Enneagram Type 5 - The Investigator
The Investigator is the fifth Personality Type on the Enneagram. Type 5s value knowledge and more specifically, expertise. Viewing the world objectively, they enjoy in-depth study and understanding how things work. They are always questioning and expending mental energy, usually spending most of their time alone or, if in company, mentally unavailable to others.
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Investigators are innovative thinkers. They are fascinated with how the world works and are motivated to spend a great deal of time in objective observation, honing their theories and drawing conclusions. Not satisfied with the doctrines and opinions of others, they challenge all assumptions to find out the facts on any given subject. They particularly enjoy complex and unusual subjects that other people find difficult to penetrate. Fields that are little-explored also attract them, as it gives them an opportunity to be at the forefront of human knowledge.
Living in the abstract, they may come across as impractical or eccentric. However, not all Type 5s are drawn to academic brilliance. Their intense study might be focused on motor engines or hair styling or construction. Whichever field they choose, they become experts in it due to their razor-sharp focus, attention to detail and constant thirst to expand their knowledge. Not only do they know all there is to know in their given subject, but their creativity allows them to contribute to it significantly.
Due to their intensity, Investigators can become hyperactive and scattered. They are not as directly invested in their personal relationships as some other types. Type 5s can find relationships very stressful, and find it difficult to improve them. When Investigators come under stress in a particular aspect of their lives, such as their work, marriage, or relationships with their children, they find it very difficult to face. Instead of attempting to improve in the area that presents a problem, they retreat back into their special interest. When things get tough they spend much more time studying their chosen subject. This is where they feel competent and in control.
The truth is that this relentless seeking of knowledge is in response to deep insecurities about themselves. They have a fear that they are unable to navigate and function in the world as well as other people, doubting their ability to succeed. Instead of facing their fear head on, they retreat from direct experience into their minds. This way, having adequate time to figure out how things work, they are much more likely to succeed before they try anything. Their reliance on mental activity is a defense mechanism against their fear of failure and inadequacy.
Unfortunately this defense mechanism is not effective because their thinking ends up focusing on the subject they are proficient in, as it is comforting and reassuring for them. Unwilling to think about situations they are unsure of how to handle, the issues that cause anxiety in their lives remain unsolved, as the Investigators distract themselves with their own interests.
Type 5s can be very successful at self-development. Esoteric knowledge, being secret and mystical in nature, attracts them, and if they turn their interest to it, they can learn a lot that will benefit every aspect of their lives. While normally averse to working on their personal growth, Investigators can do very well if they make themselves and their own lives the focus of their studies. If they turn their attentions to psychology and human relationships, their own relationships will improve in leaps and bounds, due to their exceptional level of attention to detail. This deep study in the areas of the emotions and relationships will help Type 5s to develop exceptionally high levels of insight and wisdom. It can be a temptation for Investigators to isolate themselves and become solely cerebral, but this is not a balanced way to live. For the knowledge and expertise they gain to benefit them, they must find a way that they can integrate it into their lives practically.
It is also of great benefit to Type 5s to use their interests for humanitarian activities. This will link their interests to human interaction. Rather than using their study solely as an escape from the pressures of the world, it can then also become a tool with which Type 5s can improve the world and become an active agent in it. Part of the Investigators' self-development is to accept that they are subjectively part of the world and not only an objective observer.
One of the most important lessons a Type 5 can learn is: it is not knowledge that is power, it is the practical application of the knowledge that makes it powerful.
- Iman Mohiki
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