What Are Things That Come in Fives?

Jon Curnow/CC-BY 2.0

A perfect fifth in music, the five Olympic rings and the five elements are all things that come in fives. In mathematics, things are often counted in ones or fives because of the ease of multiplying, dividing, subtracting or adding within ones or fives (5, 10, 15, 20, 25).

A perfect fifth in music is an interval that contains seven half steps. An example of this would be the perfect fifth above A. The perfect fifth above A is E. To determine the perfect fifth above or below a particular note, look at a keyboard and count in the proper direction.

The five elements are based on ancient Chinese philosophy where the Taoist scholars and mystics discovered the five elements. The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element has an archetype that can be used to better understand oneself. The wood element’s archetype is the pioneer and strategist/directing. The fire element’s archetype is the wizard and socializer or marketing. The earth element’s archetype is the mediator and peacemaker or human resources. The metal element’s archetype is the alchemist and judge/organizing. The water element’s archetype is the philosopher and thinker/innovation.

The Olympic rings were adopted by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1913. The five Olympic rings are meant to represent the five major regions in the world: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.