Triadic Philosophy has a potential effect on language that is seismic. Most often we use words as single entities. Love, justice, freedom. Put terms together and their meanings are clarified.

I have been discussing Tolerance mainly as a single term. But when I muse about tolerance it is always with its companions in my mind, tolerance plus helpfulness plus democracy. What I have generally failed to do is suggest the importance of doing that. Triadic Thinking is an invitation to present ideas in triads.


A triad is three things. Three Sides. Three steps.

Three terms. Dostoevsky famously characterized religion as mystery, miracle, and authority. Paul's famous triad was faith, hope, and love. To me, reality, ethics, and aesthetics amount to an entire philosophy.

What if the world decided that it would function in a triadic manner? It means that instead of dividing things into twos, it would see that there are more than two sides to everything. The philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce believed that reality itself could be understood in terms of threes.

Christianity, of course, is triadic.

Interestingly, the three elements of the Christian triad are an approach to the human in the same way that Peirce's philosophy is. Both go from a sort of mysterious reality through an earthly teacher-teaching to a lodging within all who are touched by this progression. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Reality, ethics, and aesthetics are a universal description of a similar progression.


Considered alone tolerance can be seen as a spur or a barrier to progress. But considered together with helpfulness and democracy, it is part of a three-pronged movement toward progress. It is a driver of history.

I do not anticipate that tolerance will ever be free of meaning, to some people, the acceptance of things that are hurtful and harmful.

But within Triadic Philosophy it means a force that is capable of correcting evils. It means an insistence on respect for all persons, regardless of who they are. It differentiates between the crime and the criminal. It always sees a second chance as possible.

I call this triadic tolerance. It is tolerance that understands what is inherently good and what is not.

We can all locate ourselves on this chart and see that we are a spectrum -- moving always up and down in thought and deed. Tolerance is a personal quality and should be applied to ourselves. It is a gateway to forgiveness.