The Hoarding Fives

A World of Scarcity

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that as a system endures through time, it gradually dissipates energy and loses it. So everything runs down, even the universe. The Sun is burning out. This long-standing staple of Newtonian physics is being radically challenged, but like the Flat Earth theory, it makes common sense. Fives choose this law as a metaphor for their life. They tend to see their amount of energy (money, time, affection) as fixed. So it has to be hoarded. The reason they appear anti-social is they see other people as a drain on them. On a plane about six months ago I decided my seatmate was a Five, engaged him in conversation and at one point asked him what his metaphor for his life was. He said he was a battery. When I asked him what drained his battery, he replied "People." He was friendly, from a small town, enjoyed his family and friends, but...they do drain one.

Loaves and Fishes

Only one parable of Jesus is recorded in all four gospels -- the Parable of what is traditionally called the multiplication of loaves and fishes. (Matthew 14:13-21). In the parable, the disciples are like Fives: the amount of bread and fishes is fixed, there's not enough to go around. But Jesus asks them to sit on the ground and he blessed the food. More than likely, the people began to share their own rations. Nobody, in those primitive, pre-McDonald days, went without taking food with them, especially when, as the parable notes, there were women and children. So the women, from their plentiful robes would fish a fig, some bread, a Snickers bar - whatever. That's the miracle - that when people share, they have enough to go around. (Buckminster Fuller pointed out that huge portions of New York could be covered with a plastic dome and heated for a small fraction of the cost the people pay individually, but they can't bring themselves to not have each one pay for their own heat!)

Fives have a rough time with that belief. They are a fear type, and fear always paralyzes in one form or another. The Five, with his fixed resources, finds it difficult to give time or money or love because the fear is that people won't give back, they will just take and take. All Enneagram styles have a worldview of deprivation and this is the form the Five has to deal with. This is a world of scarcity. Capitalism is a Five system. The law of supply and demand presupposes an economy of scarcity.

That's probably why Jesus talks about money more than any other topic in the New Testament. The economy of scarcity, whether it be money, food or love is diametrically opposed to the abundance of life Jesus keeps talking about. All of Jesus parables are about a world of abundance. Before Jesus there was the miracle of the manna in the desert. The one thing forbidden was hoarding, because hoarding reinforced the world-view of scarcity. They could take only enough for the day. That must have been frightening to everyone and seemed absolutely insane to the Fives among them. Fear always opposes Faith, whether that is faith in God or other people. That's why it is called a sin in the Enneagram. Perfect love (perfected by Faith) casts out fear. And Fives know it is vice versa, too.

And of course, scarcity (and abundance) as a world-view brings about what it fears. Scarcity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you are stingy, the universe, including the people in it, are stingy right back. Which the Five knew all along they would be...

As Fives get healthy, they share more and more and they do especially well when they can share information. Then they can give and still have what they give away! So Fives can contribute beautifully to the common good through their wisdom and information.

In Batman Returns, Bruce Wayne is a reclusive Five, who helps the world by playing an Eight hero, Batman. He uses all his wonderful technology to save the day. Batman is an intellectual, he and the fiendish ones are always engaged in a battle of wits. Fives like that, they win at battles of wits. What Bruce Wayne does, professors do daily - they wage war on ignorance, barbarism, bad taste etc. in their young charges. (And they just HATE those days when students can come barging into their offices with all sorts of sticky problems and can stay as long as they need to...)

Bruce Wayne would be a Five with a Six wing (the love of science and technology hints at that) and he is a Self-Preservation Five. Fives with Six wings are your classical nerds. Bill Gates is a Five with a Six wing (and with a strong connection to Eight - he's ruthless in his drive to amass wealth and power).

If Fives have a strong connection to the low side of Eight, they can be serial killers: Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kazinski and Dick Cheney are all ruthless Fives.

    Discussion questions:

  1. What are you missing most in your life? How do you manage to keep it out? (This seems like a mean question, but it is really worth examining carefully. The New Age maxim that we create our own reality is true in some ways.
  2. Make a list of who drains you and who energizes you.
  3. Make a list of what drains you and what energizes you.
  4. Make a list of which places drain you and which energize you. This emotional accounting will tell everyone (especially Fives) how to feel richer so they can give easier.


The movie, Sex, Lies and Videotape is a wonderful movie for Enneagram types. The lawyer is a Three, his wife a Nine, wife's sister is an Eight and James Spader plays an exceptionally clear Five as the college friend. He plays a sexual subtype.