Why do people think Kurt Cobain was an Enneagram 5?

Why do people think Kurt Cobain was an Enneagram 5?

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This is a discussion on Why do people think Kurt Cobain was an Enneagram 5? within the Enneagram Personality Theory Forum forums, part of the Personality Type Forums category; He's a classic 4, emotionally expressive, revealing, believing he was inherently inferior, but also believing he was above others, making ...

  1. #1

    Why do people think Kurt Cobain was an Enneagram 5?

    He's a classic 4, emotionally expressive, revealing, believing he was inherently inferior, but also believing he was above others, making things a tragedy for himself was easy. He's even stated this, he always made things sadder than they actually were.

    Can someone explain to me why he's typed as a 5? 5's are cold, emotionally unexpressive, guarded, and their fear is being incompetent. Kurt's fears were not being himself and being unappreciated (heart type desire).
    mistakenforstranger thanked this post.



  2. #2

    Quote Originally Posted by the heart marksman View Post
    He's a classic 4, emotionally expressive, revealing, believing he was inherently inferior, but also believing he was above others, making things a tragedy for himself was easy. He's even stated this, he always made things sadder than they actually were.

    Can someone explain to me why he's typed as a 5? 5's are cold, emotionally unexpressive, guarded, and their fear is being incompetent. Kurt's fears were not being himself and being unappreciated (heart type desire).
    Yes, I have been saying this over and over again, he's a straight-up 4! I don't even know why 5 would be considered for him because he's that 4.

    Another 4 mistyped frequently as a 5, for reasons that are beyond me, is Vincent van Gogh.

  3. #3
    Type 5w4

    I know very little about the man so I have no opinion on his type except to acknowledge he certainly seems at first glance to be a 4. To help with the question about why people have typed him as a 5: I recall seeing part of an interview once where he described his favorite book, a book he couldn't stop rereading and carried it with him in his pocket. It's Perfume by Patrick Suskind. He described it as being about a guy who traveled far away from people, isolating himself bc he is disgusted by humans and wants to hide and stay away from them to which Cobain said he could relate. That seems 5-ish but the 5 influences that people see in him could be explained by a wing and/or tritype influence. He also mentioned how that book made him feel in the context of him rereading it which is a very 4 thing to do (he seemed to enjoy sitting in the emotion it made him feel). Perhaps he's a 4w5.

    Kurt Cobain's Favourite Book & More | Are You Surprised? | Numéro Cinq
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  5. #4

    Definitely strikes me as a 4.
    Duo and mistakenforstranger thanked this post.

  6. #5
    Type 1w2

    Definitely a 4w5.

    Perfume is an absolutely beautiful, gruesome book - and not a 5-style book at all. Very evocative, poetic prose throughout, and about brilliant moments of feeling so intense they cannot be contained. Further, Cobain's song about the book, "Scentless Apprentice", is poetic, abstract and bizarre, and taps into the "outcast" unhealthy 4 response to self-punishment, the idea of being broken at birth, and isolation due to being hyper sensitive to one's surroundings.

    Duo, mistakenforstranger and ukulele thanked this post.

  7. #6

    Hard to tell, probably the only one who could really type Kurt Cobain was Kurt Cobain himself. He seems on the thin line between 4w5 and 5w4 for sure. But honestly, I've always seen much more 5 than 4 in him. I'm not a Nirvana expert, but from what I recall his lyrics (and his diary too, but I've read it once many years ago so I can't really take that in consideration) scream 5. There is practically no space for emotions (even metaphorical), it's all like big sensory chaotic-horror hallucination. They all have this "the world around me is rotting" quality, with grotesque-anatomical style flashes, in a much similiar way to David Cronenberg's first works, Nine Inch Nails, or Silent Hill, just to give you some examples.


    She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
    I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks
    I've been drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap
    I wish I could eat your Cancer when you turn black

    Hey! Wait!
    I've got a new complaint
    Forever in debt to your priceless advice
    Hey! Wait!
    I've got a new complaint
    Forever in debt to your priceless advice
    Hey! Wait!
    I've got a new complaint
    Forever in debt to your priceless advice
    Your advice

    Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
    Cut myself on angel's hair and baby's breath
    Broken hymen of your highness I'm left back
    Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back


    This is a part of Heart Shaped Box, and all Kurt's song that I remember at the moment are in this style. Compare them to "4w5" Alice In Chains or The Cure. There is a striking difference. Even the songs that cover the same themes/atmospheres, with grotesque schizophrenic hallucinations, have a completely different feel ("Rotten Apple", "Lullaby").

    5's are cold, emotionally unexpressive, guarded, and their fear is being incompetent.
    I don't think that 5s are necessarily cold or unexpressive, maybe yes if they are on hypervigilant/on guard mode. I disagree on the basic fear of being incompetent, I think that the primal fear for 5s is invasion, or loss of control of own boundaries. 5s relational boundary, "non-attachment" (which doesn't mean having not close human relationships) is a way to protect the ego, "the stronghold". If someone is outside, they have control. If they create a (real) attachment, they let him in, losing control. If this someone gets lost or -that's the main point- betrays or turns against them somehow, 5s will see their stronghold fall down. Naranjo called the E5 distortion of the Sexual/Relational Instinct as "Trust": the impossible search for a "superhuman" being who would not ever possibly hurt them or disappoint them no matter what, to whom they would would feel safe giving and accepting complete love and being completely bonded, while leaving everyone else "outside" of the fortress.
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  8. #7
    Type 1w9

    He definitely strikes me as a 4w5, no doubt about it. The guy was a totem pole for individualism and lived and breathed emotive principles. His suicide note says it all.
    Duo and mistakenforstranger thanked this post.

  9. #8
    Type 1w2

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritwalker86 View Post
    There is practically no space for emotions (even metaphorical), it's all like big sensory chaotic-horror hallucination. They all have this "the world around me is rotting" quality, with grotesque-anatomical style flashes, in a much similiar way to David Cronenberg's first works, Nine Inch Nails, or Silent Hill, just to give you some examples.
    I've never seen 5 talked about this way and I find it very interesting - that is the trait that draws me to Nirvana's music (and Cronenberg's works, among others) - makes one wonder! I really like your note on the Cure, although even they do invoke this quality in other works ("Pornography", both the title track and the album, would be a better example than "Lullaby", which is, essentially, a pop song and a child-friendly song... shivering holes aside) it's notable that the rot comes from the inside for Robert Smith (as it does for Reznor), while Cobain is barricading against it. In other songs he portrays his self as childlike and innocent, and inhabits that persona often. Interesting!
    Spiritwalker86 thanked this post.

  10. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritwalker86 View Post
    Hard to tell, probably the only one who could really type Kurt Cobain was Kurt Cobain himself. He seems on the thin line between 4w5 and 5w4 for sure. But honestly, I've always seen much more 5 than 4 in him. I'm not a Nirvana expert, but from what I recall his lyrics (and his diary too, but I've read it once many years ago so I can't really take that in consideration) scream 5. There is practically no space for emotions (even metaphorical), it's all like big sensory chaotic-horror hallucination. They all have this "the world around me is rotting" quality, with grotesque-anatomical style flashes, in a much similiar way to David Cronenberg's first works, Nine Inch Nails, or Silent Hill, just to give you some examples.
    Yeah, I agree Cronenberg is a 5, but really no space for his emotions? I feel like he was far more of a reactive, shame-based heart-type (damaged, of course) than a competency, fear-based head type. Certainly, the 5 bleeds into his work (as it's his wing), but reactivity and shame is leading the way.




    The focus is also so much on his identity, which is the core preoccupation of a 4, and seeking to be loved for who one truly is, which again is a far more heart-based triad issue.






    And being an outsider and identifying with one's difference from others...





    This is one of the most 4 things I've ever heard, seriously. A 4 defending themselves by pointing out how ordinary everyone else is by comparison, despite one's difference:




    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritwalker86 View Post
    They all have this "the world around me is rotting" quality, with grotesque-anatomical style flashes, in a much similiar way to David Cronenberg's first works, Nine Inch Nails, or Silent Hill, just to give you some examples.
    From a 4w5 description at unhealthy stages: https://personalitycafe.com/type-4-fo...e-4-wings.html

    Unbalanced 4/5 can move into the extreme withdrawal of depression, then, with still further disintegration, into a sort of dark impulsiveness. Deeply troubled by feelings of utter worthlessness and extreme isolation, unhealthy 4/5 may look for opportunities to perform degrading, menial tasks, rationalizing that such a fate is deserved. Servility and self-abasement provide a kind of barely-adequate, very temporary relief from the constant torment of self-hatred.

    As life becomes less and less tolerable, suicide becomes increasingly likely, and if it happens it may be done in some unusually gruesome way. Extremely dark, horrifying inner imaginings are welcomed and encouraged. The whole world, both inner and outer, is seen as grotesquely diseased and utterly without redeeming qualities. 4/5 Hell is a place of unimaginable ugliness, populated by those deformed, psychotic monsters, the human race. Psychotic 4/5 revels in hopelessness and despair.
    Even this:

    Unhealthy persons of this subtype inhabit a particularly barren and terrifying inner world. There is a self-denying, even life-denying element of inner resistance to everything outside the self, throwing all of the Four's existential problems into sharper relief. Since Four is the fundamental personality type, fours with a Five-wing are assailed by self-doubt, depression, alienation from others, inhibitions in their work, and self-contempt. To the degree that the Five-wing plays a part in the overall personality, unhealthy fours of this subtype will also resist being helped by anyone, thus increasing their alienation from others. They also tend to project their fears into the environment, resulting in distorted thinking patters which may include elements of suspicion, paranoia, and phobias. Not only are people of this subtype subject to torment from their self-hatred, they can see very little that is positive outside themselves, and they become very pessimistic about the apparant meaninglessness of life. Of all the personality types, peopleof this subtype are potentially the most isolated from themselves and from reality. They are prone to the depressive forms of schizophrenia.
    He was certainly not a healthy 4w5.





    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritwalker86 View Post
    She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
    I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks
    I've been drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap
    I wish I could eat your Cancer when you turn black

    Hey! Wait!
    I've got a new complaint
    Forever in debt to your priceless advice
    Hey! Wait!
    I've got a new complaint
    Forever in debt to your priceless advice
    Hey! Wait!
    I've got a new complaint
    Forever in debt to your priceless advice
    Your advice

    Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
    Cut myself on angel's hair and baby's breath
    Broken hymen of your highness I'm left back
    Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back


    This is a part of Heart Shaped Box, and all Kurt's song that I remember at the moment are in this style. Compare them to "4w5" Alice In Chains or The Cure. There is a striking difference. Even the songs that cover the same themes/atmospheres, with grotesque schizophrenic hallucinations, have a completely different feel ("Rotten Apple", "Lullaby").
    Not really seeing how that song is not 4? It could be 5 superficially, but I also don't see it ruling out 4. "Hey! Wait! I've got a new complaint." Sounds like a 4 to me haha. It also sounds like 4's disintegration to 2: "I've been drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap / I wish I could eat your Cancer when you turn black"

    Then you have songs like this that are full of envy and shame. These are not the lyrics of a 5.



    What else should I be
    All apologies
    What else could I say
    Everyone is gay
    What else could I write
    I don't have the right
    What else should I be
    All apologies

    In the sun
    In the sun I feel as one
    In the sun
    In the sun
    Married
    Buried

    I wish I was like you (i.e. envy)
    Easily amused
    Find my nest of salt
    Everything's my fault
    I take all the blame (Some authors would say this is how 4's introjection manifests too)
    Aqua seafoam shame
    Sunburn, freezer burn
    Choking on the ashes of her enemy

    In the sun
    In the sun I feel as one
    In the sun
    In the sun
    Married
    Married
    Married
    Buried yeah yeah yeah

    All in all is all we are
    All in all is all we are
    All in all is all we are
    All in all is all we are

    There's even an allusion to the idea of Holy Origin in this song and being at one/connected with your fellow human beings: "In the sun I feel as one.", "All in all is all we are."

    And a few more excerpts, which are revealing:https://www.phrases.org.uk/quotes/la...rt-cobain.html

    I feel guilty beyond words about these things. For example when we're backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowd begins, it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seem to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd, which is something I totally admire and envy.
    Loss of childhood paradise, and the correspondent longing that comes from it:

    I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. I must be one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they're gone. I'm too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasm I once had as a child.
    I have it good, very good, and I'm grateful, but since the age of seven, I've become hateful towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for people to get along and have empathy. Only because I love and feel sorry for people too much I guess.
    Naranjo on 4s:
    Indeed, later psychoanalysis has emphasized a frustration in maternal affection at a later stage, after the “rapprochement” stage of establishing an early bonding with her. This accounts for a “paradise lost” quality to the experience of type IV individuals. Unlike the apathetic type V individual, who does not know what he has missed, the type IV person remembers it very well at an emotional level—if not necessarily through reminiscences.
    Sorry, but I'm truly baffled how people don't see how 4 he is (as opposed to 5). Not every 4 is going to be like The Cure, or write songs like them, but those core patterns of 4 (shame, reactivity, envy, longing, flawed self) are unmistakably there for him. He's a textbook example of a 4.
    Last edited by mistakenforstranger; 04-24-2018 at 03:06 PM.
    Duo, ImminentThunder, Figure and 3 others thanked this post.

  11. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by mistakenforstranger View Post
    Yeah, I agree Cronenberg is a 5, but really no space for his emotions? I feel like he was far more of a reactive, shame-based heart-type (damaged, of course) than a competency, fear-based head type. Certainly, the 5 bleeds into his work (as it's his wing), but reactivity and shame is leading the way.




    The focus is also so much on his identity, which is the core preoccupation of a 4, and seeking to be loved for who one truly is, which again is a far more heart-based triad issue.






    And being an outsider and identifying with one's difference from others...





    This is one of the most 4 things I've ever heard, seriously. A 4 defending themselves by pointing out how ordinary everyone else is by comparison, despite one's difference:






    From a 4w5 description at unhealthy stages: https://personalitycafe.com/type-4-fo...e-4-wings.html



    Even this:



    He was certainly not a healthy 4w5.







    Not really seeing how that song is not 4? It could be 5 superficially, but I also don't see it ruling out 4. "Hey! Wait! I've got a new complaint." Sounds like a 4 to me haha. It also sounds like 4's disintegration to 2: "I've been drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap / I wish I could eat your Cancer when you turn black"

    Then you have songs like this that are full of envy and shame. These are not the lyrics of a 5.



    What else should I be
    All apologies
    What else could I say
    Everyone is gay
    What else could I write
    I don't have the right
    What else should I be
    All apologies

    In the sun
    In the sun I feel as one
    In the sun
    In the sun
    Married
    Buried

    I wish I was like you (i.e. envy)
    Easily amused
    Find my nest of salt
    Everything's my fault
    I take all the blame (Some authors would say this is how 4's introjection manifests too)
    Aqua seafoam shame
    Sunburn, freezer burn
    Choking on the ashes of her enemy

    In the sun
    In the sun I feel as one
    In the sun
    In the sun
    Married
    Married
    Married
    Buried yeah yeah yeah

    All in all is all we are
    All in all is all we are
    All in all is all we are
    All in all is all we are

    There's even an allusion to the idea of Holy Origin in this song and being at one/connected with your fellow human beings: "In the sun I feel as one.", "All in all is all we are."

    And a few more excerpts, which are revealing:https://www.phrases.org.uk/quotes/la...rt-cobain.html



    Loss of childhood paradise, and the correspondent longing that comes from it:





    Naranjo on 4s:


    Sorry, but I'm truly baffled how people don't see how 4 he is (as opposed to 5). Not every 4 is going to be like The Cure, or write songs like them, but those core patterns of 4 (shame, reactivity, envy, longing, flawed self) are unmistakably there for him. He's a textbook example of a 4.

    Wow, that's a lot of stuff! But somehow you missed what I was saying in my post. I didn't say "Cobain was definetely a 5". I said that I always saw him on the line between 4w5 and 5w4, but that his artistic work scream 5 toward every direction,without any doubt. You point out possible references to E4 and E2, but they're really stretched, I really can't see big focus on the core patterns of 4. You're taking in consideration just single key words to tie them to a type, instead of the whole vision behind: using the same approach, even Tony Soprano could be a 4. I just see scatteredness, alienation, hallucinations and a destroyed ego. Again, you really can find all the core patterns of E4 ("shame, reactivity, envy, longing, flawed self" and I would add melancholy) in Robert Smith's lyrics, you can also see the connection to E2. Why can't I be you, Just like heaven, Lovesong, Never Enough, Disintegration (this one is 4w5 as fuck): these scream 4 to me. Kurt Cobain works don't. Heck, even Peter Murphy's (who is really probably a 5w4) songs seem triple 4 compared to Cobain ones. I wouldn't use him as a textbook example.

    I wanna answer also to your quotes about 4w5s, lost paradise and Naranjo, but now I gotta get to my bed because I'm fucking sleepy.
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