Vol 1, Issue No. 7 ~ ~ ~ August 2001

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The Triad, in this case, refers to the three functions of thought:
(1) The Left Brain (logical/language)
(2) The Right Brain (imagination); and...
(3) the Corpus Callosum (connection) that
blends the two types of thought together.


You've probably heard or read some of my allegories, which all have a triad process
embedded in the story.

Here's a non-allegorical example the illustrates the function of a Triad, in simple terms.

One of the things you will learn as you progress through this program is some neurology--you'll be surprised how easy it is to understand neurology.

Look at it like this, can you see how much easier it might be to understand the workings of the brain rather than the metabolic processes of the liver?

One of the products of the brain is thought, and it's certainly easier to understand how the brain organizes and classifies, as opposed to how and why the liver converts glucose to glycogen. Let me give you a sample of a mental process that you will understand as your get into the upcoming eBooks and audio cassettes.

Years ago, I did a graduate paper on the rhythm of the standup comedian's monologue. I'll bet you thought these guys just got up in front of an audience and told jokes.

Maybe you've heard some comedians have extraordinary timing. Did you think that meant they tell jokes at just the right speed, or waited just the right time to start the next joke?  

Nope ... there's a lot more to it than that. Let me give you an example. One of the most practiced standup comedian in the world was Johnny Carson.

Here is an example of how he structured his act. Carson would purposely start out with a bland and weak joke, but the audience would offer an obligatory laugh (after all, the tickets were free).

Then he would quickly tell another, a better one, and wait for the laughter to fade through about half of its cycle, he would then tell the best of the three. As the audience roared its approval, he would put called the “spin.” It could be a word or two,


an expression--anything to extend the laughter.

He would then wait for the laughter to die out completely before starting that three-cycle again.

If the audience was slow to quiet down, he might say something like, “but seriously folks.” He needed a clean slate, so to speak, before he could start again. Carson might run this cycle three times, and then completely break up the pattern by chatting with his band leader or producer…

And then once more go back to the three pattern.

Being on a roll refers to the comics favorite experience of keeping the laughter rolling without relying on the cycle of threes. It essentially meant the audience had a collective case of the giggles, and would laugh at virtually anything--a somewhat rare and treasured occurrence. The dichotomy was called the “bomb.”

One test for a roll, by the way, is when the TV audience at home would be laughing as well as the studio audience Here's the shocker: It isn't the jokes that get the audience laughing!

If you had the opportunity to read a transcript of a monologue you could see that for yourself. The humor is primarily caused by the rhythm of the presentation.

To test part of my hypothesis, I transcribed some of Johnny Carson's monologues leaving out punch-line hints and asked some of the graduate students to mark the places they thought would be the laughter, and also guess the intensity of the laughter on a one-to-ten scale.

Statistically, their guesses were not much better than chance.

Competing with the standup comic, can you guess who else applies this three principle? Who do you think would need to control audience reaction by these principles? Can't you guess?

Politicians! …It's the politician! Just like the standup comic must get the audience to laugh at jokes that really aren't very funny, the politician must get the audience to applaud for promises that are either too expensive to be realistic, or have failed time after time with previous bureaucratic attempts.
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