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


top of the article

Mass Extinction – The Positive Side

It always seemed clear that the human race was on a collision course: continuous warfare, unhesitating destruction of natural habitats for quick profits, rampant expansion, toxic industrial development, overconsumption; indifferent, rapacious creatures, believing themselves above and outside of nature – special, superior – never yielding their supposed right of way, having the right to do and have whatever they desire, without pause or consequence . And now we are faced with an impending global environmental collapse and mass extinction. Produced, produced by and with… us. Surprise? Barely.

on line

Well, let’s not be hasty with judgment. Perhaps there is a silver lining to this rapidly approaching dark end to the story.

And if, everything had been predetermined. . . ordered? What if, in fact, we were included in a dynamic continuum of universal process, in an infinite and unbroken web of evolving life and consciousness? Not separate and detached, not the prime mover, as we’ve led ourselves to believe.

The confusion may be a simple matter of relativity of perspective. From the close and myopic perception of contemporary man, human activity can seem destructive, negligent, arrogant… even crazy. Let’s face it; what type of organism voluntarily and deliberately persists in destroying the host environment upon which its very existence and survival depend? How evolved, superior and special is it?

But let’s step back a bit and look at this self-generated remote extinction scenario. Perhaps we are special…in that an impersonal universal force selected an evolving species (us) to unwittingly create the adverse environmental conditions necessary to elicit a radical and adaptive response from the full spectrum of life. inhabiting the earth. Imagine it as some sort of turbo-charged evolutionary twitch.

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

Let’s push this notion a little further. MARCH! That’s right, other worlds! The scientific/technical community is currently spending billions to prepare a human settlement on Mars. Perhaps our destiny to wipe out life, in preparation for a next cycle, extends beyond planet Earth. We can ultimately be the cosmic broom, sweeping away the old and ushering in the new. . . throughout the solar system… the galaxy!

CNN headline on February 11, 2015: “Mars is humanity’s next step – we must take it.” Elon Musk has built a $12 billion company with the goal of paving 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 could achieve a rapid and positive terraforming outcome on Mars by “nucleating” it.

So relax! Even now, on the very eve of extinction, we continue to press forward with strength, courage and determination to complete the task of annihilation almost certainly knowing that our own demise is part of the whole. Perhaps, in the distant, hazy future, archaeologists will discover a toxic thin layer in the geological records of planet Earth and say reverently, “This is what remains of the original human civilization…this legendary and special race beings, avatars of change, martyrs, who have sacrificed themselves so that we are here”.

Motu dog

A lone dog watches over his remote but peaceful and untouched island estate. He utters softly (in dog-talk), “Ahhhhh, how sweet . . . finally . . . the last of these fools has finally gone to Mars.


Joseph Carlisi – Biography

Born and raised in New York City, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from Hunter College, City University of New York, then pursued graduate studies in philosophy and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 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 MIT

After ten years as a college professor, researcher, and administrator, he started and ran an advertising/PR company in San Diego, California that handled a wide range of business accounts. On the academic side, he has published a series of seven articles on animal behavior for Harvard Magazine and two books: “A Guide to Personal Power” and more recently “Playing god on the eve of extinction”.

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

Joe’s art is available for purchase.

Contact him at





Comments are closed.