Poison the River – Part 2

article image

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.

For many thousands of years, most of life was a mystery.
Still today it can feel pretty mysterious walking on an unlit country road. We
created many (many, many) stories to account for the things we didn’t
understand. Unknown places were where the gods and scary things lived.

Season’s cycles were a mystery …. and then we domesticated
plants. Animals were a mystery … and then we domesticated animals. The stars
and planets were a mystery … and then we charted the heavens. Having looked
outward, we started looking inward. Anatomy, psychology, quantum mechanics; everything
became “understood.” Science was trying to prove that everything was measurable
and could be named – or it just wasn’t “real.”

For the past 150 years, change has come more rapidly. It’s
often called progress. From electricity, the telephone, and broadcasting, to steam power, the assembly line, and air
travel. Throw in refrigeration and advertising and you’ve got a lot of things
to adjust to. It’s no wonder that the things on the planet involved in all this
got a little off track. No wonder it’s called progress and seemingly everyone
wants in on it. It feels pretty damn exciting.

But recent progress has given us something old again: the
ability to hear stories from the storyteller. That hasn’t happened in about
500 years. The printing press was the first form of broadcasting; the first
time the story was separated from the storyteller. Increasingly, our ability to
relate to each other became more fragmented.

The nuclear family? 
It’s a myth; part of the problem, actually.

It was brought about through modern convenience … and home
mortgages. At birth, we used to be passed around. Taken care of by people that
loved us as we learned to trust, mostly with our eyes. Bonds were formed at
the very earliest age through eye contact and touch. Starting about sixty years
ago, things started to change. All manner of things allowed the family to
become more insular. I certainly remember making myself a TV dinner more than
once.

This lessened the ability for most of us–you, and me, and
Dick Cheney among others–to create the neural pathways that for millennia
helped us understand our fellow man and be confident in safe, loving
relationships. It wasn’t perfect, but it was markedly different.

Next week: Can we turn this ship around?

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 Hieropenen, licensed underCreative Commons.

UTNE
UTNE
In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.