Utne Blogs > Change Our Story

Change Our Story

Composer, author and philanthropist Peter Buffett on finding your own path to life fulfillment.


The Skin We're In

Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is an Emmy Award-winning composer, NY Times best-selling author and noted philanthropist. Currently, he is releasing socially-conscious music and touring his "Concert & Conversation" series in support of his book Life Is What You Make It.    


Peter Buffett's cover of "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by REM

Here’s what I believe on Christmas and every other day of the year: That Jesus was saying that the power of God is within you; that we all are reflections of and are at the same time— emanating—God. Just like everything around us.

And then someone sees the power of that and puts up a tollbooth.

There is no such thing as original sin. Period. There is an original wound—the disconnection from source—that we’re all searching for. But that source is actually with us all the time—like Dorothy’s shoes. That’s what all the great teachers and prophets tell us.

But we’re so hungry for it that we’ll believe others before we believe ourselves. And before you know it, it’s a religion, a political system, a social construct.

It’s natural for man to create systems to create meaning. It’s happened since we came down from the trees (or wherever you believe we came from). Gods were in the seasons and then we domesticated plants. Gods were in the wild beasts and then we domesticated the animals. Gods were in the heavens and then we charted the stars and planets.

Only then did we start to look inward. It must be us! Monotheism begins ... science gets smaller ... psychological thought begins ... everything starts to look like a mechanism just waiting to be analyzed.

Culture is just a construct built to make sense of the world and our place in it.

And now—in this time and place—nearly every construct is broken. Education, politics, religion, and economic systems are all institutions that have lost the connection to the people within them. But we are still here.  

All you have to do is combine our knowledge of history with the lessons of nature to know that nothing lasts. So why do we hold on so tightly to things that no longer serve us? Fear, of course. And that’s what culture loves the most. Culture will hold on at any cost. It doesn’t care about you or me. And fear is the go-to position.

From the fear of God to the fear of paying the mortgage to the fear of not being seen as cool. It’s a lockdown. Culture has us in a chokehold.

But none of it is real. Oh, it looks real—unimaginable to get out of. That’s the neatest trick of all. But check your shoes: the power of God is within you.

It’s written that Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And by neighbor, that means whatever relationship you happen to be in at the moment.

The divine is not in anything, but it’s between everything. 

Everything has turned into a transaction. But we live in a world of relationships.

Love is the only power that can counter fear. This is not a feel-good platitude. It’s truth. And sometimes it can be hard work, but not as hard as seeing children die and billions suffer. No prophet could have imagined that we would put this level of so-called profit over humanity.

It’s said that, for instance, these taxes on the rich will stifle capitalism. Seriously?? The most important thing to rich people is to get richer? What world do we live in that puts more stuff for people with a bunch of stuff above compassion?

The human experiment is about to fail. I don’t believe it will. But we must be willing to see the skin we’re in and that it’s infected with fear. It must be shed.

What do you think? Share your story at changeourstory.com. Visit www.peterbuffett.com to learn more and Change Our Story to join the conversation on how we all can become active participants in shaping our future.