Originally published in Resurgence magazine
I studied medicine at Sydney University and practised for 12 years after graduating in 1968, but I have always been an activist at heart. During my tenure at the Royal Canberra Hospital, I joined other doctors to certify young men who did not wish to fight in the Vietnam War as unfit to be conscripted. I moved to Tasmania in 1972 to take up a post as a GP and in the years after became active in the state’s environmental movement and joined the newly formed United Tasmania Group (the world’s first-ever Green Party). In 1976 I campaigned to overturn the law that made homosexuality a crime in Tasmania, and I spent a week fasting on top of Mount Wellington in protest against the arrival at Hobart of the nuclear-powered warship USS Enterprise.Read more
Never before has the Universe unfolded such a flower as our collective human intelligence, so far as we know.
Nor has such a one-and-only brilliance in the Universe stood at the brink of extinction, so far as we know.
We people of the Earth exist because our potential was there in the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, as the Universe exploded into being.
So far, it seems like we are the lone thinkers in this vast, expanding Universe.
However, recent astronomy tells us that there are trillions of other planets circling Sunlike stars in the immensity of the Universe, millions of them friendly to life. So why has no one from elsewhere in the Cosmos contacted us?
Surely some people-like animals have evolved elsewhere. Surely we are not, in this crowded reality of countless other similar planets, the only thinking beings to have turned up. Most unlikely! So why isn't life out there contacting us? Why aren't the intergalactic phones ringing?