Ananael (Scott Stenwick) has an article up today about vigilance and paranoia. How, if he had millions to spend and a safe place to put them, he’d put up some mysterious stone structures with ancient-sounding commandments carved in ten languages. And he’s referencing the Georgia Guidestones.
It seems like a useful exercise, actually. If you could put up a monument that might last 50,000 years in eight languages, what would you write? Scott claims that one needs two ridiculous ones, one completely unworkable, and seven platitudes.
And yet. And yet, it turns out that any list carved into stone in so many languages, can help inspire movements in art and science, religion and imagination. They can have consequences far beyond the normal realm of events. So, here’s mine. If I had millions to spend on such a project, and access to high quality stone from around the world, and could build such a thing, then this is what I’d inscribe in three-inch high letters 3/4″ deep, in eight living languages and three dead ones (Hebrew, Sanskrit and Sumerian):
- Nature will have its way: work with it or be destroyed in the long run.
- Humans sometimes mate for life, but it’s not a sure thing.
- Reënchant the world with stories; make magic for the healing of the world.
- Kill no one in the name of your idea of God.
- A picture is worth a thousand words; a part is worth a thousand pictures; a machine is worth a thousand parts.
- Teach children to read, write, draw, play outside, and make. Don’t be upset if not all lessons stick.
- Constrained democracy is the best government, but it’s often disappointing.
- The tools available determine all possible solutions.
- Don’t be a party to villainy by government, religion or science.
- Nothing lasts forever, not even this list.
I think it contains the right mix of ridiculousness, generalized platitudes, and important advice. (I’ll leave it to my readers to decide which ones are unworkable, which are ridiculous, and which are platitudes). And the use of contractions would help add this feature of the English language to the realm of grammatical correctness in time. I may come up with my own monument design in time, but I’m thinking a building in the shape of two cubes stacked on top of one another, with a half-sphere dome on top, and black and white marble pillars in the corners. On top of a foundation shaped like a turtle with elephants on its back.
Would it help build a new society in the event of the apocalypse? Possibly. It might even be one in which I’d like living.
What’s on your list?