To see how the three and four might be transcended we begin by looking at Erwin Schrodinger’s observations of cell division.
In his work, What is Life?, Schrodinger is not concerned with investigating the ancient dilemma of three and four, but he describes cell divisions, and in his descriptions one sees that the “triadic” family structure, mother-father-child, is involved with a “tetradic” pattern – as Schrodinger discusses the hereditary “code-script” that rests in the chromosomes, he says:
…this whole four-dimensional pattern is known to be determined by the structure of that one cell, the fertilized egg.
He points out that physical laws “rest on atomic statistics” and their “precision is based on the large number of atoms intervening,” whereas the living organism is under the control of “incredibly small groups of atoms, much too small to display exact statistical laws,” but they play a dominant role, control observable large-scale features, determine important characteristics of its functioning, and “in all this very sharp and very strict biological laws are displayed.” These laws insure that each one is always an event in himself, unto himself.
Here we can see that the three and the four both exist within the one and work together towards becoming one.
Old folk-wisdom has also acknowledged the predicament of the three and the four…
The strangest thing about the dilemma of three and four is that some time ago those on the side of three, embracing Euclidian geometry which says that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, were contradicted in the nursery:
Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
This bit of wisdom is restated by Kluckhohn, the anthropologist, “A whole is different from the sum of its parts,” and it is restated by Koestler, “A whole is defined by the pattern of relations between its parts, not by the sum of its parts…”
It is also worth noting that the rhyme has also been interpreted as representing the second law of thermodynamics in that after his fall and shattering, the inability of the most powerful men in the world to reassemble Humpty is representative of the high unlikeliness to return him to his previous state of lower entropy as the entropy of an isolated system never decreases.
And in the nursery, those on the side of four, insisting upon the qualitative aspects of the whole, were reminded that time changes the aspects:
Hickory, dickory, dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one, the mouse ran down.
Hickory, dickory, dock.
In these rhymes both the devotees of three and the devotees of four were given the clue: the whole must be described in terms of one, whole, and one must be seen as a working principle through which as time changes the arrangement of material forces within and without, one remains, itself a unity and the measure of unity.
This is to say, the answer to the dilemma of three and four rests in the answer to the mystery of one. This answer must be given in a mathematical statement that describes the composition and inner operation of one, itself. Jesus stated the Equation of One which must be seen against the briefly sketched background of the dilemma of three and four in order to appreciate the magnitude of His thought, for He transcends the dilemma, giving as the measure of one or wholeness, the number five.
We will begin to look at “Jesus the mathematician” in our next post. Until then, peace.