Set among rolling green hills, a strange granite structure rises up from the surrounding woods and farmland. It is composed of five 16 foot tall granite slabs weighing in at around 20 tons apiece, all supporting a 25,000 pound capstone. Each slab is covered in a cryptic message that is related in eight different languages. The entire structure is configured to a precise astronomical alignment: a slot in the capstone tracks movement of the sun throughout the year, a hole in the capstone marks the noon hour, and a channel carved in the stone points to the celestial pole. Known as the Georgia Guidestones, this mysterious monument has attracted attention from conspiracy theorists and religious authorities alike for its strange message to posterity.
A modern mystery
The Guidestones were commissioned in June of 1979 by a man under the pseudonym R.C. Christian, who hired the Elberton Granite Finishing Company to do the work. Nobody knows the real identity of R.C. Christian, but if the inscription “Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason” is any indication, the motivation behind the monument was clear enough. The Guidestones bear ten principles to achieve this end, engraved in granite in eight modern languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. The principles are as follows:
- Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
- Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
- Unite humanity with a living new language.
- 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.
It’s pretty easy to see why there is controversy around the Guidestones, considering that it says we should maintain the global population at a small fraction of its current level. It also has fairly controversial ideas about national sovereignty, calling for not only a global language but a one world government and, apparently, a shared global spirituality. Proponents of traditional religion naturally are going to be against these ideas. In researching this post I read a rather hysterical article by a minister who claimed that the Guidestones were the blueprint of the New World Order. Not exactly a rational response there, especially considering nobody seems to be chomping at the bit to enact these principles at the moment.
While it’s hard to say for certain what R.C. Christian intended with his Guidestones, I think it’s important to take the timing of the construction in context. The Cold War was still on, and a nuclear war between the Superpowers was a very real possibility. Maybe Christian’s intention was not for his principles to be implemented in our time but in a post apocalyptic future when the population of the human race would be greatly reduced and civilization was on the brink of collapse, if not already over the edge. It was probably meant to be a guide to build a better civilization, one that would be less likely to destroy itself than our own.
Or, it could have simply been a gimmick to bring tourists to Elbert County. Maybe. The only one who really knows is the man who called himself R.C. Christian. So far, if he is still alive, he has not saw fit to elaborate on his cryptic message to the world.
Sullivan, Randall. “American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse.” archive.wired.com. April 20, 2009. Wired Magazine. May 11, 2014 <http://archive.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/17-05/ff_guidestones?currentPage=all>