The Largest Pyramid Ever?

A grand idea, con­sid­ered improb­a­ble by most. Gain­ing pub­lic­i­ty last month, was the pro­posed plan of Ger­man entre­pre­neurs to build the world’s largest struc­ture — a pyra­mid shaped tomb to con­tain the remains of mil­lions of peo­ple of all faiths from all over the world.

GreatPyramid The Friends of the Great Pyra­mid say:

The Great Pyra­mid can poten­tial­ly be any human being’s grave or memo­r­i­al site. As mon­u­men­tal as it is afford­able, it serves those of all nation­al­i­ties and reli­gions. Indi­vid­u­als who are either unwill­ing or unable to have their ash­es buried there can also opt to have a memo­r­i­al stone placed instead. Stones can be cus­tom designed with any num­ber of col­ors, images, or relief dec­o­ra­tions. The Great Pyra­mid will con­tin­ue to grow with every stone placed, even­tu­al­ly form­ing the largest struc­ture in the his­to­ry of man.

And regard­ing it becom­ing the largest build­ing in the world:

The Great Pyra­mid grows brick by brick; its struc­ture of rock-sol­id con­crete recep­ta­cles and memo­r­i­al stones is set to out­last the com­ing mil­len­nia. Each tomb con­tain­er will con­tain an urn with the ash­es of a deceased, while memo­r­i­al stones hold cap­sules con­tain­ing oth­er remem­brances. size-eng-small-resize

All stones are iden­ti­cal in size and are posi­tioned at ran­dom in the Great Pyra­mid. After only few thou­sand stones have been laid, the Great Pyra­mid will have reached mas­sive pro­por­tions. Even if only a small per­cent­age of all cur­rent and future liv­ing decide on a Great Pyra­mid stone, the mon­u­ment will out­size the Giza Pyra­mids very soon. In only a few decades it will be the largest struc­ture our civ­i­liza­tion has ever built.

They have secured $122,600 (£60,000) in state fund­ing, esti­mate it would take about 30 years to be com­plet­ed, with each bur­ial cost­ing about $960 (€700). Pritzk­er-win­ning Dutch archi­tect Rem Kool­haas is head­ing the jury for choos­ing a final design for the project. Not every­one is opti­mistic about the pro­pos­al though.

The Wash­ing­ton Times says:

The improb­a­ble plan is based on the idea that peo­ple will pay to have their ash­es encased in the con­crete blocks used to con­struct the mon­u­ment. Mil­lions of peo­ple would have to sign up to make it viable, though if the team behind it is suc­cess­ful, they will be rich beyond the wildest dreams of even the most ambi­tious pharaoh.

You can see the num­ber of peo­ple who’ve signed up for this here. Also, as expect­ed, local res­i­dents’ ire is report­ed by The Inde­pen­dent:

How­ev­er, the pyra­mid idea has not been uni­ver­sal­ly wel­comed by res­i­dents in the next door vil­lage of Streetz. “We don’t want to live next to the world’s biggest grave­yard,” one inhab­i­tant was quot­ed as say­ing last week.

Giz­mo­do also con­tem­plates that in 30 years, who would want to fly their remains to Ger­many when one could fly them in space?

I actu­al­ly liked the idea in some ways, though it is true that it does seem improb­a­ble. If mankind were to extin­guish itself by nuclear holo­caust or cli­mat­ic destruc­tion, there would hard­ly be any signs left of its exis­tence on plan­et earth. The larg­er the struc­tures we build, the larg­er the prob­a­bil­i­ty that alien probes would sense man-made struc­tures on earth after our demise. Ah! But that’s roman­ti­ciz­ing, just like Friends of the Great Pyra­mid!

(Image Cred­its: Friends of the Great Pyra­mid)

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  • So you mean I get cre­mat­ed and then my ash­es get interred in stone? How cool! The ques­tion is why I should choose to do that.…

  • Rather than mak­ing one huge pyra­mid, it would make sense to have many small­er ones, that way the prob­a­bil­i­ty of at least one of them out­liv­ing us increas­es. No?

  • nice idea… so it will give the com­mon man a chance to be part of the great lega­cy.

  • The ques­tion is why I should choose to do that…”

    … when my fam­i­ly can take my ash­es and have it com­pressed into a giant man-made sparkler? 🙂

  • Ram­bodoc: I don’t know…ask the hun­dreds of peo­ple who’ve signed up! 🙂

    Dijo: I didn’t think so. The larg­er the struc­ture, the greater the pos­si­bil­i­ty of it sur­viv­ing disasters…or that’s what I thought.

    Ankur: Yes, you’re right — that seems to be the moti­vat­ing fac­tor.

    She­faly: That was out­ra­geous! 🙂

  • What makes humans want to be pre­served after death? What makes them save mon­ey or invest just to get a good bur­ial or secure their ash­es?
    Is it appre­hen­sion or fear of the unknown.
    Or do we think that our lives can be com­pressed into a tiny con­tain­ers just to remind the future gen­er­a­tions of the inevitable end.

  • Mad­huri: Inter­est­ing ques­tions, thanks!

    I don’t think there’s a gener­ic answer. It dif­fers from per­son to per­son. I don’t think it is a fear of the unknown.

    Many believe in ‘some sort’ of ‘exis­tence after death’. Most think of it as a way for their rel­a­tives and descen­dants as a tan­gi­ble phys­i­cal thing with which to remem­ber them. There are many rea­sons, I think.

  • Mahen­dra:

    Why out­ra­geous? I think it is a bril­liant idea (pun unin­tend­ed). Although a bit gross. 😎

    But think about it.

    I think I may be very pop­u­lar if I declare that I wish my ash­es to be made into a “dia­mond” and giv­en to so-and-so! 😉

  • Mahen­dra, sud­den­ly you have start­ed post­ing a lot!!
    This is an inter­est­ing piece of infor­ma­tion. Can’t think of any­thing else to say!

  • She­faly: Now, I must say out­ra­geous­ly exot­ic! 🙂

    Nita: Thanks, but not real­ly. Just spurts of inspi­ra­tion.

    Why I liked this con­cept was because it is one idea in today’s world to bring peo­ple of dif­fer­ent faiths, reli­gions, and nation­al­i­ties togeth­er, even if it is after they’re dead. I seem to har­bor a naive imag­i­na­tion that such visions may make liv­ing human beings aware of the pre­car­i­ous­ness of their cooex­is­tence, and learn to live in har­mo­ny. That’s why this post. Big words — I know, they’re naive…

  • Mahen­dra:

    Out­ra­geous­ly exot­ic” or a stealthy way to tap into quin­tes­sen­tial human greed so that one can live eter­nal? After all, dia­monds are for­ev­er! 🙂

  • Only in the west is such an out­ra­geous idea pos­si­ble. We’ll do any­thing to pre­vent think­ing about the fact that we are just mate­r­i­al hous­ing spir­it and our mate­r­i­al goes back into the cycle of mate­r­i­al form­ing and reform­ing in the world. This pre­pos­ter­ous project is sure to be a major mon­ey­mak­er. My son is in the funer­al indus­try in Cana­da, and it is that, an indus­try, no mat­ter how we cloak it in terms of sen­ti­ment and remem­brance. Where he works is a colum­bar­i­um, nich­es with ash­es in con­tain­ers and objects pre­cious to the deceased. Eter­nal remem­brance, for at least a finite peri­od of time, until those who remem­ber us now also die. G

  • Sub­ur­ban­life: It seems you’re a mate­ri­al­ist, like me!

    But I dis­agree that it is only in the west that this is pos­si­ble. This is much, much, bet­ter, than how grave plots are high­er than liv­ing land costs in the most pop­u­lous coun­try in the world — Chi­na.

  • I came up Cul­tur­al Cre­ative 100
    Post­mod­ernist 100
    Mate­ri­al­ist 75.…..G

  • Eter­nal remem­brance, for at least a finite peri­od of time, until those who remem­ber us now also die.”

    They can pass on the dia­mond! I do not care about how long they live, do I?

  • I don’t know, big­ger may be equal to stronger but if dis­as­ter strikes that one place then it will be gone. Noth­ing left, but if there are many of them at dif­fer­ent places…

  • Dijo: If there are many of them at dif­fer­ent places, and small­er in size, what are the chances that they’ll be dis­cov­ered?…

  • The pyra­mids in Mex­i­co were built over time in the same way: lay­ers upon lay­ers over the years.

    I like the idea because it’s a sort of com­mu­ni­ty mon­u­ment. Tourists could play a scav­enger hunt game find­ing the bricks of famous peo­ple. (I’m only half kid­ding. I could see it becom­ing a Dis­ney World of the Deceased.)

    It would be nice if this ceme­tery for the new mil­le­ni­um would fund a pos­i­tive project, such as feed­ing the poor or edu­cat­ing chil­dren.

  • Cristine: Thanks. I was not aware of the pyra­mids in Mex­i­co…:-)

    I’m glad you liked the idea. I’ve stat­ed why I liked it in response to Nita’s com­ment above. It does seem to be the only idea where peo­ple of dif­fer­ent faiths are brought togeth­er in an act that is prac­tised dif­fer­ent­ly in dif­fer­ent faiths.

    Just as places of wor­ship are dif­fer­ent in dif­fer­ent faiths, grave­yards are too. We have sep­a­rate cemetaries for dif­fer­ent faiths. This idea is unique to me from that angle.