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Peter Buffett

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Change Our Story: My 'Complex' Week

Posted: 08/07/2013 11:41 am

What a week! I'm guessing that I might have a few new readers...

I've been writing recently because so many of my songs just didn't seem to say it all. My op-ed in the New York Times came from the same source -- a song. To put it more correctly, a set of experiences came first... then the song.

So I'm not writing from the seat of thoughtful analysis (which caused severe frustration to a few!). I'm writing from artistic expression. This distinction may be part of our collective problem. Instead of reductionist thinking -- which science and much analyzing is wont to do. I prefer expansionist thinking. What's possible? What have we not thought of?

It was fascinating to read the criticisms of my piece -- as the writers took it apart bit by bit. While the people that "got it" saw it for what it was -- a broad observation of deeply rooted, systemic issues -- which need to be raised and named so they can be talked about and transformed.

I've always enjoyed checking out "deleted scenes" from movies. So I thought I'd print a few things that were left on the cutting room floor, so to speak, from my op-ed.

Here's an additional comment about Colonialism:

That's not to say that outside influences can't bring helpful guidance or tools. The American Indians appreciated certain Western influences (the horse, for example).

A rather cheeky comment that spoke to the fact that even the worst behavior can bring some positive outcomes.

I had worked closely inside the American Indian culture for over a decade -- that informed me of just how destructive one worldview can be on another (a gross understatement even as I write... if our possible future was destroyed by a single point in time, it was when the Portuguese, Spanish and British started to occupy this Hemisphere).

And further elucidation about the business of philanthropy:

Consider this: who in the world with a steady job that gives them purpose and a pay check gets up in the morning with the full intention and hope of losing that job?
There are thousands upon thousands of people working in the philanthropic sector -- both on the "giving" and the "getting" side of the money flow. It's a massive business. Nobody really wants to lose the safety of his or her job.

The point being, that everyone in the philanthropic sector should be driven to lose their job.

And business principles in philanthropic circles?

Shouldn't we have been thinking of these breakthrough ideas like "triple bottom line" say... 500 years ago??

And finally, a few of the finishing comments that got left behind -- a few more thoughts to consider, and maybe discuss.

I'm all for empowerment.... But people don't actually need to be empowered.... They need to live in conditions that allow their existing power to be exercised. We're all born with whatever qualities we're born with... it's the system we're born into that takes our ability to live into our true nature away from us.

Now that technology has allowed us to see our brothers and sisters in all corners of the planet, we have definitive proof that the system is broken on a global scale. As a species, we've only been able to visit far off lands on an affordable scale for the last four or five decades. This is new information! Philanthropy is a band-aid -- a seemingly quick fix for our growing realization that humanity cannot sustain itself if we're treating our own as cattle or worse.

Now might be the time for me to sell you some great idea or tell you about a break through organization. But I'm just reporting. Because of who my father is, I've been able to occupy some seats I never expected to sit in. And I guess, somehow, I've managed to keep part of my brain connected to the 7 year-old kid that says, "does anyone else see what I'm seeing?"

I made a point of staying away from most press after the piece was published. I'm really not interested in getting into too much of debate over one approach over another -- one specific point being right or wrong. I'm interested in calling out what I'm seeing. It will only be interesting -- and worth discussing -- to others if they're seeing it, too.

The Emperor Has No Clothes was not about shaming the Emperor. It was about stating what appeared obvious to the child (and it's no surprise it was a child).

 

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