I am not a psychologist.  I am a sociologist.  I study how people interact in conversation and how they use language skills for effective outcomes.  Sociologists study human culture and symbols, rules and norms looking for patterns and perhaps causal relationships which may or may not be generalizable.  The purpose is to understand and promote social evolution and reform, which for me is “World Peace one conversation at a time.”

Sociologists can be involved in macro or micro sociology.  Macro refers to evolution of society while micro refers to the everyday human interaction that has caught my attention over the course of my adult life.  I like to understand social interactions and their consequences.

As I write this new book on 40 Degrees in Conversation which is based on the Enneagram, I realize that I am indeed writing an ethnography of each of the regions on the circle that are inhabited by the nine expressions or aspects.  I am writing about the culture of each position and taking the sociological perspective that the mind and the self emerge from the social process of communication.  George Herbert Mead described human perception as socially mediated and states that existence  in community comes before individual consciousness.  He talks about the “generalized other” which represents the expected behaviour of the group

Ethnography requires that I “live among” my subjects and become a “participant observer”.  Years of working in mediation as mediator/participant observer has given me field notes an documentation to support the stories, the narratives of the 9 PULSE BEACHs.  I have conducted informal interviews, direct observations, participated in the life of the group and collective discussions.  I have produced and analyzed personal documents and have generated what I consider a thick and rich description of each of the nine sets of Beliefs, Expectations, Assumptions, Concerns, and Hopes that represent the regions on the PULSE circle or the BEACHs on PULSE Island, to stay with the metaphor.

This is a new approach.  It is not a 40 degree view of the human psyche as it travels from place to place.  It is instead a map and a demographic description of the territory on the ground. It is presented with objectivity and neutrality using cross cultural or cross region comparisons.   Ten years of gathering data has lead to some interesting findings that I am ready to share.

The observer effect in this ethnography is mitigated by the fact that I was acting as mediator or trainer providing service to participants that would actually shift their perspectives and move them to another location on the map.  The theory that emerged from the work was not about the individuals themselves or their psychic landscape.  Instead it gives a demographic understanding of the BEACHs they inhabit or visit on their journey elsewhere.

My intention is to give you a brief view of each of the BEACHs as they are represented in the book over the next few of weeks.  Feel free to contact me if I am not living up to that intention.  It might be the push and the accountability I need to move things forward.  Thanks.