We Can Do Better Than This

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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.

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.

We can fly thousands of planes around the world safely
everyday and build a network of satellites that move ridiculous amounts of data.

So why are we still calling each other names, trying to
hoard all the stuff, and shooting each other?

Is this it? Can you really call the last few thousand years
progress? If you’ve been reading earlier blogs, you know I’m a fan of indoor
plumbing. And refrigeration is handy. There are plenty of things about our
march towards the future that are nice to have around. But we’re still treating
each other the same way that we have for a really long time.

Now I use “we” pretty generally. There’s no question that
there are pockets of cultures and communities that were not constantly beating
each other up in some way. But, on balance, I’m not seeing a great improvement
in compassion and respect over time. 

What’s the story? I don’t want to believe that this is it–human nature,
etc. I want to believe that we have some evolution left in us.

At this moment, we are the custodians of our future. This is
a relatively new concept in its totality. Sure, we know most indigenous
communities have a deep understanding of how their actions will effect future generations.
But let’s face it: it’s easy to have that worldview when you aren’t facing
problems on a global scale. Things are different now. So we have to behave
differently. And we’re not.

And because we’re not, we’re going to quite possibly kill
our children’s children. Does that get the point across? Do you care about your
children’s children? Or will it be enough that you’re off the planet and you
got yours?

I think that’s pretty much the world we’re living in. And,
again, I use “we” generally. There are billions of people that have no real say
in the matter. But we’ll probably kill their children’s children, too.

We’ve got some serious story changing to do.

I think some radical shifts in thinking have to occur. The
good news is that we probably behaved pretty well in our deeper past. I
actually think human nature is a pretty loving and kind nature. It’s culture
that gets in the way. A culture is dead when a set of beliefs kills. And we
have a lot of killing going on. And sometimes in very subtle ways.

I think placing blame just feeds the beast. That’s pretty
obvious. So what do we do? All say “truce,” lay down our arms, cash in our
stocks, shake hands, and have a party? Oh right– my 4-year-old voice can only
take me so far.

And John Lennon and Yoko Ono thought of that in the ’70:

War Is Over
If You Want It.

I hope we get some folks talking back here. Or over at
Change Our Story. I’m not the “end of the world” type. But there are all sorts
of graphs that show really terrible things happening if we don’t change our
behavior quickly. There’s been a long search for unifying theories–it’s a
classic quest. Can we find one that works for mankind?

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 DaMenace through Uncyclomedia Commons.

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