Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Journey - Day 6

I wake up to a morning of clear skies. The storm has headed north, and since I don’t need to go that way, my flight home should be fine.

For our last session the moderators turn the tables on us – we have to moderate the texts. (This is a problem because I haven’t finished reading them). We get broken up in teams, each with a different text. My team gets – you guessed it – the Greek one.

Moderating is not easy. You need to know where you want to go, but also be open to letting the discussion take you somewhere else. The conversation takes a life of its own, and you can discover things in the text that you hadn’t seen. I guess it is like any conversation – including the conversation between brands and consumers. You can’t be assured of where it will end, and you have to be constantly listening and adjusting.

The final topic is community. Where do individual rights end and the common good begin? How do we avoid the over consumption that is leading to a global ecological crisis? What is the responsibility of each person? As a final exercise the moderators ask us to place ourselves on an axis between liberty and equality on one hand, and community and efficiency on the other. Over the course of the session some people have shifted from the quadrant of efficiency and liberty to that of community and equality; but most feel that they can no longer define their beliefs on only one dimension, that we are smack in the middle.

We end the session somewhat subdued but contented. We have been given – and have given back in return – a lot to think about over the past week. With much hugs and promises to keep in touch, those of us who have to leave that afternoon pick up our bags and head to our various airport shuttles.

On the four hour flight home my mind keeps turning and turning. I never do make it to reading that Vanity Fair.

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