Perhaps you’ve seen this story in mainstream news over the last week. Forbes, NBC, CNN – all the big media players – are talking about it. The idea is to suspend an extremely tall tower, almost two miles in height, over the surface of the earth, hanging by cables from an asteroid captured and entrained into geosynchronous orbit over New York. Go read about it now, then come back.
This is the latest in a series of dreamy speculations posited by the New York architecture firm Clouds Architecture Office, which is mainly operated by a professor at Pratt Institute named Ostap Rudakevych. They do a lot of speculative work for NASA, including plans for Mars colonization.
Architects have long celebrated their unwillingness to keep their feet on the ground to address practical concerns for habitation, preferring instead to emphasize their artful expression of form over function, but this guy’s really got his head in the clouds.
Rudakevych has been publishing his thoughts on humans colonizing our airspace since at least 2008. He calls the air our “third sphere,” after the “solid lithosphere and fluid hydrosphere” of land and sea. The Analemma Tower has evolved from his earlier ideas for a Cloud City – using blimps as living quarters – and Cloud Skippers – dwellings in the air suspended from long cables attached to solar-powered drones flying above the clouds.
Anyone reading this proposal will be immediately struck by its sheer stupidity. Technically speaking, it’s infeasible. Ecologically speaking, it’s wasteful. Humanely speaking, it’s deadly. Intellectually speaking, it’s absurd. But there’s more to this story than one man’s inflated, lighter-than-air ideas.
“Business is conducted at the lower end of the tower, while sleeping quarters are approximately 2/3 of the way up. Devotional activities are scattered along the highest reaches.”
Say what? Devotional activities? The conceptual diagrams show that the top third of the tower is dedicated to spiritual devotion services. Floors for “Worship” are surmounted by a “Reliquary,” and at the tippy-top, a “Funerary.”
If you aren’t familiar with Catholic tradition, you probably don’t recognize the term “reliquary.” It’s a place for relics, including the dead bodies of venerated men.
Daily ritual phases for people indwelling this inverted tower are indicated in another diagram that divides the analemma shape at six points:
5 A.M.: Exalt
9 A.M.: Venerate
1 P.M.: Work
5 P.M.: Cultivate
9 P.M.: Dream
1 A.M.: Inurn
These are more Catholic terms, if not references to Freemasonry and other cultic beliefs.
The day begins with exaltation and veneration. Exaltation and veneration of whom? Dead people, presumably special holy men. That’s what the Reliquary is for. Then the afternoon is consumed by work, by toil, by tilling. That probably happens on the business/commerce/agricultural floors at the bottom end of the tower. Finally, sleep, perchance to dream while others burn and entomb the dead in the Funerary.
What we see here is a cycle oriented around death. If the word “lifecycle” describes the growth and development of organisms and processes from conception to finish, pointing always to their living aspect, what we have here is a crypto-Catholic deathcycle.
The word “analemma” refers to the observed elongated figure-eight shape that satellites (and the sun itself over the course of a year) trace over the earth as they orbit. Even geosynchronous satellites trace an analemma shape.
The analemma shape is reminiscent of a lemniscate, the symbol for infinity, and I think this resonates with people who like to dream of our unlimited technological potential.
“Analemma Tower is a proposal for the world’s tallest building ever. Harnessing the power of planetary design thinking, it taps into the desire for extreme height, seclusion and constant mobility.”
“Analemma” comes from a Greek word meaning “support,” which refers to the adjustable mount for sundials that was used to compensate for variations in the solar path. Literally, the word means “to take up.” I doubt Rudakevych had all this in mind with the name of his tower fantasy, but I find it fitting for a project that intends to exalt and deliver men based on their own works.
That brings us to the tower of Babel.
“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).
Our endeavor to build a tower to heaven so that we may make a name for ourselves advances today at the accelerating pace of technology and hubris. We glorify in the work of our hands and seek salvation in our works.
The proposal for this hanging tower calls for construction over Dubai, which “has proven to be a specialist in tall building construction at one fifth the cost of New York City construction.” Dubai’s tall building construction projects cost little in monetary terms because they exploit slave labor.
I imagine Nimrod’s kingdom also used slave labor to build the tower of Babel.