The Enneagram Type 5 (The Investigator)

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Ennegram Type 5 archetypes. From definition of the ennegram, examples and why it is useful.

What is The Enneagram Type 5? (The Investigator)

The type five personality is known as the Investigator and is defined by the need to avoid being drained by excessive, unwanted engagement with the outside world.

The type five person is very focussed on being self-sufficient, something they develop through the acquisition of knowledge and competence.

They enjoy learning and developing a deep understanding of the world in a whole range of subjects which interest them, seeing the expansion of their intellect as their main goal in life whilst aiming to reduce their reliance on physical needs and relationships with others.

Type five people fear being overwhelmed by the needs of other people, or indeed their own needs, and as a result they withdraw from society and relationships as far as possible.

They prefer a minimalist lifestyle where they can focus on intellectual endeavour.

How do Enneagram Type 5 individuals act?

More than any other personality type, the type five individual wants to understand how the world works and why things are as they are.

They may be interested in the physical realm – the universe, the animal kingdom, the microscopic world and so on – or their interests may lie in their imaginative world through pursuits such as literature and art.

Whatever their interest is, they are always asking questions, searching for answers and exploring ideas and concepts more deeply than any other personality type would.

They will question received opinion and doctrine about things, not prepared to accept the status quo just because it is the commonly accepted idea of things, but seeking to question and test hypotheses and assumptions themselves in order to seek the truth.

Enneagram Type 5 and truth/knowledge

However, there is a deeper truth behind this seeking of knowledge than just the thirst for knowledge itself.

Deep down, the type five fears that they are unable to function in the world at large and that they do not have the abilities which other people do.

Rather than risk failure they therefore refuse to engage in such activity, stepping back to the intellectual and academic world where they feel safer.

However, doing so means they can never achieve the confidence boost which success that they may actually achieve in doing such activities may bring them.

Rather, they assure themselves that the safe place which is their minds will allow them to work out how they can do the things they fear they will fail at and therefore ultimately succeed at rejoining society once they have worked this out.

Type 5 individuals and the world

Type five people are observers who spend a lot of their time watching the world and contemplating what they see.

They use all of their senses to observe, immersing themselves in what they see, hear, smell etc, and internalise this in order to gain knowledge which boosts their confidence, especially when they are then able to tell or show others about the knowledge or skills they have gained as a result.

If others respond positively or agree with their observation then this then gives them affirmation that they are competent and fulfills their desires.

Type five people value highly insight, knowledge, learning and understanding simply because they build their own identity around the importance of being a person with ideas and something useful/insightful to say to the world.

This means that they are only interested in exploring new and unfamiliar ideas and concepts, things which are unusual, overlooked, strange, secret, fantastical or even unthinkable.

This allows them to know what others do no or create something completely new and unique, developing a niche which nobody else occupies, or indeed ever has occupied.

Type fives believe that this is the best way for them to develop the independence and confidence which they so crave.

Darkside of Enneagram Type 5 personalities

  • This need for self-esteem and security means that the type five individual needs an area of interest and expertise which allows them to feel connected to the world and capable within it, despite their desire to distance themselves from it.
  • This means that they usually develop at least one ordinary, seemingly fairly everyday interest such as pop music, French cooking, English literature, car mechanics or mythology.
  • However, they do not depend on society for validation and so, despite this, they fear conventionality.
  • They seek to overturn accepted ways of thinking and acting, although unfortunately many simply become lost to the world in their eccentricity and social isolation.

Enneagram Type 5 Growth

When the type five personality is healthy and in balance they can achieve remarkable feats of innovation and discovery.

However, when they are not they can also suffer from a number of problems.

Focussing so intently on the development of knowledge can distract them from the practical problems in their lives, such as the need for employment, financial issues, relationships with others and health issues.

Rather than deal with issues such as these, the type five person seeks something which makes them feel validated and competent.

However, no matter how competent they are or whatever knowledge they possess they cannot resolve the problems created by their own insecurities.

The key challenge in life for a type five person is to deal with the practical matters of life whilst understanding that they can still achieve the knowledge and pursue intellectual pursuits at the same time.

Enneagram Type 5 Characteristics & Traits

  • Absentmindedness
  • Often appears lost in thought
  • Cerebral
  • Intense
  • Difficult to break into their inner world
  • Deep knowledge on topics of interest
  • Perceptive
  • Secretive
  • Isolated
  • Insightful and thought-out responses to queries
  • Thinks extensively before responding to queries
  • Curious
  • Strong concentration
  • Innovative
  • Clear boundaries between family, social life and employment
  • Withdrawn
  • Detached
  • Extremely independent
  • Question the status quo
  • Test hypotheses for themselves
  • Thirst for knowledge
  • Fear conventionality

Enneagram Type 5 Examples?

There are numerous famous examples of type five personalities throughout history, including:

  • Siddartha Gautama Buddha
  • Albert Einstein
  • John Nash (A Beautiful Mind)
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Edvard Munch
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Salvador Dali
  • Alberto Giacometti
  • Agatha Christie
  • James Joyce
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Stephen King
  • Bill Gates
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Jane Goodall
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Thom York (Radiohead)
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Werner Herzog
  • Tim Burton
  • Jodie Foster
  • Annie Liebovitz
  • Bobby Fischer
  • “Wikileaks” Julian Assange
  • X Files’ “Fox Mulder”
  • Dr. Gregory “House”
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