Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Two Tales

I’ve been on serious Oracle and SSD related topics for a few months now so I thought I would relax for one entry and tell you a tale, well, actually two of them, and allow you to judge which is probably the truth.

Tale 1:

In 1979 or so a man who called himself R.C Christian (not his real name) came to the office of the Pyramid Quarry in Elberton, Georgia and contracted them, as the representative to several private individuals, create a large granite monument (the town of Elberton is the self proclaimed Granite capital of the world.) The design and location of the monument was provides and in March of 1980 it was erected by the Elberton Granite Finishing Company at a cost of approximately $41 million. Known as The Georgia Guidestones it sits outside of Elberton, Georgia on one of the tallest hills in Elbert county Georgia.

The Georgia Guidestones

The monument consists of 4-standing stones with a central Gnome stone and capstone. The faces of the standing stones are all inscribed with the same set of guidelines, each in a different “modern” language:

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

Note that the last guideline has “leave room for nature” repeated twice on each of the 4 monoliths eight total sides with the exception of the one in Russian, where it looks like they ran out of space. The monoliths have the message in the following languages, moving clockwise around the structure from the north: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, ancient Chinese, and Russian.

On the capstone is the message, in Babylonian Cuneiform (north), Classical Greek (east), Sanskrit (south), and Egyptian Hieroglyphs (west), and the stone embedded in the Earth on the wesern exposure provides what is supposed to be an English translation: "Let these be guidestones to an age of reason." It is rumored to be engraved on the top of the capstone but as I am not 20 years old anymore I didn't try to get up there and see!

The guidestones messages and capstone message give a tip of the hat to Thomas Paine and other “radical” authors who espoused these types of rules for life in ages past.

The monument itself is aligned on several astronomical axis, it has a slit for viewing the sunset, a hole to look at the North Star (if you move to the left and squint as the monument is supposedly two degrees off proper placement) and a hole in the capstone that marks noon throughout the year. The width of the monument supposedly aligns with the migration of the moon throughout the year.

The setting sun through the slit

The sight of the setting sun through the aperture provided is quite fetching. Like I said, the North Star (“Celestial North”) is also visible through a hole in the center slab, if you move the left and look carefully through the hole due to a misalignment of the monument. I wasn’t there for noon so I couldn’t verify the noon time affect but I am assured it works well.

Now, tale 2.

As I was wandering around the site video taping and taking pictures an older gentleman and his wife drove up, he got out and his wife waited in the truck. Tall (about 6 foot) and a little heavy although not overly so, he reminded me of several rural Georgia farmers I have met in my wanderings. He told me that he had heard someone had vandalized the stones and wanted to see how badly (you can see what appears, upon close inspection, to be some type of clear polymer resin splashed on two of the stones.) We struck up a conversation and I asked him about the mystery surrounding who had them erected. He asked if I had heard the story and I said I read it on the web. He then stated:

“All of that is bullshit.” And smiled at me. “I worked at the quarry when this was built, Mr. Fendley himself had it built and made up that story” Mr. Fendley is/was the owner of the Pyramid Quarry. “He liked publicity and Lord knows this gave it to him.”

He also said he confronted Mr. Fendley about the monument and “He didn’t deny it, he looked mad, but kind of half smiled at me.”

Seems Joe F. Fenley Sr., Wayne Mullinex (the man who donated the land) and Wyatt C. Martin, President of the Granite City Bank involved with the financing were all Shriners (and therefore Masons) and agreed to do this together.

Now even if you take out having to pay for the granite itself (119 tones give or take) and the cost of the land, the cost of paying the workers to extract, cut, shape and carve the custom sized stones as well as place them is still rather high just for a publicity stunt, however, I wouldn’t put it past some folks. Also, the alignments and other parts of the monument are intriguing, why go to such effort when just the slabs themselves and their message would have been enough?

To add to the message there is supposedly a time capsule buried (or will be buried) under the slab that is on the west side of the monument. The slab explains the monuments message, who supposedly built it and details of the stones themselves. The “six feet under” makes me wonder if it isn’t someone who will be buried, hence the missing dates.

Inscription about the time capsule, notice missing dates.

All in all the stones looked like they were rather hurriedly inscribed because some of the inscriptions overrun the finished part of the slabs, there are translation errors and character errors on some messages and the lack of the repeat on the Russian stone due to running out of space. On the stone showing noon for several different parts of the year, the final marker overruns the finished part of the stone, was this a mistake, or is that marker more (or less) significant than the others?. Also, the North Star viewing hole appears to have been done as two holes drilled to run into each other, unfortunately they are off access to each other giving the hole a curved appearance and the noon hole looks like it was added as an afterthought.

Some have commented that if you wanted people to see the stones why not place them in a more significant location than a rural Georgia county? Well, for one thing, the sunset view and the North Star views probably would be difficult to guarantee in the heart of Atlanta or in areas where development might throw a skyscraper in the way. Besides if this really is a message for post-Armageddon survivors you don’t want it near any ground –zero targets.

Final “noon” marker overruns finished stone (circled in red)

Now, do the “mistakes” add up to rushed workers or are they deliberate? Are they sending us a message? I’ll leave that to the “DiVinci Code” fans to determine.

So, which tale is the true one? I know I have my opinion although the romantic side of me leans towards the mysterious group of strangers. For those close enough, go see this “America’s Stonehenge” yourself, for those who can’t, look them up on the net. I’ll be posting a bunch of other photos from my visit at my http://www.scubamage.com/ site as soon as I finish processing them, I’ll provide a more substantial link at that time.