Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stonehenge in Georgia

I'm subscribed to Wired Magazine. Yes, the excessive ads may drive you nuts from time to time, but the articles are interesting, smart and touch on current tech issues.

Last month, an article described the Georgia Guidestones and the mystery surrounding their erection. I never heard of that site before. Apparently, nearly 30 years ago, a mysterious person purchased a plot of land outside Elberton, GA and paid a granite quarry a handsome sum to erect 4 large slabs of granite, inscribed with instructions in 8 languages. These, he claimed, were instructions for mankind on how to behave after the next apocalypse strikes (read the Wired article here).

Sounds crazy, right? I called my friend Yaniv, who lives in Atlanta - he never heard of it either -> perfect reason for a road trip. So last weekend we headed east of Atlanta for the 2 hours drive to Elberton - "the granite capital of the world"

When you reach Elberton, drive north on SR 77, until you reach Guidestones road. You'll see them on the hill to your right.

The stones are about 10 meters in height. They're inscribed in 8 languages (English, Hebrew, Arabic, Swahili, Sanskrit, Chinese, Russian, Spanish) and as far as I could tell (I can read English, Hebrew and some Spanish), they all say the same thing.

It starts with keeping humanity below 500 million people (less than 8% the current population) and continues with instructions on how to live as one with nature and avoid politicians. All in all, its sounds like hippie agenda.

But some people take it more seriously. Religious people feel it's a satanic sect's doing. Atheists feel it's an fanatically religious group that's behind the stones. Both sides smear hateful (and sometimes racist) graffiti on the stones, turning what could be a nice and curious monument into a testament to why this world could actually benefit from a little apocalypse.

Other than the instructions, the stones have some other nifty features built in, such as a hole in the top stone, where every day at noon a sun ray points to the day of the year, or a hole through which the north star is visible at night etc. All leading me to believe that a lot of planning went into these stones - with no apparent reason.

As I've mentioned, the stones bring out the worst emotions out of visitors. One of them, a Harley driving, cigar chomping huge fellow, approached Yaniv and I and after asking us if we're American (to which we've answered "no"), proceeded to tell us why foreigners destroy this great country and why it has all come down to "this" (pointing at the stones). All we could do was keep quiet and wait for the idiot to leave mad.

All in all, a great day trip to an interesting and unheard of location (I've asked several other people in Atlanta - they never heard of it either). On the way back we stopped for late lunch at Athens - a nice college town (and the hometown of REM). A tour of the old college buildings is recommended.

To see all pictures from the trip, go to my album, and here are some pictures I took at the real Stonehenge in England smile.

PS: funny anecdote: right by the stones, there's a seafood restaurant called "Red Minnow Lighthouse" that has the subtitle "Matthew 5:14-16" on its sign. A short Google search yielded the verse "You are the light...". Guess you have to know your New Testament to eat there smile.

1 comment:

Traveling Tech Guy said...

Hi Brian,
Thanks for the link and the educating video.

Unfortunately, despite being over 120 years old, Esperanto never gained a foothold - it's not even used by the UN. So while an ideal of "one global language" is quite attractive, I don't believe Esperanto will ever be officially embraced.

Cultures are so dependent on their language and cultural insignia. Two quick examples: the attempt of half of the people in Quebec to secede from Canada, so they can conserve their French heritage and language, and the UK not joining the EU, so they can keep their queen's picture on their currency. Until such "small" cultural issues are overcome, I fear multilingualism will remain the word of the day.