Enneagram: Week 2
Type FIVE: The Need to Know
Monday, May 2, 2016
The primal experience of the FIVE was of the absolute power and genius of God in controlling all the parts in one working universe. The FIVE’s real power is in the now. Once separated from that, they experience a sort of emptiness, which the ego tries to fill with knowledge. Today I’d like you to hear from Russ Hudson, with whom I have taught several times. Hudson is “a person with a FIVE personality” as he phrases it, emphasizing “We are more than our personalities. We are a mystery that has taken a particular form and flavor that is our type.” Hudson describes the FIVE:
The essential core of the FIVE is the soul’s capacity to be illuminated and to illuminate, to make things clear. When you’re clear, the world becomes more transparent. You notice the littlest things. You’re more awake to everything. That illumination is exactly the same as what we call recognition. Whenever you have an “Ah ha” it’s not thinking, exactly; it’s a recognition of truth. It fills your whole body. We all experience that; if you’re a FIVE, you live for that. It’s your specialty. The other side is what I call black light, or God’s bug-zapper. If you’re present, there’s not only the illumination of the truth, but there’s the clearing away of the nonsense, the delusions, and our false beliefs and ideas.
What happens in FIVEs with the loss of their primal connection [with God] is the loss of the ability to discern reality from illusion, and it’s terrifying. What’s safe and what’s dangerous? The question for all the head types [FIVE, SIX, SEVEN] is “What can I trust?” The FIVE turns to a reliance on the mind, but the mind on this level is disconnected from the Knowing, so it can’t produce that illumination. No matter how much I learn, memorize, and cogitate, I don’t feel like I know.
The passion [or root sin] here is avarice. FIVEs are avaricious for information and also for personal privacy and private space. Psychologists would define the old-fashioned word “avarice” as the schizoid state, where we just give up, retreat, and disconnect from our feelings and kinesthetic awareness. But the FIVE is not dissociative. The FIVE is not not paying attention. I’m paying a lot of attention, but only with my mind. Everything else I switched off. The core of avarice is the contracted heart, a hoarding of the self.
Like all the types, what FIVEs need to do is what scares us the most. We’ve got to come out and make contact. What’s the payoff? When you touch the living moment, the living moment reveals its nature, and this knowingness that I love is restored to its proper place.
As a FIVE takes that risk, comes out of hiding and starts to make contact, [that contact] begins to restore the real knowing, giving birth to the virtue of the FIVE, which I call non-attachment. (It’s actually not “detachment,” which means cutting off, the schizoid state we experience in the middle of our compulsion.) Non-attachment happens when you are in touch with the eternity of consciousness, of the divine Presence, when it’s here illuminating things for you and you become profoundly aware of how fleeting everything is.
That non-attachment actually becomes a liberation of the heart. You’re not clinging to anything nor avoiding anything; you’re holding the world just as it is and in love with it. That’s non-attachment. It’s a clean-heartedness. 
Thus healthy FIVES are often great counselors, advisors, and even able to be calmly critical of themselves. They can often be objective when the rest of us can’t.
Gateway to Silence:
Open me to love.
Adapted from Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2001), 115.
Is the Enneagram new to you? Are you wondering, what is the Enneagram? How can the Enneagram help me? Which number on the Enneagram am I? Does the Enneagram work? This is just one post in a two-week series about the Enneagram. Click here for an introduction to the Enneagram and links to additional reflections and resources on the topic.