Environmental Collapse and Extinction: The Bright Side

It has always seemed painfully clear, that the human race was on a collision course: incessant war, casual destruction of natural habitats for quick profits, unbridled expansion, overconsumption; an indifferent, rapacious creature, believing itself to be above and outside of nature -- special, superior, made in the image and likeness of the creator -- never yielding its assumed right of way, entitled to do and have whatever it desires, without consequence. And now, never having paused or skipped a beat, standing, face to face with a global, environmental meltdown and mass extinction produced, directed by and starring... us. Surprise? Hardly. Seems like the inevitable, sadly predictable conclusion.

Well, let's not be hasty with judgement. Perhaps, there is a bright side, to this grim, rapidly approaching, end of story. Maybe, we only think that we have the power to act, to be agents with free will and the ability to cause change.

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. If that is the case, then what is happening to earth's environment now, cannot be simply attributed to us. Rather, it can only be viewed as an evolutionary event, in the broadest sense. An instance of universal unfolding towards balance; perhaps, in a wider perspective than we can grasp with our limited, human awareness. What appears to be destructive, destabilizing behavior, may be nothing more than an evolutionary adjustment, moving a developing, larval species towards equanimity and harmony in a far wider context.

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 earth. Not the end, but, rather, metamorphosis, transformation and emergence of a new, 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 preparing for the new, throughout the entire solar system ... the galaxy!

(CNN) - 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.

So, lighten up! Rather than indulge in depression and guilt, over the fact that humanity, has, as a side effect, to its rapid bloom on this world, managed to sweep a flourishing, vibrant carpet of life to the gate of extinction; revel with pride and satisfaction in the notion that we may be wiping the slate clean in preparation for a new cycle of life: stronger, purified, cleansed and even more special.

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 so many of themselves so that we could be here".

The themes of environmental collapse, extinction and human evolution are developed more fully in Joseph Carlisi's book, Playing God on the Eve of Extinction, which is available from Amazon.