Sunday, September 9, 2007

Type 5: Knowledge-Seeker

Examples - Quotes - - Video - Description - Equivalents - Misidentifications - Variations - Wings - Instinctual Variants - Health - Levels of Development - Levels of Integration and Disintegration - Growth Recommendations



"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky." - Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the great Germanic 20th century poets.

"My internal experience can be quite intense to the person's problems or need to show affection toward me, I think I just keep it very contained. Even when I'm crying or sad I don't want hugs because I'm afraid a wellspring of emotion will spring forth from me and never be contained again." - Sturgeon48, Enneagram Institute Forum.



  • Riso and Hudson's Overview "The Investigator"

    The connection between genius and madness has long been debated. These two states are really poles apart, the opposite ends of the personality spectrum. The genius is someone who fuses knowledge with insight into the nature of reality, someone who has the ability to see things with utter clarity and with awe-inspiring comprehension. What separates the genius from the madman is that the genius, in addition to extraordinary insights, has the ability to see them correctly, within their context. The genius perceives patterns which are actually present, whereas the madman imposes patterns, projecting erroneous perceptions onto every circumstance. The genius may sometimes seem to be out of touch with reality, but only because he or she operates at a more profound level. The madman, however, is truly out of touch with reality, having nothing but delusions to substitute for it.

  • Palmer's Description "The Observer"

    Enneagram type 5s are the enneagram type that most want to live in their minds. They have a rich mental life and retreat to the safety of their minds when feeling overwhelmed by the chaos of the world. They often don’t feel at home in the world, or even in their own bodies. If Type 4 feels like they were born into the wrong families, Type 5s feel like they were born onto the wrong planet. They feel alien, and indeed others can perceive them as a bit odd or eccentric.

  •'s Description

    People of enneatype Five defend themselves against a world they experience as intrusive by retreating into the safety of their minds. Fives tend, therefore, to approach reality at some distance and to adopt a stance at some remove from the main action. Fives feel comfortable and at home in the realm of thought. They have busy minds, are endlessly curious, observant, perceptive and frequently intellectually provocative. Most Fives have at least a few intellectual interests, areas of expertise, which they cultivate with a true passion.
  • Myers-Briggs Equivalents

    More Common:
    INTJ "The Free-Thinker" - Insightful, quick individualists who trust their own vision.
    INTP "The Wizard" - Develops unusual and complex ideas, challenging accepted truth.

    Quite Common:
    ISTJ "The Reliant" - Systematic, painstaking, thorough, hardworking for commitments.
    INFP "The Dreamer" - Desire their world to be in line with their inner ideal vision.


5w4 - Seeking Knowledge and Identity
  • LifeExplore

    The difference between the 4 wing and the 6 wing in Fives is like the difference between Art and Science. 4 wing brings an abstract, intuitive cast of thought, as though the Five were thinking in geometric shapes instead of words or realistic images. May be talented artistically and inhabit moods like Fours do. Combine intellectual and emotional imagination. Enjoy the realm of philosophy and beautiful constructs of thought. The marriage of mental perspective and aesthetics is the best of life for them. When more defensive may seem a little ghostly, have a whisper in their voice. Fluctuate between impersonal withdrawal and bursts of friendly caring. Can get floaty and abstract. Act like they're inside a bubble, sometimes with an air of implicit superiority. Cliché of the "absentminded professor" applies especially to Fives with this wing. Environmentally sensitive and subject at times to total overwhelm. Touchy about criticism. Can be slow to recover from traumatic events. Melancholy isolation and bleak existential depression are possible pitfalls.
5w6 - Seeking Knowledge and Security
  • LifeExplore

    The 6 wing brings an orientation to detail and technical knowledge, along with the tendency to think in logical sequence. Especially intellectual, far more analytical than Fives with a 4 wing. Can be loyal friends, offering strong behind-the-scenes support. Kind, patient teachers, skillful experts. May have a sense of mission and work hard. Sometimes project an aura of sensitive nerdiness and have clumsy social skills. When defensive, they can be unnerved by the expectations of others. May like people more but avoid them more. Especially sensitive to social indebtedness. Could have trouble saying "thank you." Fear of taking action, develop "information addiction" instead. Ask lots of questions but don't get around to the decision at hand. When more entranced, they develop a suspicious scrutiny of other people's motives but can also be blind followers. Misanthropic and Scrooge-like when defensive. More able to keep their feelings cut off in a constant way. Can be cold, skeptical, ironic, and disassociated. A Five's 6 wing can be phobic or counterphobic. Counterphobic 6 wing brings courage and antiauthoritarian attitudes. When defensive they may mock authority, or angrily tell others off. Tend to "push the envelope," experiment, find what the limits are.

Instinctual Variants

Sexual 5 - Seeking Intimacy/Intensity
  • Udit Patel This Is My World (Ichazo's "Confidence")

    Sexual Fives focus their hoarding in the area of intimate relationships. The combination of instinct and type are at odds here: the Five defense is to withdraw, while the sexual instinct demands intimacy and connection. Most Sexual Fives live in an uneasy truce between these polar influences, but they seek to resolve this tension by slowly inviting prospective intimates into their own secret world. Sexual Fives are primarily focused in their imaginations, but they believe that most others would find their thoughts and preoccupations dark and even frightening. At the very least, they are certain that others will find them odd or eccentric. Nonetheless, they want to share their perceptions and hidden worlds and secretly hope to have a deep connection with a single soul, a mate for life, who can understand them and their sometimes bizarre views of reality. Intimacy for them entails finding someone else who will explore the surreal vistas of their inner world. They also look to their partner for some degree of help in dealing with people and the practical affairs of life. They hope that their partner will run interference for them and give them confidence to navigate the external world. If Sexual Fives are disappointed in love, they may retreat and remain unattached for long periods of time, even years.

  • LifeExplore

    Intimate Fives trust only a few people but then do so totally. Friendship is based on the sharing of confidences. Intimacy is equivalent to exchanging secrets. Can go from enigmatic, deliberate distance to intense, unguarded openness. Seductive invitation to sharing secrets; seek a total merging. When entranced can be a little kinky.
Social 5 - Seeking Acceptance/Belonging/Inclusion/Status
  • Udit Patel The Specialist (Ichazo's "Totems")

    Social Fives focus their avarice and hoarding in the social realm, meaning that they socialize through their particular areas of expertise. Fives endeavor to master some skill or body of knowledge, and they relate to others primarily through that area of their mastery. As social types, Social Fives are more comfortable interacting with people, but their comfort is largely dependent on having a context for being in a social situation. They need a particular task or function that gives them the confidence to interact with people (for example, being the DJ at a party, or having a specific topic of discussion at a social event).They enjoy talking intensely with other people who share their (sometimes esoteric) interests—either in person or through the Internet. Social Fives feel that their expertise is what they can "bring to the table" since they make it their business to learn things that others may need. While generally quiet, Social Fives can become quite talkative if their area of knowledge becomes the topic of conversation—anything from computer expertise to trivia about movies or comic books is fair game. Less healthy Social Fives can become elitist, feeling others are too unintelligent to understand their thoughts or conversation. They can also be fiercely argumentative, losing social connections by reactively proving others' ideas inadequate.

  • LifeExplore

    Social Fives connect with groups of like-minded people. Enjoy living in the flow of a group interest, sharing knowledge and affiliations. May prefer specialized or esoteric areas of knowledge that exclude all but the initiated. Could live in high society, know the "right" people, belong to the best clubs. Might enjoy speaking a professional language that few people understand. Can be quite friendly but, at times, terrific snobs. Romanticize secret elitist group membership; concerned with titles, degrees, credentials, etc. Realm of academia.
Self-Preservation 5 - Seeking Saftey/Comfort
  • Udit Patel Isolation (Ichazo's "Castle")

    Self-Preservation Fives are the most introverted Fives—the Fives most likely to seek long periods of privacy and solitude. The hoarding of the Five is focused in the areas of practical resources, living quarters, and personal space. Self-Pres Fives attempt to find out how few self-preservation needs they can subsist on, likely agreeing with Thoreau's statement that "A man is rich in proportion to what he can do without." They are intensely private people who seem to require few comforts, even if they have substantial personal wealth. To some degree, they enjoy the company of trusted others and enjoy sharing their knowledge with people. They can also be counted on for their sense of whimsy and oddball humor. Nonetheless, Self-Pres Fives need lots of time by themselves to regenerate their energy. Many choose to live alone, or if they are in a partnership, they require personal space (such as a study or a nook in the basement) into which others, even loved ones, will not intrude. They also tend to hoard personal effects, stockpiling their homes like castles preparing for a siege. As much as they may like and admire others, they attempt to keep their relationships few and simple, so that they can focus on what holds interest for them.

  • LifeExplore

    Chief defensive tendency is to withdraw. Sensitive to feeling saturated by the world, Fives with this subtype lose their sense of privacy easily. Can feel knocked over by people's expectations. In isolation they refind their lost sense of balance and build up to the next round of social stresses. More alienated than the other subtypes. May hide in books, live alone or need their own room where they can close themselves off. Take little from others. Sometimes thin. Likely to hoard time and space. Have solitary hobbies and interests, seek comfort and solace alone.


Levels of Development
  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development

    Level 1 (Most Healthy - The Level of Liberation): Become visionaries, broadly comprehending the world while penetrating it profoundly. Open-minded, take things in whole, in their true context. Make pioneering discoveries and find entirely new ways of doing and perceiving things.

    Level 5 (Average - The Level of Interpersonal Control): Increasingly detached as they become involved with complicated ideas or imaginary worlds. Become preoccupied with their visions and interpretations rather than reality. Are fascinated by off-beat, esoteric subjects, even those involving dark and disturbing elements. Detached from the practical world, a "disembodied mind," although high-strung and intense.

    Level 9 (Most Unhealthy - The Level of Pathological Destructiveness): Seeking oblivion, they may commit suicide or have a psychotic break with reality. Deranged, explosively self-destructive, with schizophrenic overtones. Generally corresponds to the Schizoid Avoidant and Schizotypal personality disorders.

  • Riso & Hudson's Levels of Development In-Depth

  • Healthy and Unhealthy "Loops"

    Healthy loop:
    controlled by Basic Desire: Need to understand the world -> observe -> analyze -> understand the world -> Need to understand the world. In the healthy state, the need to understand the world induces Type Fives to observe and analyze the world, which help them to better understand the world. When Fives reach a good understanding of the world around them, their need is satisfied and a balance is reached.

    Average state:
    When Fives' do less of observing and analyzing the world, they start to not understand the world. This increases their need to understand the world, which helps Fives to return to more observation and analysis. Thus the balancing loop can help Fives to recover.

    Unhealthy loop:
    controlled by Basic Fear: Fear of being overwhelmed by the world -> detach from the world -> understand the world -> Fear of being overwhelmed by the world. In the unhealthy state, the basic fear of being overwhelmed by the world can cause Type Fives to become detached from the people around them and the world around them as a defense. This unfortunately causes them to understand the world even less, which further increases Fives' basic fear. The cycle continues to build up.

    We can see from the diagram that a way to help break the control of the basic fear is to weaken the unhealthy loop. Fives can stop their detachment from the world, and start to observe and analyze the real world more. This will increase their understanding of the world, and reduce their fear of being overwhelmed by the world.

Levels of Integration and Disintegration

Integration (Five Goes to Healthy Eight)

  • Udit Patel

    As Fives begin to understand the emotional cost of their self-imposed isolation, they begin to risk deeper, more complete, contact with themselves and with the world. They become more grounded, more in touch with their bodies and their life energy, giving them more confidence and solidity. As this process deepens, integrating Fives naturally begin to express many qualities of the healthy Eight: they demonstrate leadership, courage, practical wisdom, and the willingness to take responsibility. They move from feeling small and powerless to feeling grounded and capable. Their knowledge and insight are then in service to objective needs in their world, and they are sought by others as sources of wisdom, compassion, and quiet strength.

  • Wake-Up Call

    Awareness of withdrawing from reality into concepts and mental worlds—so that they can rise to a profound and objective understanding of how reality really is.

Security (Fives Goes to Average Eight)

  • Udit Patel

    Most often, if Fives feel that others are intruding on them or imposing their wills, they will simply leave quietly if they can or shut down into a detached, disdainful silence. With people or situations in which they have more confidence, however, Fives may suddenly risk behaving like average Eights, forcefully asserting their boundaries and confronting anyone or anything that displeases them. They become feisty, argumentative, and relentlessly provocative. In this mode, they take a tough stance, putting everyone on notice that they cannot be trifled with, but in ways that often cause people to react against them. They may become domineering, even aggressive, while questioning others' competency.

Disintegration (Fives Goes to Average Seven)

  • Udit Patel

    Fives usually cope with difficulties by retreating into their minds where they feel more confident and in control. But Fives cannot retreat indefinitely, and eventually they need stimulation and interaction. Fives also tend to be nervous and high-strung, so when there is no outlet for their nervous energy, it builds up, eventually expressing itself in restlessness and hyperactivity. (Fives can become literally "restless"—and often develop insomnia.) Anxiety causes their minds to overheat, and to jump from one thought to the next. Much of their characteristic focus gets scattered. After being alone and concentrating for so long, they begin to overcompensate by overdoing their activities and lurching from one promising idea or experience to another. They become like a starving person at a banquet, and their scattered, hyperactive behavior can look like that of an average Seven. At such times, usually quiet Fives may become very talkative, impulsive, and flighty. Their underlying anxiety gets acted out in compulsive, even manic, behavior in ways that resemble lower-functioning Sevens.

  • Maitri

    "The resigned person believes, consciously or unconsciously, that it is better not to wish or expect anything. Sometimes this goes with a conscious pessimistic outlook on life, a sense of its being futile anyhow and of nothing being sufficiently desirable to make an effort for it. More often many things appear desirable in a vague idle way but fail to arouse a concrete alive wish. If a wish or interest has enough zest to penetrate through the "don't care" attitude, it fades out soon after and the smooth surface of "nothing matters" or "nothing should matter" is reestablished. Such "wishlessness" may concern both professional and personal life-the wish for a different job or an advancement as well as for a marriage, a house, a car, or other possessions. The fulfillment of these wishes may loom primarily as a burden and in fact would sabotage the one wish he does have--that of not being bothered."-P.208
Growth Recommendations
  • Riso & Hudson's Personal Growth Recommendations

  • Udit Patel

    Fives grow by recognizing that real confidence lies not simply in intellectual mastery but in putting themselves out into the world. Fives usually derive their confidence through the development of their minds, but they really need to bring balance to their psyches by developing a deeper relationship with their bodies and feelings. Growth for a Five requires allowing themselves to see how estranged they are from their actual living selves and acknowledging all of the deep needs that they have denied since early childhood. Fives actually feel things deeply, but they are extremely restrained in their ability to express their feelings. Developing trust of others, sharing what they are experiencing, and identifying with their feelings are all crucial for them to blossom fully as human beings. All of this becomes much easier when Fives are grounded in their bodies.
  • Palmer's Exercises

    Look around you at your surroundings. Really see what is out there. What have you seen before, and what have you never noticed. Is there anything that gives you delight? Is there anything that needs to be done? Can you connect with your doing center, move your body, and do what needs to be done?

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