Situated in a vast cow pasture once thought to have been peopled by the Cherokee Indians, the GEORGIA GUIDESTONES are often referred to as America’s Stonehenge because of their relative mystery, largesse, and isolated placement. But in actuality, they are much more contemporary — and much more controversial.
DRIVING NORTH FROM Atlanta on I-85 toward South Carolina, you exit east at Georgia Highway 51, then exit again at Highway 17, which takes you straight to the city of Elberton. Once in Elberton, population 5,000, you take Highway 77 north for almost nine miles. Eyes scanning the horizon, you finally see it perched on a high knoll, with an easy-to-miss turnoff onto a small road that leads practically up to its foot.
It stands alone in all its mighty glory, and on any given day you’ll likely be the only visitor.
Four rectangular slabs of granite are positioned so that together they form an X; each slab is just under 16 and a half feet tall, six and a half feet wide, and 18 inches thick. Each weighs more than 21 tons. Where the four come together at the center, another slab, half as wide but just as tall and thick, rises up. All five are held on top by a 25,000-pound rectangular capstone that measures roughly 10 feet by six feet. The faces of the four main slabs are polished front and back, as are the edges of the capstone.
Once you’re close, it’s unmistakable that the slabs and the edges of the capstone are covered with writing, a sort of 10 Commandments for the future, repeated in English, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, classical Hebrew, Hindi, and Swahili:
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
And it doesn’t stop there. Inscribed on each edge of the capstone, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sanskrit, classical Greek, and Babylonian cuneiform are the words, Let these be guidestones to an age of reason.