For those of you who don’t know, I’m an Enneagram Five with what I like to describe as a “very aggressive four-wing.” Five-wing-fours are visionaries with “introverted, cerebral personalities who enjoy learning, theorizing, and innovating. They are often artistic, intellectual, or scientifically oriented. No matter what their field of endeavor, they are iconoclasts who bristle at authority. Under difficult conditions, they may become reclusive.” For those of you who know me, this will likely sound very familiar.
Thus, I’ve been looking forward to Sleeping At Last’s song “Five.” SAL is one of my favorite musicians, and I’ve been following his progress through the nine Enneagram types (he’s been writing a song for each type) with excitement as my own type approached. I was interested in how he’d describe Fives; we tend to be hard to fully discern, personality-wise, because we often don’t fully know ourselves. I (would like to think that I) am on the more emotionally aware, introspective side of the spectrum, yet there is still much about me that I do not know or am afraid to look at. From there, I get to the part of my personality from which I describe myself as a “romantic cynic.” It’s an odd combination, but it explains the mix of hope for the future and doubt in humanity that I contain.
Somehow, this song managed to encapsulate all of those feelings and more. I was nervous when I started playing it and the first two minutes and nine seconds were instrumental, but the more I listened to the song, the more sensible this long introduction is. For one, it takes a while to really get to the core of a Five–or, at least, that’s how it is with the Fives I know (myself and my father). We’re like onions; you see one thing on the surface, a persona, but the more time you spend with them, the more you learn. With me, you can know me, but rarely the full depths of my person. There’s always another layer, but good luck getting there.
The music itself was perfect, too. While there were many little musical touches that I approved–the techy sounds, the string instruments–I most loved the sound which I would best describe as the warmth of the stars. SAL created a tune which showed that sort of melancholy–and the hope that underlies and flies above it. And the sound grows as the song goes on–as the telescope focuses in, as the layers of the onion peel back.
SAL took more of a scientific tone to his lyrics–a common stereotype of Fives. (I read somewhere, though, that scientists and artists analyze the world in surprisingly similar ways, and so I console myself with that.) They are as follows:
i want to watch the universe expand. i want to break it into pieces small enough to understand, and put it all back together again in the quiet of my private collection. it feels like an out of body experience- but something gets lost from a safe distance and now i can’t put my mind to rest, and i can’t help but second guess living behind this one-way mirror. i’m hypnotized by this anomaly. such strange uncharted territory- a white flag waves in the dark between my head and my heart. my armor falls apart, as if i could let myself be seen, even deeply known. like i was already brave enough to let go. and now i want to generously lose this energy that i’ve been hanging onto so desperately. i finally feel the universe expand- it’s hidden in heartbeats, exhales and in the hope of open hands.
Beautiful, relatable, simple. I could expound on the meaning I take from each lyric and why I think they’re perfect, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll leave you with this: “open hands” has been on my tattoo list for years.
Thus I have nothing more to say, other than “I love this song” and that you can listen to it here and read about it here and listen to the podcast about the making of it here.