Free-Fall – A series of postings offering perspective and commentary on art and global environmental issues from Joe Carlisi

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Mass Extinction – The Up Side

It has always seemed clear, that the human race was on a collision course: continuous war, unhesitating destruction of natural habitats for quick profits, unbridled expansion, toxic industrial development, overconsumption; indifferent, rapacious creatures, believing themselves to be above and outside of nature — special, superior — never yielding their assumed right of way, entitled to do and have whatever they desire, without pause or consequence. And now, here we are, facing imminent global, environmental meltdown and mass extinction. Produced, directed by and starring… us. Surprise? Hardly.

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Well, let’s not be hasty with judgement. Perhaps, there is a bright side, to this grim, rapidly approaching, end of story.

What if, it all has been predetermined . . . ordained? What if, in fact, we are included in a dynamic continuum of universal process, in an infinite, unbroken web of evolving life and consciousness? Not separate and detached, not the prime mover, as we have led ourselves to believe.

Confusion may be a simple matter of the relativity of perspective. From the up-close, myopic perception of contemporary man, human activity may appear destructive, careless, arrogant … even insane. Let’s face it; what kind of organism willfully and deliberately persists in destroying the host environment on which its very own existence and survival depend? How evolved, superior and special is that?

But, let’s back up a bit and view this self-generated, extinction scenario from a distance. Maybe we are special … in that an impersonal universal force has selected an evolving species (us) to unwittingly engineer the adverse environmental conditions necessary to drive a radical, adaptive response from the entire spectrum of life inhabiting earth. Picture it as a sort of turbo – charged, evolutionary twitch.

Think of it. Humanity, propelled by universal impulse (some might say, “grand” or “divine” plan), sets up and stokes a planetary extinction machine whose momentum builds to a level that decimates all life on earth. Well, it’s never all. Some vestiges and remnants survive, having had the odd, anomalous gene that allows mutation, adaptation and survival. The seminal beginnings of a new balance . . . metamorphosis, transformation and emergence of a more evolved cycle of life. A new world order!

Let’s take this notion one step further. MARS! That’s right, other worlds! The scientific/technical community is currently spending billions in preparation for a human settlement on Mars. Perhaps, our destiny to erase life, in preparation for a next cycle, extends beyond planet earth. We may ultimately be the cosmic broom, sweeping away the old and ushering in the new . . . throughout the entire solar system … the galaxy!

CNN headline on February 11, 2015: “Mars is the next step for humanity — we must take it.” Elon Musk has built a $12 billion company in an endeavor to pave the way to Mars for humanity. He insists that Mars is a “long-term insurance policy” for “the light of consciousness” in the face of climate change, extinction events, and our recklessness with technology. With genius insight, he boldly suggests that we might effect a rapid, positive terraforming result on Mars by “nuking it.”

So, lighten up! Even now, on the very eve of extinction, we continue to move forward with strength, courage and determination to complete the task of annihilation with the almost certain knowledge that our own demise is part of the package. Perhaps, in some distant and hazy future, archaeologists will discover a thin, toxic layer in the geological record of planet earth and reverently intone, “this is what remains of original human civilization… that legendary and special race of beings, avatars of change, martyrs, who sacrificed themselves so that we could be here”.

Motu Dog

A lone dog surveys his remote but peaceful and intact island domain. He quietly utters (in dog – speak), “Ahhhhh, how nice . . . finally . . . the last of those fools finally got off to Mars.”

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Joseph Carlisi – Biography     

Born and raised in New York City, he earned BA and MA degrees in Philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York and then continued his graduate studies in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology working under the mentorship of Marvin Minsky. Joseph worked as a part time content and copy editor for Harvard University Press (science and medicine) while attending M.I.T.     

After ten years as a university lecturer, researcher and administrator, he started and managed an advertising / public relations firm in San Diego, CA that handled a wide range of commercial accounts. On the academic side, he published a series of seven articles on animal behavior for Harvard Magazine and two books: “A Guide to Personal Power” and most recently “Playing God on the Eve of Extinction”.

Joseph Carlisi creates oil on canvas paintings that can be described as vivid, surreal and unexpected. His paintings have been exhibited and sold in: Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, Tokyo, Yokohama, Amsterdam, Berlin and Salvador Brazil.

Joe’s art is available for purchase.

Contact him at carlisijoseph@yahoo.com.Advertisements

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Born and raised in New York City, he earned BA and MA degrees in Philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York and then continued his graduate studies in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology working under the mentorship of Marvin Minsky. Joseph worked as a part time content and copy editor for Harvard University Press (science and medicine) while attending M.I.T. After ten years as a university lecturer, researcher and administrator, he started and managed an advertising / public relations firm in San Diego, CA that handled a wide range of commercial accounts. On the academic side, he published a series of seven articles on animal behavior for Harvard Magazine and two books: “A Guide to Personal Power” and most recently “Playing God on the Eve of Extinction”. Joseph Carlisi creates oil on canvas paintings that can be described as vivid, surreal and unexpected. His paintings have been exhibited and sold in: Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, Tokyo, Yokohama, Amsterdam, Berlin and Salvador Brazil. Joe’s art is available for purchase.