Enneagram Type 5: Investigative Thinker
Observer, Investigator, Thinker, Sage or Voyeur

© 1995-2017 Katherine Chernick Fauvre


Fives want to be intelligent, informed, knowledgeable and perceptive. More importantly, they want to be self-sufficient and not have the entanglements of obligation. They see themselves as intellectual, dispassionate and investigative. They would like others to see them as rational, logical and scholarly. Their idealized image is that they are thoughtful and wise.

Private and solitary by nature, Fives like to be invisible until they are ready to reveal themselves. They tend to stay on the sidelines, preferring to meet the world with their minds. Fives prefer to play the role of detached observer or investigator. In general, Fives see the world as intrusive, overwhelming and chaotic–often demanding too much and giving too little in return. As a result, to manage the fear of not knowing, Fives conserve their energy and focus their attention on acquiring the information necessary to make sense out of the chaos. 

Studious and scholarly, Fives develop expertise in any area that is of interest to them, often in more than one field. Fives believe that knowledge is power and feel it is imperative that they be intellectually astute as a means of survival. Often scientific, Fives have unparalleled powers of mental perception due in part to their ability to remain detached and unaffected by their emotions. They have an inquisitive and observant nature with an insatiable appetite for information. Fives think things through before offering their perceptive insights regarding systems, people, or how the world works.

Avoiding the glaring light of scrutiny, Fives seek the safety of camouflage. When they feel that they lack intellect, Fives become withdrawn, isolated and reclusive. Fives see themselves as intense, unexpected, original and different from others. They are private and introspective, although others may think they are anti-social, secretive, remote, and eccentric. Fives are not afraid to point out the ‘emperor who has no clothes’ and their wonderful sense of humor is based on postulating the absurd. Rather than the wave crashing on the shore, Fives have the strength of the undertow and know exactly when to give or withhold their involvement and information to have the greatest impact.


Fearing intrusion, Fives need to keep themselves hidden and camouflaged. However intellectual they may be, Fives often feel vulnerable and exposed like an animal without fur. Fives need time alone to recharge and for others to not place high demands on their time or energy. It is essential for their well-being that their minds are clear, their lives uncluttered, and that they have the autonomy to control their time.


Fives avoid standing out and/or being misinterpreted. Fives also avoid pretentiousness or ostentatious displays. Fives may find small talk or a brainstorming session at work to be an insufferable waste of time. Fives fear annihilation, contamination, and being fully embodied – as they feel more comfortable being with their thoughts than in their body. Because Fives prefer to live a life that isn’t weighed down by attachments – either material or relational – they also avoid surplus of any kind. The one exception might be a library of resources.


Fives' greatest strengths are clear objectivity, instinct and penetrating insight unfettered by emotions. Fives have an innate ability to gather information and create systems to assess and categorize data in a clear and concise manner. Mentally astute, they are able to observe, study and track even the smallest details, often developing expertise in many areas. Underneath their shyness and reserve, they are a kindhearted and giving person. Fives are also very loyal to and supportive of those they trust. 


Fives' vice is avarice.  This can manifest as a greedy hoarding of themselves, time, energy or things. Fives should be careful of their tendency to observe the world through a peephole. It keeps them isolated and out of touch with human concerns.  They should also be aware of their tendency to withdraw into their ivory tower of ideas. Others may start to see them as arrogant and unfeeling. Being dispassionate and ‘cool as a cucumber’ is good in an emergency but hard on relationships. 


Fives' attention goes to observing the world, hiding or withholding to protect themselves and gathering information for the purpose of knowing and understanding. Hesitant and reluctant to engage, Fives search for factual data, seeking reason, logic and objectivity.

Spiritual Journey

Fives' spiritual path is to reclaim a sense of non-attachment and experience true omniscience – true knowing from a higher source.  Spiritual growth will come when Fives freely offer themselves to others without fear of incurring obligation and realize that mere information can never be a substitute for true, direct knowing.


Fives need to remember that their map of the world is a mental construct, not the actual territory. For deeper knowing, Fives need to remember to include their feelings as they yield important information in any equation. As a rule, Fives believe that there is always more that can be learned, known and understood. It is helpful to recognize when they know enough to make a decision.


The Enneagram Type 5 with the 4 Wing, desires to appear imaginative. They see themselves as aloof, understated, penetrating, intuitive, inquisitive and quiet.

The Enneagram Type 5 with the 6 Wing, desires to appear intellectual. They see themselves as changeable, receptive, careful, whimsical and trustworthy.

Famous 5s

St. Thomas Aquinas, Issac Asimov, Samuel Beckett, The Buddha, Tim Burton, David Byrne, Richard Chamberlain, Agatha Christie, Montgomery Clift, Michael Crichton, Daniel Day-Lewis, René Descartes, Joan Didion, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, T.S. Eliot, England, Ralph Fiennes, Bobby Fischer, Peter Gabriel, Greta Garbo, Bill Gates, J. Paul Getty, Jane Goodall, H.R. Haldeman, Hildegarde of Bingen, Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins, Howard Hughes, Ted Kaczynski, Franz Kafka, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Dean Koontz, Stanley Kubrick, Gary Larson, Annie Leibowitz, David Lynch, Norman MacLean, Robert MacNeil, Leonard Maltin, Timothy McVeigh, Natalie Merchant, Sam Neill, Georgia O’Keefe, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Oliver Sacks, Jean-Paul Sartre, Scrooge, Sister Wendy, George Stephanopoulos, Madeleine Stowe, Jules Verne, Max Von Sydow, Ken Wilber.

© 1995-2017 Katherine Chernick Fauvre