Pink Floyd: Welcome to the Machine Meaning
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Welcome to the Machine Lyrics
Where have you been?
It's alright we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
Provided with toys and 'Scouting for Boys'.
You bought a guitar to punish your ma,
XxPinkFloydxX999 Nov 15th 2005, 17:14 report
Yes, the last person that submitted, "Anonymous", your right exactly. It's about how they "control" every thing you do, and they pretty much control everything and your life. "Where have you been? It's all right, we know where you've been" and ".....its all right we told you what to dream" are examples of how they are saying they control you and know everything and are "The Machine" that controls your life and sets your lifes path for you. Great song by the way.
anonymous Feb 27th, 05:48 report
or maybe more specific
or maybe more specific
We know everything you did because we are seeing you. Regardless to your originality there is no need to tell us what you dream. Because WE tell you what you dream.
You dream of a big star (Entertainment)
Played a mean guitar (Music)
Drive in a Jaguar (Commercial)
anonymous Nov 9th 2012, 11:01 report
welcome to the machine is about the control we do not have . All that happens is pre ordained by the Machine . Life is just an illusion based on self gratification . We have lost the meaning and have fallen into the abyss .Our own self destruction is evident in the world we have created based on power and control we allowed to prevail .all is lost for the sake of our own self desire . we have given it up to a higher intelligence than our own masses could project.
TheMusicMan Nov 6th 2012, 11:59 report
I have listened to this song many times and watched the video many times too, and when it comes to interpretations to almost any Pink Floyd songs they are very difficult. But in my opinion, I think you have to look deeper than just the song, and look at the album it's on. Wish You Were Here is one second favorite album by Pink Floyd, next to Dark Side of the Moon, so I know the album by heart. But anyways, if you listen to Welcome to the Machine and Have a Cigar, they have almost the same meaning. They're both about the music industry. In Welcome to the Machine, they talk about how The Machine, which I believe means the music industry, controls what they do, what they think, and "what to dream". And in Have a Cigar, they almost mock the music industry, with lyrics "By the way, which ones Pink?" "You're never gonna die they're gonna love you". The album itself is a tribute to Syd Barrett, with Shine on you Crazy Diamond and Wish You Were Here, but overall in my opinion, Welcome to the Machine is Pink Floyd showing the dark side of the music industry.
anonymous Dec 31st 2011, 15:54 report
Keep this to yourselves as I am not sure of my right to compare a poem to a song... And FORGIVE my typos and stupid mistakes..
It might seem odd, but I believe "Welcome To The Machine" is a great deal like Walt Whitman's poem, "A Noiseless Patient Spider". They are very different from each other yet there is no denying there are similarities....
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood, isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my Soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my Soul.
Whitman compares a spider to a courageous human.... Someone who is venturing forth alone in unknown territory attempting to connect. In my opinion, Pink Floyd's Machine is the sticky web and some are caught up in it more radically than others.. But we all are in it for the most part, like Whitman's spider. In order to thrive as humans, we each tirelessly construct bonds to one another and our surroundings. Musing- Venturing- Seeking- Throwing- Churning- Cycling- Spewing- Spitting- Spinning-Processing- Homogenizing (When We Feel Like We Are Being Rebellious)- "Selling Out"- Supporting- Being A Part Of Something In Life... How else do we live and breathe? We spin threads to span the void... Galileo crossed a void with his telescope. We call friends, go on walks, write our feelings on the web, create music... Why? To span a gap in our hearts. To build a bridge between our souls. To bond with one another.
To some extent the majority of us must be a part of The Machine/The Web in order to survive. In a basic way The Machine/The Web is life support. Why do I believe this? Pink Floyd's Machine and Whitman's Web involve humans. The Web and The Machine wouldn't run properly without humans. Being a part of The Machine/The Web is all about searching for meaning and knowledge in the vastness of the universe. It is about persevering until there is an end or a goal in sight AND FINALLY WE ALL CONNECT.
If a person rips away from The Machine or The Web he MIGHT be able exist on a basic level. I suppose he could go off the grid and reside in a cave or up in a tree and function and survive, but he is alone. He might be "happy" without commercialism but the majority of us aren't "happy" without other people.. The people who happen to be tangled in the web and are a part of the machine are connecting on some level.. The loner might eat berries and pick a guava and ponder in his environs.. He does not need "society's" milk nor their manufactured nails nor their lightbulbs nor their CDs nor their concert t-shirt/merchandise nor what have you but he still need friends, love and human contact in order to grow. When a person is apart from The Machine/The Web he feels detached, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space and not at all integral, contributing or vital. I believe the majority of us need to feel connected in order to grow and thrive.
My dad had triple bypass several years ago and they basically stopped his heart for a long time in order to fix it. When they tried to restart his heart, it couldn't work for itself, so they had him on a giant MACHINE. It was disturbing and freaky to see him in that "recovery" room on that machine. He wasn't breathing for himself. The Machine was breathing for him. There was this huge pipe thing going into his chest area. It was really horrifying to see him like that but it was the only thing keeping him alive. If he didn't have that machine pumping into him he would have been a deadboy. So I think The Machine can keep us ALIVE in a way that is about survival and functioning on a basic level. My dad should have worn a t-shirt that read, "Welcome To The Machine" cuz at that point he and the machine were one. He WAS the machine. All alone, he was "alive". He was "surviving" his ordeal, but what caused him to blossom was human contact. He made friends with the hospital people who cared for him. My mom and I were humans visiting, supporting and loving my dad. His friends expressed their love for him in various ways. My dad evolved by adapting to the chaos and thriving after an incredibly traumatic experience. How? Because of his strength, perseverance and because of his connection to other humans.
Every day when I come to my computer the screensaver alternates between "WELCOME TO THE MACHINE" and "WELCOME TO THE WEB". Daily I come to this website to see what other humans are contributing. Why? Because most of my friends have declined contact any other way. I try not to make much noise and I know am trying to be patient... But if a person has almost no interaction with humans aside from The Machine/The Web, more than ever, that individual feels the desire to span the void! At this time in my life the Machine/Web might be my only contact with the outside world for the day. This is "surviving" and "functioning" on a basic level. Even tho' there are humans on this website I am not ACTUALLY seeing them or knowing their identity, hence I feel invisible and that is not exactly blooming and radiating... Still I recognize it is important because at this point it is keeping me alive and helping me breathe on a daily basis. It is my life support. I have attempted to throw out "gossamer threads" in order to connect. I have flung words.. Pink Floyd is Welcoming me to The Machine by saying, "Hey. Maybe you aren't eating in the steak bar or driving a jag, still you are a part of something vital and key. You are stuck in the web in your own way. Don't judge us for how entrenched we are because we all really need to buy toilet paper in bulk unless you are a castaway. So welcome to you." I hold out hope that someday we find a way to live with The Machine/The Web that is more harmonious, beautiful, real and warm than the cold and calculated conspiratorial contraption it often appears to be.
The point I am trying to make is:::: Whether you are a part of The Machine/The Web or apart from it you are alive, I am sure, but your life is empty without music and people. Pink Floyd might have said (in other song) that the name of the game is "riding the gravy train", but I believe the goal is about something more beautiful and meaningful. It's about humanity and the bonds created through music. You can vote me down cuz I don't know my head from my a$$ but I do know how to find The Machine/The Web so I am grateful to be alive and enduring on an elementary level today.
anonymous Dec 9th 2011, 10:40 report
I disagree with Damian only because I think they are saying that they got hooked by the machine as well. The line ‘you bought a guitar to punish your ma, and you didn't like school, and now you know you're nobody's fool’, is a reference to how they thought growing up I am sure. So even though they are independent thinkers and want to flow against the machine. They got caught up in it as well. We all do to some extent. They got influenced by the machine, but at least they recognized it. They are down playing their own genius to some extent. They are stating that even ideas that seem to go against mainstream society are planted ideas. We are even subconsciously taught what is perceived as outside of the machine kind of behavior.
anonymous Dec 9th 2011, 10:20 report
Come on people really? It is quite obvious what they are talking about. They are saying that what we perceive as independent or rebellious thinking is really a subconscious plant by society and that it really is not anything new or original at all. The line, ‘you bought a guitar to punish your ma,
and you didn't like school, and now you know you're nobody's’ is a sarcastic example that society taught you the way to rebel. So 'Welcome to the Machine' means you are spoon feed your dreams and ideas. You think they are original or cool ideas, but you think that because the pipeline of information that you are feed from birth taught you that. It is really an ingenious song. I always loved Pink Floyd for the depth of their lyrics.
anonymous Sep 18th 2011, 13:59 report
for the interpretation part--if you can define acute schizophrenia in terms of machine; that would be it!
anonymous Sep 5th 2011, 11:38 report
Pink Floyd has said that it's about a budding rockstar talking to a seedy executive; all his seemingly "rebellious" moves have been done before. It's also about loss of identity.
anonymous Aug 4th 2011, 05:33 report
Concept of George Orwell's book 1984.
anonymous Apr 17th 2011, 01:53 report
The song is about government control and dystopia.
You're all crazy.... It's about being born into the world in which we live. We are born into a certain culture that has a pre-determined path due to history. Through school and government in which we are forced to live, breathe and learn.... we are programmed. It's a well oiled machine because it's withheld the sands of time and will be not only engrained in our minds through genetics but also through practice. Pink Floyd collectively are independent thinkers like most other "weird" people in the world.... that's why although Dark Side has been number one since it came out... Pink Floyd has really never obtained mainstream success... because they are brilliant and have an outlook on life that doesn't fit in because it doesn't just go with the flow. In Fact! It totally goes against the flow and challenges none other than THE MACHINE ITSELF....
To me this song is about a young man who joins a rock band thinking that he will now start living the perfect lifestyle, but as he begins his journey with the band, he starts to receive prophecies from the veteran members of the band indicating that it might not be as much fun as he thought it would be and maybe even quite the opposite of the glamorous life he had previously envisioned.
latrodectus Jul 2nd 2010, 08:12 report
I would have to agree with what everyone has said, it has all been along relevant lines. Think about it. Whether, we are talking about contracts, corporations, or governments...they all function the same. They have their secrets, their legal or questionable tactics. I've worked for two corporations so far (major cruise lines), I understand very well, the scariness of being a part of it, as well as, making connections between Government and other corporations. They are the rude of all evil and I think that's what Water's means to expound on. Water's wouldn't just be referring to a musical contract, the band wasn't that self centered, they have something to say to all of us. That's the way times were back then, everyone was family.
anonymous Apr 24th 2010, 02:59 report
well, that's a good one any way. let's say a perfect one! u know sometimes some of us r put in a state of neglect by those around us and the whole things surrounding us perhaps, but at the same time we're rather watched and checked all the time. or is that merely an illusion we prefer to emerge? i have no idea of the rationale behind that, though just guess that we're more neglected in life than watched!
by the way can any one possibly find a relation between this song of pink Floyd and little Susie by Micheal Jackson???
Many pink Floyd Lyrics have to do with the iiluminati and the New World Order the shadow Government that run congress and have completely owned every president in the last century, they are the Global elite; Major bank owners, Major media owners, and all the major corperations. Who meet in secret with all the major political figures in the US and across the globe to plot their plan to bankrupt America and the Global economy to merge us into a World Government with one world currency while turning us all into their finnacial slaves
Lairandir your an asshole you don't break down other peoples interpretations and just think yours is it. people can interpret songs anyway they want it doesn't matter what yours is. people like Pink Floyd and red hot chili peppers put their own meanings in their songs but it opens other people up to interpret it the way they think the song speaks to them. So shut your trap dude fuck you.
anonymous Dec 17th 2009, 23:28 report
I think "the machine" is the world and we are all just the governments little robots.
FloydFanatic Jan 27th 2009, 21:57 report
In addition to seeing 3 live Pink Floyd concerts (although none with R.W. and D.G. Together) I have read 2 biographies and own every album and DVD. Nothing has proved definitively the meaning, and that is the beauty of great lyrics! I lean toward the war theory on this song but Have A Cigar is clearly a lash back at the music moguls wanting ever more. Off subject while PF was recording darksidemoon, three doors down on abbey road - beatles were recording SGT.PepsLHCB. They actually dropped in to meet the PF legends....
anonymous Sep 15th 2008, 02:56 report
They had so many compilation albums with the same songs that seems like a money-making marketing scheme. Wish You Were Here was released in 1975, just two years after immensely successful Dark Side of the Moon. We know how the record companies basically own the musicians and get way more money from anything they produce from the Beatles to NWA and many others. It seems EMI would be pretty happy at that point and would have a vested interest to keep track of them and keep them full of schedules with promos, interviews, tours and all that. The lyrics are definitely the mode of control. I doubt communistic control or a technological control since it was 1975. It's like the record company is holding their lives against them, they know everything about them, they can pick at their personal lives, they have no where to go because no one could turn down the opportunity they were given. Rodger was exclaiming metaphorically how the record company has invaded every inch of their lives and exaggerated it "it's alright we told you what to dream" coupled with all the acid in his tea, he probably felt trapped and mind fucked. So, I agree it makes sense to be about EMI records.
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