We Can Do Better Than This

| 11/28/2012 11:25:30 AM

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.
evolution of man 

As I will probably say in many blogs, I’m all too aware that there are people that know way more than I do regarding just about everything I write. Generally, I’m just making observations as a casual but curious (and concerned) bystander. Often I find that my thoughts about a lot of things haven’t changed that much from when I was, say, 4 years old.

So with all that being said. This is what my 4-year-old self thought this week:

I’m surprised that we’re not further along in our development as humans.

We’ve all heard the old, “If they can put a man on the moon, why can’t we have ...” (Something like – “shorter lines at the DMV?”)

But seriously, we’ve gone through some ice ages, fought a gazillion wars, built pyramids, and come up with a bunch of math and science and amazing art. We can put a man on the moon.

12/14/2012 10:17:15 AM

I like that you're asking the right questions! I'll add some: How can we break the classic cultural manipulations that keep us desperate and at each others' throats? The Catholic Church learned that by regulating and controlling peoples' sex lives through fear of hell and stake burnings, they gained awesome power over their lives and could turn that into a global mega-business. The Republican Party learned that by feeding voters hate spew over hot-button cultural issues, they could get voters to vote against their own economic interests. Advertising works on the same principles, and wars are sold to entire populations using the same principles. Humans are easily manipulated en masse by tapping their most base emotions. So how can we break these puppet strings forever? How can we self-evolve right now and become free, loving individuals without war and fear and hatred? Probably from each other. Stop judging and start accepting the other guy for who he is. Because I'm the way to get to you, and you're the way I get to me. We need each other to evolve and become happy. Problem is right now, most of us believe we only need Jesus or granite countertops or a Lexus or a bullet in that terrorist to be happy. Good luck with that.

Pity Add
12/10/2012 8:42:24 PM

I actually think we are doing BETTER in regard to how we treat each other than our ancestors did. If you actually look at the realities of our ancient past, and how "primitive" still tribal folk still live today, you see a LOT of violence, vengeance, vendettas, oppression of women. Some few nationalities escaped this fate, but they really are few and far-between. If you look at how primate tribes co-relate you will pretty much see the way our natures are structured. Yet we fight the brutality in our natures constantly. We deserve a lot of credit for that. It's not easy, and it ain't pretty but we do not give up the fight to always be better. I think we are pretty cool. (The wonderful book 'Generosity & Jealousy,' by Christopher Lindholm, is a marvelous exploration of our natural desire for altruism in the harshest of circumstances.)

Valerie Taylor
11/30/2012 9:09:50 PM

I Have some cathartic ranting to do and this seems like the right forum for it- brace yourselves :) There certainly is a lot wrong with the human sphere of today as well as the stagnation of our cultural evolution as a whole that has been an issue for quite some time now. People do need to shift their thinking into a more generous direction; to become more mindful that their lives are bigger than themselves and the relatively small social sphere in which they live day to day. People need to stop disregarding the potential impact that an individual can have- both for the positive and the negative. I personally am tired of hearing about the 99% versus the 1%, not because I disagree with the premise, but because I think there's a certain amount of displaced blame going on. I do believe that there is something morally wrong with amassing (and hoarding) the amount of wealth that would put one in the 1% economic sphere of individuals; that it is unconscionable to have so much when so many people suffer for a lack of a basic means for survival. I also believe that it is by the greed-driven decisions of many in the 1% that our economic, ecological, and social present and futures have gone into such a tailspin. However, I don't think that all these things must stand because the majority of FINANCIAL resources are held by 1% of the population. The only way that so few can have such power over so many is if the many are persuaded to feel impotent, when in reality they hold all the cards. That's the cause the 99% should rally around. People need to be made to understand how much power they really have as individuals. That their voices don't fall on deaf ears. That every impact, however seemingly small, is immeasurably meaningful to those who benefit from it. Big change starts small, with you, with me, with all of us. Creating change is a personal responsibility. An individual responsibility. Not one to be set aside until it's more personally convenient or until a bigger group has amassed to do the legwork. Now, I'm not discounting the importance of working with large, well-established non-profit groups and organizations that work toward positive social/economic/ecological change; but one needn't feel that their only chance to make a difference is to join in on large groups such as those. People can forge their own paths. We have innumerable options to make a difference. I think what my rant has come down to is that if anything is to positively change in the world as a whole, blame needs to stop being redistributed up and down the economic ladder. That blame, in and of itself, needs to stop being focused on. It's too unproductive and too deeply intertwined into too many different facets of life to be a useful tool in guiding change. Emboldening the individual to be an impetus of positive change is the only way to see any broad, positive impacts on our present and our "children's children's" futures. That was a good rant. I feel a little better now- VT

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