Who could predict that monoliths would be a hot topic of discussion right now? Aren’t we supposed to be focusing on whether the 25th Amendment will be invoked, or even how to get past COVID-19? I agree with Atascadero, CA Mayor Moreno, who recently said that her town’s unexpected monolith “was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful (COVID-19) time”. Ahhhhhh, so monoliths are a distraction. In a way, they are allowing us to skirt the realities of regular life, by turning to sci fi. But wait a minute, the events of January 6, 2021, were out of this world, don’t you agree?
What actually is a monolith? That word has never been part of my everyday vocabulary.
A monolith is a large single object serving as a pillar or monument. Think Stonehenge. We all know what that is, though theories still abound about how Stonehenge came to be during a time when primitive tools (aka antlers), sledges and ropes were the only options to transport and install stones that weigh as much as 40 tons and stand 24 feet tall.
A monolith can also be a large, impersonal political, corporate or social structure. I see the resemblance to Stonehenge. Tough, hard, imposing.
The word monolith derives (from the Latin monolithus) from 3 Ancient Greek words: μονόλιθος (monolithos), μόνος ("one" or "single") and λίθος ("stone"). Okay I can handle that, but I can’t pronounce it.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, since November 18, 2020, well over 100 monoliths have mysteriously appeared around the world. The first was in Utah, and as of the writing of this blog, they continue to pop up. So far, they have been reported on every continent. Here at home, they have been spotted in DC and in 20 states.
With monoliths spotted all over the world recently, one is left wondering: Have aliens descended upon us? Is this the work of Banksy or a new Banksy? A monolith with the words “Not Banksy” appeared on the top of UK’s Glastonbury tower (called “Tur”), which is cloaked in the myths of Avalon. What’s bothering me, though, about all of this is: Where is the stone? All I see in these monoliths are Home Depot artifacts.
Today’s trending monoliths include a few beautiful structures and many shoddy copycats, most made from materials sourced from uninspiring hardware stores, perhaps even Craigs List. Here are some examples:
Although these are certainly interesting, I think the fascination comes from the mystery about where they come from, as opposed to any real beauty in the construction. Especially when compared to some of the true blue, most magnificent, timeless man-made monoliths such as:
Monoliths that have simply formed by the jaw-dropping beauty of nature and are worth noting include:
Hey, I don’t know about you, but do you think today’s trending monoliths are worthy of our attention? In my opinion, their value is threefold:
1. To motivate us to find out more about monoliths and, thereby, to discover the history and beauty of REAL monoliths
2. To let our minds run wild and imagine life beyond Earth, thereby escaping the boredom of COVID-19
3. To give us a reason to watch Stanley Kubrick’s 1969 masterpiece: “2001 - A Space Odyssey” again. Personally, I’m going for #3.