American Stonehenge
April 21, 2009 1:24 PM   Subscribe

The Georgia Guidestones - Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse.
posted by Artw (40 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by AmberV at 1:32 PM on April 21, 2009


Plenty of pics on Flickr without the silly filters.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on April 21, 2009

Supporters (notable among them Yoko Ono) have praised the messages as a stirring call to rational thinking, akin to Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason.

Noted without comment.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:38 PM on April 21, 2009

The Long Now guys could take a page out of Mr. Christian's book. The mystery is the best part.

Can you imagine? Suddenly the Clock of the Long Now just shows up, nobody knowing who built it or precisely why? Goosebumps just thinking about it.

The defacement is saddening, though I would hope the grandeur of the thing puts such petty malice in perspective.
posted by pts at 1:51 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Uh, so how does one rectify "Unite humanity with a living new language" with "Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court?" What about the latter and "Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature?"

I'm filing this under "more money than sense".
posted by adamdschneider at 1:51 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

They're right down the road from me. I'm surprised this is the first time they've been vandalized, as they're right by the road, accessible at all hours, and get some folks right pissed off.
posted by ewagoner at 1:55 PM on April 21, 2009

Can you imagine? Suddenly the Clock of the Long Now just shows up, nobody knowing who built it or precisely why? Goosebumps just thinking about it.

Chronoliths, that's the way to go.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on April 21, 2009

Is it built on a ley line? Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by jquinby at 2:05 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

You know, if they are instructions for the post-apocalypse, they're pretty pathetic. I mean, seriously, if society is sufficiently devastated for these to appear as some sort of deep and ancient wisdom, these are still too damn shallow to provide any practcal guidance. The Wikipedia page mentions that the slab set in the ground mentions a time capsule, but doesn't have dates for its burial or opening. This would have been something for the author to try to get Martin to dish on, even if he refused.

I mean, at a certain level, this monument is just trolling.
posted by Reverend John at 2:21 PM on April 21, 2009

I mean, at a certain level, this monument is just trolling.

Heh. Years from now our descendants will be led through the cave of the Ancient Goatse - they will emerge, changed forever by the thing they have witnessed there, barred by law from ever discussing it with others.
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on April 21, 2009 [6 favorites]

Wow, this is the most intriguing thing I have heard of since the Coral Castle. I can't believe they're this old and I've never heard of them before!
posted by Calzephyr at 2:54 PM on April 21, 2009

What exactly qualifies as "honoring"?

A roast, wherein you lambaste your parents with good-natured ribbing, to the delight of their gathered friends and colleagues.
posted by everichon at 3:00 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Or at least, that's what the hieroglyphs bit of the stones say. Heck if I know.
posted by everichon at 3:01 PM on April 21, 2009

Opponents have attacked them as the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.

Rule passion—faith—tradition—and all things with tempered reason.

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.

Fucking Antichrist. You just can't trust anyone advocating a message so... reasonable.
posted by quin at 3:22 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

standard-issue hippie mysticism (prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite

So Jesus was a hippie?

...the Guidestones are meant to instruct the dazed survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization.

If there's an apocalypse, no way I'm taking advice from those that caused it.

Also, all the fancy-shmancy star sightlines and whatnot preclude this from being a Clock of the Long Now competitor. The precession of the equinoxes takes 26 kyrs. So that's a degree every ~70-75 years. Over the ~16' of monument width, 1 degree is almost 4 inches, which means the sightline is useless almost immediately. (I must have dropped an order of magnitude in there somewhere, because that's faster than I was even imagining. Still, the point remains that it definitely won't be accurate for 10 kyrs the way the Clock is supposed to be.)
posted by DU at 4:31 PM on April 21, 2009

DU: Okay, I did some googling, and can't seem to understand something. If the equinoxes move, then, shouldn't the solstices also be preceeding? Or is there part of this concept I'm unclear on.

Specifically, how on earth would Stonehenge still be lining up with the solstices if things have shifted every 70-75 (or even every 700-750) years?

If those stones that look at the sky still work, why would this group become ineffective more quickly?
posted by hippybear at 4:40 PM on April 21, 2009

Is the verb form of "precession", "preceed", or "precess"?
posted by hippybear at 4:41 PM on April 21, 2009

Burhanistan: Maybe you're right. Perhaps I haven't thought the analogue through.
posted by pts at 5:06 PM on April 21, 2009

and get some folks right pissed off.

Ahh.. the South.. Mr Christian either had a diabolical plan to foment revolution, or he picked the site for its locale to the granite quarry and made a bad choice.
posted by stbalbach at 5:12 PM on April 21, 2009

how on earth would Stonehenge still be lining up with the solstices

I don't think it does.
posted by DU at 5:20 PM on April 21, 2009

The more I read about the behaviour of the enigmatic R. C. Christian the more I think of a time traveller... although even that angle doesn't make complete sense.
posted by CynicalKnight at 5:21 PM on April 21, 2009

I'm going to be famous in the post-apolcalypse when I built a giant stone likeness of myself and inscribe this handy reference at my feet.
posted by mullingitover at 5:24 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Supporters of the guide stones apparently do not believe Sir Fred Hoyle's proposition that once civilization collapses it wil not be able to restart.
"With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. This is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned. The same will be true of other planetary systems. On each of them there will be one chance, and one chance only."
IIRC Robert Wright and possibly Jared Diamond make the same point. We have one shot at this. If we have a complete collapse of civilization & technology (or the extinction of homo sapiens), we (or nothing else) will be able to jump from stone based technology to metal based technology because rich sources of metals will be impossibly rare.
FWIW: I didn't read the wired article so I'm sorry if I'm way off.
posted by ecco at 5:30 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I guess Mr. Christian is counting on a partial apocalypse, after which people will still be able to read at least one of the inscribed languages.

And the stones are supposed to be famous - that way, after it happens the survivors will be saying something like "Holee cow, he was right! Better follow his advice this time."
posted by Kevin Street at 5:40 PM on April 21, 2009

For whatever it's worth, should I ever build my own standing stones they will include detailed instructions on constructing crossbows.
posted by Artw at 5:46 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't really buy the "one shot only" theory. Iron is not particularly rare. With iron and fire (or solar heat) you can make stirling engines at which point you are home free (though possibly at a lower level than today...but possibly not).
posted by DU at 5:51 PM on April 21, 2009

I've been to both having grown up in New England, but now living in Atlanta.

America's Stonehenge felt a strange mix of mysterious history and capitalism although I did like the astronomically aligned calendar of stones.

The Georgia Guidestones are right off the road surrounded by cows and felt so much more sinister for their alien atmosphere. Of course, that could have just been the anxious feelings of a Northener outside of the perimeter of Atlanta.
posted by Constant Reader at 6:17 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Could the mysterious Mr. Christian actually have been . . .

Dr. Bronner?
posted by rdone at 7:29 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ohh. that's not far from here. Roadtrip this weekend!
posted by schwa at 7:53 PM on April 21, 2009

I know what's going to happen after the apocalypse.
James Coburn is going to drive up in a jeep with a mob in tow and say "Kill It!" And they will.
posted by digsrus at 8:07 PM on April 21, 2009


My world-class Google skills are failing me, because I can't find anything which says that Stonehenge has been affected by precession.

Is it possible that the alignment of all these remain constant relative to Earth and Sol, but move relative to the stars? I mean, the hole pointing to Polaris will not be pointing at it in a few thousand years, but maybe the sun movement markers continue to work?

This is going to bug me for days, I know it.
posted by hippybear at 8:48 PM on April 21, 2009

Previously on MeFi, the "Expert Judgement on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Sandia". How do you build a "CAUTION: RADIOACTIVITY" sign that will last 10,000 years?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:41 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Stonehenge was rebuilt in the early decades of the 20th century.

For long ages it was simply piles of half buried and fallen rock slabs.

I have no information on how accurate the recreation was to the original positioning, but I am of the opinion it was as they say in the archeological community "half arsed".

It was rebuilt to look how they thought it ought to look.

That may be why it has alignments which work today.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:18 AM on April 22, 2009

My search yielded many references, few if any details, but including these unambiguous statements:
Because of the slow change in our orientation to the stars, the position of the Sun on the first the day of spring (the vernal equinox) slowly shifts westward around the sky, which also moves it around our calendar. That is why we refer to the effect as the precession of the equinox. The rate of the shift is 1 day every 71 years.


From the start of the building of the Stonehenge monument around 3,800 BC, to well past the building of the great pyramids in Eqypt in 2500 BC, a star named Thuban in the constellation Draco must have been perceived as the north star. Around the cave-dwelling mammoth-hunting time of 12,000 BC, the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra was the north star, and will be again around the year 14,000 AD.
I don't completely get what a shift of "1 day every 71 years" means exactly. It lines up with my calculation of 1 degree every 70-75 years and one day would be about one degree of the Earth's trip around the sun. But does that mean that in 1938, spring started on April 20? And in 1867 it was April 19?

Oh wait...I think the year is defined as solstice to solstice, not "a full circle". So precession is automatically taken care of?
posted by DU at 4:31 AM on April 22, 2009

Also, if I'm visualizing the geometry correctly, I think equinox/solstice stuff will continue to line up after precession even when the north star doesn't. While I don't seem to have mentioned it in my original comment, it was the pole star sightline that prompted me to say anything. I admit to uncertainty then (and also now) about whether the solstice markers would change.
posted by DU at 4:34 AM on April 22, 2009

I like how all of the Jesus freaks superstitious people are freaked out. They think that it is the work of the devil. It's probably just some crazy cult, like timecube with substance (and money)

Although, if it were the work of Lucifer, it still makes somewhat more sense than half of the stuff I've read in the bible. Maybe the devil isn't so bad. Maybe I will worship Him in His Greatness. AND HE WILL GIVE ME WEALTH AND POWER! AND ALL WILL KNEEL BEFORE ME IN FEAR!! AND THEY WILL TREMBLE AT THE MERE UTTERANCE OF MY NAME!!! AND THE SEVENTH SEAL WILL BE BROKEN ASUNDER AND YOUR PATHETIC GOD WILL BE BROUGHT LOW AND DESTROYED!!!!

Or, I could just stay an atheist and go back to sleep for a while before work. Hmm, ultimate power and glory or nap?

I think I'll go with nap.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:22 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Very interesting. I don't see why there is all the devil talk? All it says it don't have 1,000 kids and don't be a religious nut job. This could mean that don't breed past your means and don't blow people up in the name of your God. The rest of the stuff is actually pretty good advice to live by. I seriously doubt that the devil wants us to defend just nations, let other people govern themselves, and respect nature. But then again in the bible belt if it is different it is from Satan. I swear uneducated, over bred, bible thumping, republican voting southerns. ( I kid because I love....)
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:05 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

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