The phrase in the title is borrowed from Gregory Bateson, a researcher in cybernetics and social sciences, who has had a lot of impact on theories and research on relationships.
Context is a basic concept in communication science, and many other fields. By context we can mean very many different things. We can talk about time and place, a certain situation, the context of national, organisational or family cultures, personal lifestories, relationships and so on. One could propably say that its a subjective framework defined by personal experiences and interpretations. At the same time multiple contexts are provoked: our individual contexts, the shared ones, and the broader universal ones are present at once. Sometimes we are conscious about them, sometimes not.
Context is a very useful term and can be used to make sense how and why we act in a certain way in certain situations. Every communicative act can be understood and interpreted by exploring the context where the communicative act takes place. In other words, our actions get their meaning through context. For example a phrase ”I like you” can be interpreted very differently in different places and in different relationships.
In order to create better, more appropriate and more productive patterns of communication, we need to clarify the contexts where those patterns emerge. If we want to create innovative forms of collaboration, we need to coordinate our understandings of different contexts and the connections between them. In that sense managers and leaders have an important role to coordinate the contexts of individuals, groups and make the connections to organisational contexts.
If we ignore contexts we can miss a lot of beauty around us. I want to share with you a short film that has left a mark in me.
The story related to the film can be read here.
Merry Christmas to all of you! And may year 2012 bring you flourishing contexts!