Enneagram Type 5: The Observer

Enneagram Type Five  (5) Collage

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

You want to be intelligent, informed, knowledgeable and perceptive. More importantly, you want to be self-sufficient and not have the entanglements of obligation. You see yourself as intellectual, dispassionate and investigative. You would like others to see you as rational, logical and scholarly. Your idealized image is that you are thoughtful and wise.

Private and solitary by nature, you like to be invisible until you are ready to reveal yourself. You tend to stay on the sidelines preferring to meet the world with your mind. You prefer to play the role of detached observer or investigator. In general, you 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, you conserve your energy and focus your attention on acquiring the information necessary to make sense out of the chaos.

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

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 When you feel that you lack intellect, you become withdrawn, isolated and reclusive.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

Fearing intrusion, you need to keep yourself hidden and camouflaged. However intellectual you may be, you often feel vulnerable and exposed like an animal without fur. You need time alone to recharge and for others to not place high demands on your time or energy. It is essential for your well being that your mind is clear, your life uncluttered, and that you have the autonomy to control your time.

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

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

Your vice is avarice.  This can manifest as a greedy hording of yourself, your time, your energy or your things. Be careful of your tendency to observe the world through a peephole. It can keep you isolated and out of touch with human concerns.  Be aware of your tendency to withdraw into your ivory tower of ideas. Others may start to see you as arrogant and unfeeling. Being dispassionate and ‘cool as a cucumber’ is good in an emergency but hard on relationships.

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

Spiritual Journey

Your 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 you offer freely of yourself to others without fear of incurring obligation and realize that mere information can never be a substitute for true direct knowing.

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


If you are the Enneagram Type 5 with the 4 Wing, you desire to appear imaginative. You see yourself as aloof, understated, penetrating, intuitive, inquisitive and quiet.

If you are the Enneagram Type 5 with the 6 Wing, you desire to appear intellectual. You see yourself 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, Joe DiMaggio, 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, George Lucas, 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.

All content Katherine Chernick Fauvre, David W. Fauvre, Enneagram Explorations, © 1995-2007


Video Gallery of Enneagram Type Five

Bill Gates
Enneagram Type 5

Daniel Day Lewis
Enneagram Type 5

Peter Gabriel (5) & Kate Bush (4)
Enneagram Type 5




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