Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pyramid Power - The Minitruth

"Four buildings towered vast and white above the grimy landscape. They were startingly different from any other objects in sight. They were enormous pyramidical sructures of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of VICTORY MANSIONS you could see all four of them simultaneously. They were the homes of the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided. The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war. the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty." --George Orwell, "1984"

And yesterday's news:

"North Korea's 'Hotel of Doom' wakes from its coma", By Jon Herskovitz

"SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's phantom hotel is stirring back to life. Once dubbed by Esquire magazine as "the worst building in the history of mankind", the 105-storey Ryugyong Hotel is back under construction after a 16-year lull in the capital of one of the world's most reclusive and destitute countries.

According to foreign residents in Pyongyang, Egypt's Orascom group has recently begun refurbishing the top floors of the three-sided pyramid-shaped hotel whose 330-metre (1,083 ft) frame dominates the Pyongyang skyline."

I thought that this was such a curious, truly incomprehensible story. Why would North Korea, a country that has been wracked by famine and a disastrous economy take on such an expensive and bizarre project as this? Do they really expect to fill the 3000 room hotel with tourists clamoring see the North Korean Army's Victory Day Parade and "Dear Leader" in his leisure suit waving from the Victory balcony?

And, what can explain the telecommunications tower on the top being build by Orascom Group, an Egyptian company. From Wikipedia:

"In April 2008, foreign residents in Pyongyang noted that Egypt's Orascom Group had started refurbishing the top floors of the hotel, putting in windows and installing telecommunications antennas. The installation of the telecommunications equipment is considered somewhat of an unusual move since owning a mobile phone is illegal in North Korea. The Orascom Telecom subsidiary of the group confirmed involvement in the structure, but no details were available." -- See Ryugyong Hotel

Is Kim Jung Il on drugs? He must be. It seems inconceivable that the communist leader of North Korea, an avowed enemy of the west would want to give such a sensitive job to people who no doubtably will use the technology to spy on his country. What ever happened to Kim's acclaimed paranoia? And, why a pyramid? Not exactly a traditional building style in North Korea.

Speaking of inexplicable pyramids, I also found a number of modern-day pyramid projects, some already built, and others in the planning stages, including one pyramid in Germany that is reported to be 10 times bigger that the Great pyramid of Giza, and the Shimizu Mega-City pyramid to be built in Tokyo Bay in Japan, which will be 12-times bigger! And you thought Kim Jung Il's pyramid is strange, the one in Germany will be a massive cemetery -- that's right, over 578 square meters of dead people.

From CNET:

"Instead of being a monument to only a few individuals, Germany's Great Pyramid would be a communal tomb open to anyone regardless of nationality or denomination. It would offer burial space in the form of a "tomb container with ashes of the deceased" and engraved "memorial stones" with time capsules to store personal memorabilia." -- "Great Pyramid' made in Germany?


...and, "The project has been given starter funding by the "Future of Labor" program of the government-backed German Federal Cultural Foundation."

The "Future of Labor" program and a gigantic pyramid for the dead? Sound's like the future works program that Orwell wrote about in "1984":

"War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society." (Orwell, Chapter 9, Part II).

Minitrue to the Rescue

But instead of fulfilling our emotional needs with war, maybe our shadowy overlords are not so morbid after all. For example, Minitrue was also about fulfilling our emotional needs with entertainment and the arts. Perhaps our modern day pyramids could be places of worship too, sort of like the Pyramid of Peace in Astana, Kazakhstan. Though not exactly a religious temple it was designed to bring the world's religions together to foster peace and understanding:

"(Foster and Partners) has described it as “dedicated to the renunciation of violence and the promotion of faith and human equality”. As Foster’s fellow director, David Nelson, charged with delivering the pyramid, puts it: “It was one of those things that captures the imagination. We felt that if someone wants to bring together the world’s religions, that is something that’s well worth doing at the moment. As a symbol, the pyramid is not really owned by any of today’s religions." -- See Article

So, with our economic and and spiritual needs now met, what to do for leisure time? How about a game of ball in the Walter Pyramid or Memphis Pyramid or a game of craps at Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas?

Let the games go on.

Winston...hold on tightly to your paperweight.


Check out these two amazing videos on the Ryugyong Hotel:

Fiction Pyongyang - demolition Show - Ryugyong North Korea

Here's are some good photos with quotes a interesting article: