A Short Personal Philosophy
A book is written to disseminate thought and ideas. The reader asks who is this writer to make judgements on the world and humanity? This page can say who I am only in my own eyes. The views of others are varied. Recently I have been labelled a zealot-greenie, a fascist, a lefty and much worse because I have questioned some of the fundamental tenets of liberal democracy and suggested reforms. Apart from my medical papers and books, the common theme of my writings and indeed my life is the state of the world; what we can do about it for we face such overwhelming problems. We must explore all possible solutions.
Nations can display huge contrasts from the inspirational Gettysburg address to the evils of Guantanamo. Individually each of us sits in the spectrum of intent somewhere between Mother Teresa and Conrad Black. All of us at sometime do terrible things to other humans and often inadvertently to the future of the world. Each of us has the capacity for kindness, compassion, charity and courage and also an ability to participate in genocide. We need to recognise these propensities and work to counter the destructive ones, for the health of each of us and our planet is wedded to their solution. Today our culture has tempted the world into a junk society that promotes junk bonds, junk food, junk mortgages and just junk, throwaway consumables. Some float in ever-widening pools in the doldrums of the oceans. All of us participate.
Humanity has to come to terms quickly with these realities for the Science that we mostly trust since the Enlightenment blossomed, now predicts a dark future. Collapse of our life support systems is at hand from climate change and other human activities.
I have a simple philosophy of life that we must all work individually and collectively to solve these problems. It is not always easy, for good intent cuts across vested interests and attracts ostracism and even legal retribution. However, in Biblical terms we cannot pass by on the other side, we have to stop and help and yes, there is fulfilment in the friendships and the role of helping, for society will survive by collectivism rather than remain besotted by the uninhibited freedoms of liberal democracy. To some these have become freedoms to wreck the earth.
- Medicine (MB. Ch.B) and Science (Ph.D) at Edinburgh University
- Specialist in gastroenterology and general medicine
- Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Some Contributions to Society
- Lifelong practicing physician. Patients come first.
- Founder, Doctors for the Environment Australia www.dea.org.au
- Teaching, research and care of patients at Edinburgh, Yale and Adelaide University Medical Schools
- Emeritus Professor of Medicine University of Adelaide, South Australia
- Founding Editor, Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
- Editor and contributor to the textbook Diseases of the Gastrointestinal Tract and Liver (with Dr. Niall Finlayson). Three editions.
- Over 200 medical and scientific articles in the literature
- Past-President of the Conservation Council of South Australia.
I love the mountains. I had the fortune to go to a wonderful school where every day carried a new excitement. Tom Bourdillon, a climber on the successful Everest expedition came to school to present prizes and to talk to us and I was inspired to develop my climbing skills. I have climbed extensively in the European Alps; there is nothing to surpass the peace and spiritual experience of walking and climbing in the mountains.
Society increasingly suffers from Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). We are sundered from our biological roots and psychological needs in the environment by urbanisation and sitting in front of a collection of screens. Families explore the shopping malls in vain search of life’s gifts; the fields and bush are empty of free and laughing children. I love gardening; it satisfies a basic need of contact with the earth with a cleansing of the mind from the rubbish in life. Grow your own vegies, preferably organically and you will be happier and healthier.
All of us are happier when creating something. I have expressed life in my paintings, oils and acrylics.
If I was cast up to be isolated onto a desert island, apart from food and shelter what few needs would I hope had been ship-wrecked with me?
Photographs of my family, Clare, Richard, Susan and Philip and my favourite places, Mount Lofty in the Adelaide Hills, Cow Bay in the Daintree Rainforest, Zenlauinen in the Saas Valley in Switzerland, and Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.
Postcards of paintings by Peploe, Van Gogh and Matisse.
Recordings of music by Elgar, Mozart, Brahms, Dvorak and Sibelius.
Books and writings by James Lovelock, Healing Gaia. He is a brilliant scientist and thinker, never subject to the cage of academia, Pierre Ryckmans The View from the Bridge, George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal Farm, John Ralston Saul, The Collapse of Globalism, John Gray Straw Dogs, Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang and Somerset Maugham The Complete Selection of Short Stories.
Moonscape From Alaska