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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Called the Georgia Guidestones, the monument is a mystery—nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clues to its origin are on a nearby plaque on the ground—which gives the dimensions and explains a series of intricate notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars—and the "guides" themselves, directives carved into the rocks. These instructions appear in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a peculiar New Age ideology. Some are vaguely eugenic (guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity); others prescribe standard-issue hippie mysticism (prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite).
The Georgia Guidestones are instructions for restarting civilization after the apocalypse. They seem a little bit like a setup for an eco-friendly, hippie Canticle for Leibowitz.
But many who read what was written on the stones were unsettled. Guide number one was, of course, the real stopper: maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature. There were already 4.5 billion people on the planet, meaning eight out of nine had to go (today it would be closer to 12 out of 13). This instruction was echoed and expanded by tenet number two: guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity. It didn't take a great deal of imagination to draw an analogy to the practices of, among others, the Nazis. Guide number three instructed readers to unite humanity with a living new language. This sent a shiver up the spine of local ministers who knew that the Book of Revelations warned of a common tongue and a one-world government as the accomplishments of the Antichrist. Guide number four—rule passion—faith—tradition—and all things with tempered reason—was similarly threatening to Christians committed to the primacy of faith over all. The last six guides were homiletic by comparison. protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts. let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court. avoid petty laws and useless officials. balance personal rights with social duties. prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite. be not a cancer on the earth—leave room for nature—leave room for nature.
Via MeFi. More photos at Flickr.