If you listen to G’Day World or The Father Bob Show, you know that my messianic complex sometimes runs at full tilt. In a range of conversations I’ve had with people over the last couple of weeks, I keep returning to the same point – we (and by "we" I mean anyone with the time and equipment to read this post) are unbelievably fortunate.

According to Wikipedia:

The most widely accepted view among current anthropologists is that Homo sapiens originated in the African savanna between 200,000 and 250,000 years ago, descending from Homo erectus, and colonized Eurasia and Oceania by 40,000 years ago, and finally colonized the Americas by 10,000 years ago.

So let’s say in 250,000 years there have been 8500 generations of Homo Sapien walk this world. We are without doubt the most fortunate by a HUGE factor. We have everything that previous generations would have literally died for. We have shelter, food, comfort in abundance. And we take them for granted. These things were inconceivable luxuries to 99.999% of the people who preceded us and yet we take them for granted. We spend our free time thinking about Big Brother and the football and who won the Oscars. Sometimes I think we do not deserve our place in history.

And so I ask myself on a daily basis… "What am I doing with this privilege? What am I doing to justify my place in history? What will be the legacy of my time here? A pot of gold in a superannuation fund? Or am I building a better world for my kids and their kids?"

Podcasting, for me, isn’t just a business. It’s the manifestation of my mission do make the world a better place in some tiny way.

If you haven’t already heard it, I highly recommend Larry Brilliant’s TED talk.

Larry Brilliant is an epidemiologist who presided over the last case of Smallpox on the planet. He also founded the Seva Foundation, which works to reverse cases of blindness, and co-founded several technology start-ups, including the legendary online community, The Well. He was recently named Executive Director of the Google Foundation.

In this talk, he explains in fascinating detail the key behind the successful WHO campaign to eradicate Smallpox, and then unveils his TEDPrize wish: to build a global system that detects each new disease or disaster as it emerges or occurs.

It’s this last bit that gets me – Larry has a vision for an open, community driven system for the early detection and elimination of viruses and diseases to prevent a future global pandemic. Larry has already changed the world in his lifetime and is trying to change the world in his lifetime – again.

What can I do? What can you do? We are just mere mortals. I’m not a Larry Brilliant or a Bill Gates or a Bono. I’m just a guy who wants to do SOMETHING. Something to justify the oxygen I consume. Something to justify the legacy of 250,000 years of human struggle which I have inherited. Something to make the world a safer and better place for future generations. Something which will contribute to the 5 billion years of evolution this planet has already experienced. Something that MATTERS. That’s all I want.