Context is everything

Online course

January 27, 2021, 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm GMT

Course Description:

It is impossible to overrate the importance of context because nothing at all exists in isolation. It only ever exists in relation to other things. Quite simple building blocks of the world like time, space and motion, can only exist as relative to something else... Both as a society and in the individual psyche, we’re beginning to lose the overall importance that you can never deal with something out of context. What we believe is that by breaking things down into component parts we really understand them. But it’s just as true that you only understand the parts if you know the whole that they’re composing, because in that context they’re different.

– Iain McGilchrist, author, psychiatrist and literary scholar

As the quote above reminds us, context is everything. Yet all around us, we see the consequences of blindness to context, and of too much focus on one aspect of the world at the expense of all the rest. Because of this, nations and international relations are fragmenting. Every day, there is less common ground as tribal thinking, egos and opinions dominate the public sphere. Rules and regulations increasingly dominate our lives as we become frightened automatons. Our consumerist mind accumulates goods and electronic stimulation, yet there is a sense of hunger amidst plenty.

We are no longer practised at balancing narrower interests with a broader perspective. An ability to engage more with context is a vital counterweight to the desperate drive for control and consumption.

The Conciliators Guild (CG) presents an introductory course on working and living more in context, and how this can help us perceive political and social relations through a wider lens, and achieve greater meaning in our lives. The course will also look at three examples of working in and out of context, in diplomacy, the media and bureaucracy.

For political practitioners, CG will offer a more detailed case-based, practical follow-up to investigate how these ideas can improve policy development and mediation, and permit political action to be timelier and more constructive.

If you are interested or have questions, please contact us at


1. How context is important in our lives (30 mins)

Through the ground-breaking work of Iain McGilchrist and his book “The Master and his Emissary”, we will look at the functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they should work together. Critically, working too much through the left brain encourages context blindness, with many unintended and damaging consequences.

2. Example I: Diplomacy and Politics - The Folly of Ideology (15 mins)

3. Example II: The Role of the Media - Annihilating Context (15 mins)

4. Example III: The Dangers of Bureaucratic Thinking (15 mins)

5. Conclusions: The cultural, social and political implications of living in a context blind world, and how we can engage in an ever-expanding context.(15 mins)

6. Discussion – 1 hour

£55.00 GBP per participant.
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    Course Leaders

    IVAN TYRRELL - DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY The Conciliators Guild bringing humanity to global politics
    Ivan Tyrrell, Director of Human Givens College and author.

    JOHN BELL - DIRECTOR The Conciliators Guild bringing humanity to global politics
    John Bell, Director of the Conciliators Guild, diplomat and mediator.


    JOHN ZADA - DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS The Conciliators Guild bringing humanity to global politics

    John Zada, Director of Communications the Conciliators Guild, freelance writer, photographer and journalist.


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