When famous Greek historian Herodotus, travelled to Persia around 450 B.C., he found a culture that deeply valued the wisdom that comes while being drunk. The Persians he encountered would make sure that particularly important arguments were debated both while sober and drunk, as only ideas that made sense in both states were truly worthwhile. This process went both ways: Arguments originally had while drunk would be debated again the next day in soberness, and dry arguments would be followed up with discussions over wine.
Snippet of info originally found here.
Here is what Herodotus said on the matter: ...they are wont to deliberate when drinking hard about the most important of their affairs, and whatsoever conclusion has pleased them in their deliberation, this on the next day, when they are sober, the master of the house in which they happen to be when they deliberate lays before them for discussion: and if it pleases them when they are sober also, they adopt it, but if it does not please them, they let it go: and that on which they have had the first deliberation when they are sober, they consider again when they are drinking.
Herodutus’ Histories, Book I, chapter 133, here.
However, I would love to see it brought into some of the debates around museums, galleries, libraries and places of cultural value. Debating rights and wrongs and budgets can be done as a cold exercise, with facts and numbers. But there are also deep emotional issues around these places, their messages, and the work they do. Though these two sides do need to be carefully balanced out (there isn't a pot of magic funding, no matter how good all the projects) it would perhaps help perception if some of the inhibitions were removed from the debate.
Recently I was told of a Councillor who broke into tears during a council session, because they couldn't face the cuts they were having to make. Some of the public gallery apparently heckled, but for me, that breaking of self restraint shows how human and troubled the budget slashers can be - trying to implement cuts imposed from above. If a drunken member of the board, or local councilor, could open up on how they feel about the processes, their frustrations, the complexity, the decisions, those on the front line may find it easier to stomach the end impact (still not liking it, but perhaps not bearing any personal malice)
Likewise if those trying to save services and scrape money together were given an open and relaxed environment to describe the deep personal and societal impact of the changes, then stories might emerge where they are listened to, and truly empathised with. These may, in some cases help sway and secure choices, but if nothing else, it would hopefully make the decisions makers honestly feel the drip down impact as more than numbers and stats.
Whether you believe Herodotus or not, there is good reason for the proverb: In Vino Veritas.* Open, honest and emotionally uninhibited debating may not bring opposing sides into agreement, but it may bring them closer to appreciation.
(The other side, is that being uninhibited and slinging vitriol about may put back careful negotiations, but as with any drunken evening, having someone sober enough to pull you on track helps.)
*In wine there is truth - yes, I'm quoting Latin.