The ability and willingness to learn from failure is crucial for the healthy development of any field of human endeavour. However, in the political world this basic idea that we can and should learn from our mistakes - and adjust our approaches accordingly - is generally avoided.
The Conciliators Guild is dedicated to developing a process of learning about how to improve our politics in this regard. The ultimate aim is to deliver more stable and friendly social and international environments where people can more easily flourish productively.
We introduce critical new ideas about the hidden bio-psycho-social motivations in human behaviour that will assist in that learning and deepen our understanding about why politicking fails so often. These ideas centre around the fundamental innate physical and emotional needs of all of humankind, factors that, when unmet or managed badly, drive people to conflict and create chaos.
In the case of Brexit and Donald Trump, voters feel that elites and the establishment are not representing their values and sense of identity. ISIS is able to attract youth by providing a sense of mission and purpose - but for ruinous ends.
In many cases, conflicts are triggered or continue because certain emotional needs, such as status or legitimacy, are worth fighting for. As one astute observer of the human condition wrote: "The basic human instinct is not self-preservation but preservation of self-image."
These motivations result in fixed mental states that create misunderstandings between conflicted sides. An inability to think more flexibly, and see various perspectives and a broader context, are hallmarks of this condition.
All these underlying drivers are often ignored by decision-makers, policymakers and international relations professionals in favour of more tangible causes. Progressive and liberal thinking tends to overlook these motivations in favour of either economic interests or more abstracted, technocratic management; while some nationalists, extremists and self-serving leaders indulge and manipulate them to destructive ends.
Instead, they need to be well understood and managed constructively. A greater focus on them will improve our capacity to manage politics and conflicts.
More than ever before we need a greater understanding of the fundamental unit of society: the human being. We also need to learn what lies behind our political problems and their solutions: our basic human motivations and needs.
Learning to detach from fixed positions and automated thinking, ideological or otherwise, is a prerequisite for more creative and effective approaches to conflict resolution and the management of politics between and within countries.
This initiative is dedicated to developing a process of long-term education about this approach to improving our politics. We aim to show how these ideas work in the political sphere and in international relations, and to disseminate them as broadly as possible in the policy world as well as to aspiring practitioners of diplomacy and politics.
A guild is the time-honoured name for a group of people dedicated to excellence in their craft. More than ever, we need this sense of excellence in the practice of international relations and politics, and a community that nurtures it, if only to counteract the deterioration we see all around us.