Mozart's The Magic Flute

(Die Zauberflöte)

Law of Three per "Fourth Way" Teaching

The number three plays a major role in Freemasonry.  Indeed there is an old Masonic rhyme that says:

If a Master Mason you would be,

Observe you well the Rule of Three!

Actually, the "Rule of Three" is of major significance in many other area of esoteric and philosophical endeavor besides Masonry. It is particularly important in the teachings of the Fourth Way Mystic, G. I. Gurdjieff, where it is known as the "Law of Three."

The "Law of Three" is a fundamental law of flux that may be traced at least as far back in time for at least 2,500 years.  This law is synonymous with the alchemical concept of the Tria Principia. The law also bears marked similarities to the dialectic proposed by the Greek Pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus (6th century B.C.), the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), the social theorist Karl Marx (1818-1883), and the psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).  Each dialectical theory involves three interactive functions or forces that determine how change or flux occurs in the phenomenal world. P. D. Ouspensky describes Gurdjieff's teaching re the Law of Three in Chapter 4 of his book entitled In Search of the Miraculous.

The following table summarizes these basic ideas:

Name Affirmation Negation Union of Opposites

Tria Principia of Alchemy

Sulphur - Spirit of Life Salt - Base Matter Mercury - Connects High and Low
Gurdjieff & Ouspensky (Law of Three) Holy Affirming Force Holy Denying Force Holy Reconciling Force
Heraclitus (Conflict between Opposites) Entity Opposing Entity Unity (Reconciliation of Opposites)
Hegel (Struggle between Opposites) Thesis Antithesis Synthesis
Marx (Struggle between Social Classes) Proletariat (Working Class) Capitalist Class Communist Society
Freud (Struggle within the Human Mind) Superego (Conscience) Id (Unconscious Self) Ego (Conscious Self)


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