Poison the River – Part 3

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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.

I hope we can agree on one thing: Everything goes in cycles. Nothing lasts forever (OK, two things).

We’ve been on a 150-200 year cycle of
“progress” that’s become increasingly rapid, and now maybe we can settle down a little. Of course things can
still feel productive. And I’m certainly not romanticizing the past. I’m
thrilled about indoor plumbing, etc.

But now we can actually see, hear, and measure the impact of
seeking tangible monetary gains over any kind of loss. Relationships are being torn apart. Relationship to the
things we do, the people we love, the food we eat, and the place we call home.

From what I can tell, it must be really important to either
have lots money in the bank or be absolutely sure that everyone else’s
interpretation of God is wrong (or both). And it seems to help if everyone
looks and acts pretty much like you do.

This can’t be right. There has to be another way. I know, I
know–it’s always been this way, it’s the human condition, etc., but I don’t believe
it. You want progress? I’ll give you progress: human beings in respectful
relation to themselves and the world they inhabit, living as a part of an
ecosystem. Forget tolerance–I’m talking about respect.

We’ve all been wounded. We all were born needing love and
nurturing. And none of us got it the way we’d hoped for. It’s impossible.

So let’s see that in each other. We should respect each other for the
complicated lives we’ve all led, and acknowledge that many are trying to live up to something or someone in
order to be seen and heard (and fed and loved). We start life seeking acceptance
and fearing harsh judgment.

I’m not saying we all have to like each other (I just let a
bunch of people off the hook, including me), but respect has compassion hidden
somewhere inside it. “I may not like you, but I know that you have a story that
got you where you are.” We must have respect for someone else’s path; compassion for someone
else’s pain.

If the river helps keep the water in circulation, when it’s
poisoned, the whole system is sick. Get the poison out and the system will
eventually return to a healthy balance.

I believe that as we hear more people’s stories, the various
poisons in the river will become more obvious. Then we can head upstream and
start cleaning it up.

It’s time to remember the mystery: We’ve mapped the planet
and enough of the universe. The subatomic world is just too damn small. Don’t
forget that when the greatest scientists come to great conclusions, they always
recognize that there is a place that will always be unknowable. We’ve always
needed stories to make sense of this. But many of the recent ones –say, the last few thousand years–don’t
serve us too well now. We need new stories; stories to live in to.

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

Image courtesy of Editor B, licensed underCreative Commons.

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