Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vigilance Is Just Another Word for Paranoia

I used to joke that if I ever became so super-rich that I had no idea what to spend my money on, I would devote my resources to making the world more fun. I would pay people to put on costumes and go fight crime because a world filled with superheroes is more interesting than one without them. I would put enormous advertising budgets behind concepts so dubious that all they provoke from reasonable folks is nervous laughter, and then see if the mass media picks them up and treats them as legitimate. I would run bizarre political ads of the sort that Stephen Colbert's Super PAC ran during the Republican primaries. And maybe, just maybe, I would erect a giant monument on a Georgia hilltop with my own version of the Ten Commandments rendered in eight different languages - because what sort of weirdo would ever think of doing that? Oh, wait...

Made of Pyramid blue granite, the Georgia Guidestones are meant to withstand the test of time and to communicate knowledge on several levels: philosophically, politically, astronomically, etc. It consists of four major stone blocks, which contain ten guides for living in eight languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. A shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient languages’ scripts: Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. It is important to note that those last four ancient languages are of a great importance in the teachings of occult mystery schools, such as the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians, organizations I will discuss later.

The four major stones are arranged in a giant “paddlewheel” configuration which are oriented to the limits of the migration of the sun during the course of the year and also show the extreme positions of the rising and setting of the sun in its 18.6 year cycle. The center stone has two special features: first, the North Star is always visible through a special hole drilled from the South to the North side of the center stone; second, another slot aligns with the positions of the rising sun at the time of the summer and winter solstices and at the equinox.

What's amazing about the Georgia Guidestones is not that they exist, since most wealthy individuals have enough money to construct such a monument and still have more left over than they could ever spend. No, what's amazing about them is how seriously they are taken by fringe conspiracy theorists like the folks at "Vigilant Citizen," the site hosting this article, who rail against the stones as part of the supposed "Illuminati Agenda." Among other things, the monument was erected anonymously and signed "R. C. Christian," a clear reference to the legend of Christian Rosenkreuz, even though there's not much actual Rosicrucianism in their contents. But by itself that's sinister!

Here's what these new commandments entail:

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

Ridiculous. From this first commandment, it's clear that whoever wrote the commandments was influenced by both the "noble savage" idea that population densities more in line with those of primitive cultures are somehow superior to the structure of the modern world, and also by Paul Erlich's The Population Bomb, released in 1968. That's not surprising, as the stones were erected in 1979 before it became clear that Erlich's projections regarding population and the food supply were simply wrong. The "commandments" were most likely written years earlier.

2. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.

Also ridiculous. Essentially, commandment two advocates some "guided" form of eugenics. The problem is that whenever "fitness and reproduction" are placed in the hands of a government, corporation, or other large organization abuses are inevitable. Eugenics starts with what sounds like a reasonable idea - it's true that we could mostly eliminate genetic diseases by preventing problematic genes from being passed on. However, every implementation has always trampled over individual rights and pretty much inevitably will. Nazi Germany is of course the government most famous for abusing eugenic ideas, but prior to the rise of the Third Reich eugenics was a popular scientific idea all over the world. As a result, plenty of abuses happened at that time in the United States and throughout Europe.

3. Unite humanity with a living new language.

One word: Esperanto. It's logical, easy to learn, and constructed in such a way that it's largely culture-neutral - and pretty much nobody has ever been very interested in speaking it. It did play a role in making the film Incubus even weirder than one might expect from a movie about demons starring a young William Shatner, as the whole thing was in Esperanto with subtitles, but beyond that it's never played much of a role on the world stage. To some extent, it seems that languages have to naturally evolve in order to be appealing to people, which pretty much precludes the imposition of a new one.

4. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.

Temperance just means moderation, so this is basically a platitude. It should be obvious that extremism is usually a bad idea.

5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.

Another platitude. I mean, who's going to advocate for unjust laws and unfair courts?

6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.

This is kind of what the United Nations and World Court are supposed to be doing now, except that every permanent member of the UN Security Council gets a free pass by virtue of veto powers - so disputes between countries are being settled this way today except in cases involving China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, a collection of countries with their hands into almost everything. Interestingly enough, to Illuminati conspiracy theorists this commandment implies the formation of a world government, which terrifies them, even though it explicitly states that countries should rule themselves internally. Reading comprehension is apparently not their strong suit.

7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.

Two more platitudes. Nobody really wants laws to be petty or officials to be useless, and balancing personal rights with social duties is essentially what every society in existence tries to do. The differences are in the means used to get there, not the end goal.

9. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.

Are there really people out there who don't prize truth, beauty, and love? The call for seeking harmony with the infinite seems to advocate some sort of spiritual practice, which I see as a good thing overall. There are few of us whose lives could not be improved by meditation and contemplation, but most modern people have little interest in those activities. This is the only commandment that could be really be interpreted as any sort of Rosicrucian message.

10. Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature.

While the Illuminati conspiracy theorists think that this last commandment advocates some sort of radical environmental agenda, it's really just common sense. If we destroy the ecosystem life on Earth is going to become very unpleasant very quickly. So we shouldn't do that! It's kind of like posting a "commandment" that states "don't blow yourself up." Really? Thanks for that, Captain Obvious!

So let's see - doing the math, we find two ridiculous commandments, one unworkable one, and seven New Agey platitudes. Scary stuff, kids! The idea of eliminating much of the world's population is an idea with the potential to do a lot of damage, but for it to be treated as a reasonable threat it needs to be vaguely plausible. It is not. Making it seem so requires the invention of an omnipotent enemy, the Illuminati. Almost a month ago I posted an article describing who the Illuminati really were - a fraternity that billed itself as an alternative to Masonry and which lasted for only a couple of decades in the eighteenth century.

Sometimes generalization of an idea is genius, but usually it only results in Ralph Waldo Emerson's "hobgoblin of little minds." Apparently the Guidestones are threatening because since a rich person erected them, they must represent what all rich people want to do. Rich people have undue influence in world politics, so the governments of the world must be in on the plan as well - the dreaded "New World Order." The thing is, how many corporate leaders really have any interest in contracting the population and therefore the labor force? They might have to pay higher wages if that happened. They do like to lobby for removing petty laws and useless officials, with "petty" and "useless" defined as anything management find inconvenient, like, say, workplace safety regulations. Still "fair laws and just courts" aren't on their agenda - among other things, most of the big companies out there lobby in favor of tort reform that sets hard limits on lawsuit damages regardless of the degree of offense.

So let's see - to build my own Guidestones I need my own set of commandments - two ridiculous, one unworkable, and seven self-evident. I think I'm up to the challenge! How do these this sound?
  1. Legalize the hunting of clowns for sport to banish childhood fears.(Ridiculous #1)
  2. Enforce the use of pogo sticks for all transportation needs. (Ridiculous #2)
  3. Ensure that everyone always plays nice. (Unworkable)
  4. Nature works in mysterious ways. (Platitude #1)
  5. Love one another. (Platitude #2)
  6. War hurts people. (Platitude #3)
  7. Happiness feels good. (Platitude #4)
  8. The best decision makers make the best decisions. (Platitude #5)
  9. A balanced life avoids extremes. (Platitude #6)
  10. Do that which is right. (Platitude #7)
There we go! Now listen up, everyone. I need you all to go out to Amazon and buy my books right now so I can afford to put up a giant monument with my new commandments. It may take a few years, but you have to that admit having some conspiracy theorist stand up and demand that the United Nations renounce its clown-hunting, pogo-stick-enforcing agenda is priceless - and totally worth picking up a copy or two of Arcana and Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy. And I can't put up my monument to the crazy unless those royalty checks start coming in!

Paranoia on this level is a tragedy that stems from poor critical thinking skills. The idea that the Georgia Guidestones represent anything more than my proposal above - a vanity project by a rich eccentric (or possibly a couple of them working together) - is just plain silly. It certainly is not the work of the Illuminati, a fraternal order that did not even exist by 1800, and neither the governments of the world nor the economic elite are "in on it." It's just a monument, people!

Then again, I am posting this article on 12/12/12, the last repeating date of its kind until the next millennium a thousand years hence. That means I'm part of the problem, right?

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Anonymous said...

I wound up developing my own list of ten commandments to carve in stone, but I like yours...

Anonymous said...

Duh, I meant to post a link to my list:

Ten Commandments to Carve In Stone

I'd be interested in your thoughts.