In the 1940s Enrico Fermi was listening to other distinguished physicists discuss the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. Given an enormous universe, it seems scientifically unlikely that life has only occurred on this planet. It appears, for example, that planets orbit most stars that could sustain life. It also seems that, when life evolves, it is likely to produce intelligent beings given enough time. Finally, they argued, an intelligent species capable of exponential reproduction could colonise a galaxy in a million years. At this point Fermi stepped into the conversation and asked ‘So where is everybody?’ The question ‘Why haven’t we found any aliens yet?’ has become known as Fermi’s Paradox.
There’s a lot of insecurity in the job market these days, so it’s natural to want to play it safe; and the safest option is normally to do what everyone else is doing. To hide ourselves in the herd. So what does this mean? It means to cram our days with activity, to respond instantly to every message and request; to be always on and always available. To race from meeting to meeting, proclaiming in our body language or our conversations how busy we are; because hat’s what everyone else is doing. Anything less would make us stand out; anything less would exposed us and put us at risk.
Let’s say you have just had a heart attack.
It came out of nowhere and has really shaken you: heart attacks happen to other people. As you recover in hospital, your doctor comes to you with a blunt message: change your lifestyle or you will die. How do you rate your chances of making that change? How confident are you that you would successfully change your lifestyle and therefore go on to lead a long and fruitful life? Continue reading…