Apparently, Peter Buffett, the 52-year-old son of billionaire Warren Buffett has managed to breakout of the stereotype set for him by growing up to be rather normal.
Of course, anything north of self-absorbed drug addict would probably suffice as a breakout life for one born into such wealth, ironically enough. But that's far from Peter Buffett's reality.
Publicizing his new book, called Life is What You Make it: Finding Your Own Path to Fulfillment, he says that his parents taught him "values" that kept him out of trouble and, well, helped him find his own path to fulfillment.
Buffett enumerates some of the values he learned from his parents--trust, tolerance, belief in education, strong work ethic--but the values he's talking about is not a finite list like most of what we write on the internet--"5 Values for a Happier You," ergo. It's more general than that and more nebulous.
"And what is good, Phædrus, and what is not good . . . Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?" is a line spoken by Socrates from Phædrus, one of Plato's Dialogues. Robert Persig uses it to open his book of modern wisdom, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the subtitle of which is An Inquiry into Values.
When Buffett talks about values, Persig argues, we all know what he's talking about. To paraphrase Socrates, "Do we really need someone to tell us these things?"
Throughout Zen and the Art, Persig traces the origins of the loss of the values-oriented mentality--the same mentality Buffett is advocating--to the big three of Greek philosophy, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Through several sets of mental gymnastics, these three esteemed philosophers, according to Persig, handed down to us the modern valueless mentality that pervades the world today.
"The results of Socrates’ martyrdom and Plato’s unexcelled prose that followed are nothing less than the whole world of Western man as we know it," he writes. In another passage, Persig describes this "structure of reason" that they created as, "emotionally hollow, esthetically meaningless and spiritually empty."
This is the result of the elevation of Truth over values, Persig believes. The good news is that the system is self-correcting. Whenever values are restored to preeminence, good results obtain.
The Buffett family, most would agree, is an excellent example of this principle.
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Photo credit: Business Insider
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