Dreamables, Deniables, Deliverables and Duende
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 30 Nov 2015
Global Dynamics “At the Table” Inspired by Dining and Wining in Practice
Produced on the occasion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Paris, 2015)
Wining and dining are appreciated worldwide in one form or another at all levels of society — whatever the food available. They are a notable feature of global summits, especially in terms of the considerable funds expended. Emblematic of the status of the host country, particular attention is typically accorded to the quality of what is consumed and the manner of its preparation, presentation and delivery. The setting may also be a major consideration — possibly including the view offered from the table. The arrangement of the table may also be a major concern — again, especially in the case of diplomatic gatherings.
Given the way in which “table” is used as a common metaphor for the agenda and process of global negotiation, there is a case for exploring how other aspects of the wining and dining process might subtly inform the dynamics of such negotiation. The justification lies in the considerable experience of wining and dining and the expertise that is brought to it. This is most evident in the competitive categorization of restaurants, the distinctions accorded to master chefs, the gourmet appreciation of wines or beers, and the cultivation of such understanding by the media.
The focus here is however on what is typically missing from such consideration of wining and dining, namely the quality of discourse which it might be held to enable — other than with respect to what is consumed. Recognition of this could then enable new questions to be raised regarding the quality of discourse around a negotiating table — whether at a global summit or at any archetypal Round Table of the Wise.
The following argument can be understood as being in three parts. Emphasis is first placed on the challenges of project management in reconciling visions with deliverables, followed by consideration of the wining and dining experience as a metaphor thereof. The argument concludes with speculation on an alternative framing through the experiential subtleties of duende, saudade and mono no aware — together with consideration of enabling possibilities.
Exploitation of the metaphor frames the question as to who are the “waiters” whose respectful attendance is required at any global negotiating table — aside from the “sherpas“? What is expected of those “waiters”? What are they entitled to expect? Why indeed are they waiting?
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 30 Nov 2015.
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