The interesting part is the message which is etched into every one of the structure’s faces: a self-professed guide into the age of reason. In our day of political strife, and various religions trying to rule the world, such a guidepost should be welcome. Astonishingly, in our era of polarized views there are factions calling for the demolition and dismantling of the guide stones— though no one wants to personally foot the bill.
Starting from the top, the sentiments of guide stones seem benevolent enough. The capstone reads the following message in Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphics:
- Let these be guide stones to an age of reason.
A good opening in an era that could use a hefty dose of reason. The four corner pieces each bear two languages—one on each face. The English translation reads:
- 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.
Obviously these are not portents that will end political partisanship and unite the world, but perhaps some could be considered wise. Rule passion, fair laws, prize beauty are all good ideas. The thought on evading useless officials would mean eradicating ninety percent of the world’s politicians.
Perhaps the person/group who funded the monument realized the faux pas he/she/they committed in printing some of their advice, because no one has ever stepped forward to claim credit for the work. It was built by the Elberton Granite Finishing Company on public land at the behest of a man known only as “R. C. Christian”. It is that name that is engraved on the explanatory tablet as the author, but it also marked as a PSEUDONYN—which I can only assume means “pseudonym”.
Obviously the age of reason hasn’t been adopted, and as a result, there is controversy. Some contend that this structure is named for Thomas Payne’s The Age of Reason, which argued against judeo-christian dogma.
My take, however, is that we shouldn’t bother destroying the monument regardless of whether we agree with its sentiments or not; if there is to be an age of reason, a major factor (that this monument has overlooked) will be an open dialog between people. These stones portray someone’s ideal world, and though the designer has used anonymity to avoid a dialog, at least we can look at his message—and the eloquent way of communicating it—and use our own reasoning to decide to embrace or reject these notions. If we all resorted to reason, any advice offered here would be obsolete.
Article suggested by Ms T Hanback.