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System of a Down: Aerials Meaning

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Song Released: 2002


Aerials Lyrics

Life is a waterfall,
We're one in the river,
And one again after the fall.

Swimming through the void
We hear the word,
We lose ourselves,
But we find it all?

Cause we are the ones that want to play,
Always want to go,
But you never...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 17th, 2006 7:32am report


    the band almost always says their songs are meaningless or about some random thing that doesn't seem to have great purpose, but if you also take a look at one of their goals, which is to help people to think for themselves, then you have to look past even their own words to find any meaning that they would have tried to plant there for us.
    a lot of their songs seemed to be based off of how they feel about things.
    when they say

    Life is a waterfall
    We're one in the river
    and one again after the fall

    The lyrics rush you with several meanings at once.
    Life is a waterfall, what do we notice about waterfalls?
    They fall downwards, so life brings us down. Isn't it true? The actual reality of the things that go on in the world, murders, rapes, death, it can really bring you down if you acknowledge them. Another thing about a waterfall is that it never exists on its own, it always has a source, like a river or a stream. So if a waterfall is the acknowledgement of the terrible things in the world and letting it bring you down, what could the river be? The time before you realize what goes on in the world, often times this is your childhood. So when we're one in the river, and we're one again after the fall, it shows we are ourselves before and after the reality if life hits us and brings us down. Is that true for everyone? No, but think about it. When we were living as children with not a worry in the world, we were ourselves. Then once we began figuring out how the world worked and what happens in the world, we probably had a time of inner conflict where we had to figure things out, and after we figured/figure it out can adjust to it and find ourselves again.

    Swimming through the void
    we hear the words
    we lose ourselves
    but we find it all?

    I'm going to skip to the second line to help you understand the first later.
    We hear the words, we lose ourselves but we find it all. Well when we hear the words, we are being told or educated something. Following up on the previous meaning, we are probably finding out about the reality of life. After we find out about life, we lose ourselves but we find it all, which means we are given the full picture of what's going on, so we find out about everything (or do we? that's why there's a question mark there). So this part is describing the actual fall of life.
    So what is the void?
    Since we are still swimming through the river of life, the void is the place right "before" the fall. It is the image of life and what we believe to be true that we are living out before we actually know, and then we "hear the words" (are educated about what really goes on in the world) and then the "fall" takes place while we deal with what we have found out.

    Cause we are the ones that want to play
    always want to go
    But you never want to stay

    and we are the ones that want to choose
    always want to play
    but you never want to lose.

    this describes our nature during our time in the Void or before the actual fall takes place. These descriptions of who we are is what makes the fall so devastating to us.
    Cause we are the ones that want to play:
    we don't want to have to take things seriously, we want to just have fun and be kids, without responsibility, and living in happy ignorance.
    When reality hits us, we can no longer "play" we have to "work" and "survive".
    Always want to go, but you never want to stay.
    Humans in general are never really satisfied, we always strive for more and we always want.
    we always want to go out and try to gain what we want, but we never stay satisified with it.
    When reality hits us, we can't always get what we want and sometimes we do have to try and stay with what we have.
    and we are the ones that want to choose
    Humans want to be in control generally, and we want to choose for ourselves and sometimes others. When reality hits us, we don't always have this kind of control and we don't always get to choose what we get or what happens to us.
    we always want to play but we never want to lose
    this is a given, who wants to lose at anything? but when reality hits us, what happens? we find out that sometimes we have to lose, we can't win everything.

    So those lines described us in the void.

    Aerials in the sky
    When you lose small mind
    You free your life.

    Aerials are just things in the sky. Basically this part is saying, think big, don't think with a "small mind", think about the big picture, and it will free your life.

    Life is a waterfall
    we drink from the river
    then we turn around and put up our walls

    life is a waterfall just shows us that we are speaking of the river AFTER the fall at this point. We drink from the river, then we turn around and put up our walls. So we experience life now knowing what it is like since we are after the falls and we have experienced life, so instead of accepting it, we turn around and put up our walls. For those of you that don't know, walls in psychological terms is rejecting or blocking something out to protect yourself. In this case we are protecting ourselves against life, after tasting what it's like after gaining an understanding of it, so this stanza or whatever its called just shows us what we think of life knowing what it is now. This is probably before we are ourselves again, what we are like before we adapt to life's reality and become ourselves again.

    Aerials, in the sky,
    When you lose small mind,
    You free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    When you free your eyes,
    Eternal prize.
    Aerials, in the sky,
    When you lose small mind,
    You free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    When you free your eyes,
    Eternal prize.

    This is just saying the same thing as before, think big rather than thinking with a small mind. Think of the big picture. Think as big and tall as the aerials in the sky. Adapt to life knowing what it is, now that you have gained the new understanding

    thanks for reading
    -ryan (look past the obvious to the truth)



  2. 2TOP RATED

    linkinpark4eva
    click a star to vote
    Oct 28th, 2005 10:06pm report


    This song is about how people can lose their identities and become just like everyone else.
    "Life is a waterfall, we're one in the river, one again after the fall." - We all start off the same and we all end up the same.
    "Swimming through the void, we hear the words, we lose ourselves, but we find it all." - As we go through life we are told lessons, but we ignore them. We forget who we really are in the mix of seeking the synthetic lifestyle, and that's the price to lose who we really are.
    "'Cause we are the ones that wanna play, always want to go, but you never want to stay." - We always want to be part of the scene. We strive for what we want and when we get it, it still does not satisfy.
    "And we are the ones that want to choose, always wanna play, but you never wanna lose." - We want and want. We do whatever we can but if trouble is ever near we do whatever we can to maintain innocence.
    "When you lose small mind you free your life." - When we stop to see the full picture is when we really have control of our lives.
    "Life is a waterfall, we drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls." - We take and take and in the end we give nothing. This shows how greedy, oblivious and inconsiderate people can be.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    XXXshenanigans04
    click a star to vote
    Apr 29th, 2006 4:15pm report


    Of course daron said the song has no meaning! The artists always say that when the song really does have a meaning. Look in the past, at songs such as "hey jude" by the beatles. It wasnt until 20 years later that they said it was about John lennons son, Jules. Just because Daron says the song has no meaning it does not prove anything!
    Personally I think the song is about losing your true identity to what society thinks you should be like.
    Oh, and just because the music video has a wierd lookin kid in it, it doesn't mean the song is about aliens, music videos arent always about the song. In fact, many times the artist doesn't even decide what the music video will have in it, there are producers and writers that make visuals that they think will go well with the song.
    Just my personal thoughts on the song.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 16th, 4:50am report


    Maybe the band wants you to work out the meaning for yourself. Which will be different from one person to the other. Alot of bands do this.

    Personally I think it's about taking drugs for a big night out. You want to play and feel aerials in the sky whilst doing so. But then you come down and don't want to stay. Next weekend you want to play again, but never want to stay. Also people who have taken hard stuff know what the feeling is. It can feel like your visiting other dimensions, like being an alien. It's all glamorous, like the kid with the models in the video, but you always know something is weird and never normal.

    The band might be referring to this stuff, or they might not. Either way it's a great song and I love it!



  5.  

    subjectdelta29
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    Jan 17th, 2014 1:27am report


    Aerials being similar to many songs by System of A Down is speaking ill of the government and its fascist ways. It is telling a story of how the government is sending stealth planes to watch over us in our everyday lives, hence the word Aerials."Swimming through the void", that void is the government trying to turn us into angels in their little utopia by corrupting our brains with false info. This obviously isnt the first time the government has hypnotized us, After Pearl Harbor they used propaganda to make us believe that imprisoning the Japanese in the internment camps was the right thing to do. "We drink from the river" Which that river is the pool of lies the government feeds us."and we put up our walls" The walls are what they put around the truth that they sealed away."Aerials in the sky", The planes that are watching over us."When you free small mind" This is when we let go of what the government is telling us."Then you free your life", after freeing yourself from the lies then you see the world for what it truly is. "life is a waterfall" This is true because life is filled ups and downs but for some, the government causes their life to be a large fall like a waterfall."were one in the river and one again after the fall", we are trapped in the lies and they put us down but right after the fall we just fall again until you "free your life". This is just my opinion on the meaning.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 8th, 2013 11:16am report


    It could be about an idea or theory which expresses that all the creatures in this world & every single parts and sub-parts of existence are coming from a single & unique POINT and in the process of being and living the will eventually get back to the root they will be ONE again
    In a sentence “passing world of unity ,feeling and experiencing world of diversity, and finally believing pantheism “
    The ones who can see this path r called aerials cause they r watching from above and see whole the path clearly , they r clairvoyants
    The key of reaching to this point is to forget and lose our egoistic side of mind and soul and it will help you to free your life and your love to all , in return it would bring you eternal prize" i myself feel so far from this key pray for me"

    "Life is a waterfall,
    We're one in the river,
    And one again after the fall"
    COULD MEAN : passing world of unity ,feeling and experiencing world of diversity, and
    And one again after the fall. finally believing pantheism



    Life is a waterfall,
    We drink from the river
    Then we turn around and put up our walls
    COULD MEAN : we r coming from a same root but we persist on our separated and egoistic style of thinking and Living (WALL)



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 11th, 2013 10:26pm report


    Watch the video. In the video they are first off playing on a different planet is what my interpretation is. Also on the next part when they're in the "tent" playing they have a TON of birdseye views of the floor
    Pay close attention to the floor. The writing on the floor is different symbols that do NOT look like something that you would see in any modernday or ancient civilization. Its "alien writing." Next we see the first actual scene of the video. We see the boy at first. Pay close attention to the face it looks to be an "alien's" face. Next we see that hes liftimg the front end of a car using telekenesis. So having all these facts about the video my ultimate interpretation of the song is that we were created by them. (Aliens). We need to stop being so close minded and realize there is something bigger than us. When u lose small mind you free your life. Close mindedness gets you nowhere stop only thinking your way is right maybe the bigger picture proves we're all wromg about god yet again maybe not. The more open minded you are the more freedom you have.



  8.  

    MightyTHOTH
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    Sep 28th, 2013 9:56am report


    Every Picture is worth infinite meanings. Every song is worth infinite meanings. The Band has their own meaning, possibly each band member acquires a different meaning. Anyways now that we know there are INFINITE meanings to ART (poetry, movies, songs, paintings, life, etc, all is art with infinite meanings).

    My meaning is that it is something spiritual:

    LIFE IS A WATERFALL WERE ONE IN THE RIVER AND ONE AGAIN AFTER THE FALL

    Life means all of human consciousness or even ALL living beings. We are one in consciousness as a river and one in consciousness after the FALL. The FALL is a mind devolution. We all fall together as a whole. (Technology on the rise) morality on the low.

    SWIMMING THROUGH THE VOID WE HEAR THE WORD WE LOSE OURSELVES BUT WE FIND IT ALL

    Swimming through the struggles and troubles of life, or maybe any darkness, we find the light, "hear the word." The word is not a literal word but the VIBRATION of God/Enlightenment. After we realize this, we become selfless, we lose our egos. And this is how we connect to Everything, "find it all". All means EVERYTHING. (The Milky Way is but a small fraction of that EVERYTHING.)

    CAUSE WE ARE THE ONES THAT WANT TO PLAY ALWAYS WANT TO GO BUT YOU NEVER WANT TO STAY

    We are the souls that want to join this life as we know it on earth, but when we see that which can turn us apathetic we don't want to stay.

    WE ARE THE ONES THAT WANT TO CHOOSE

    we are the souls that want to choose which world/dimension we want to "play" in.

    ALWAYS WANT TO PLAY BUT YOU NEVER WANT TO LOSE.

    In this LIFE you don't want to lose. We want to succeed and be successful which is living our dream.

    AERIALS IN THE SKY

    Planets moving in harmony/order.

    WHEN YOU LOSE SMALL MIND YOU FREE YOUR LIFE

    A small mind focuses on materialism. When you let go of that obsession/desire you free yourself from its illusion of worth. Or perhaps it means frees you-the soul, reincarnating back into this suffering.

    WHEN YOU FREE YOUR EYES ETERNAL PRIZE

    Close your eyes and be free of them. See with your mind, fly with it. Out of Body Experience explore the Aerials in the sky, the possibilities are infinite.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 10th, 2013 4:35am report


    When it comes down to it the song means whatever you want it to mean.

    Personally this song's lyrics speak to me about the realities of life, including the after life and before life, if you will.

    Life is a waterfall.....

    These bars to me say that altough a waterfall seems like the drop is the conclusion, we are one in the river, and one again after the fall. Not one and one again in the sense of two different beings, but rather one intertwined entity, being, whatever you want to call it.

    Swimming through...

    Swimming (reference to previous lines-water) though the void- life we hear the word: there is something more than this physical reality. then once we discover this we lose ourselves, becoming confused, but in turn, we eventually find it all: the anwsers about this waterfall we are swimming through.

    Cause we are...

    The previous lines: "swimming through..find it all" occur because those who do this are the ones who want to play around with this world, the way a child plays, studying the object and understanding it. "Always want to go...stay" this is referring to that place you reach when you can see the bottom of the waterfall from the stream- you always want to get there but once you are there it's difficult to remain in that state while on this earth-in this reality.

    And we are...

    wanting to choose our fate. you want to "play"(once again) but you dont want to lose, or get a shit deal your not happy with

    Aerials...

    "small mind" transcendental terminology. ego. believing in "I" when you lose this, when you see the bottom of the waterfall, you free your life

    Life is a waterfall..

    we drink" take a taste of this realization then we say wait a minute im not ready for this and create limitations in order to remain in your comfort zone, which is mostly fault of conditioning we are all victim to

    Skip the repeated bars-
    When you free your eyes eternal prize

    also referring to the "small mind" ideology.
    when you escape this, you achieve the eternal prize of contentment




    Unfortunately, this is just my take on the lyrics, and none of this is definite fact. Fortunately, it is if you want it to be.
    Hope i helped. if you have questions or just need to talk you can email me at dragonx13x@yahooDOTcom
    One love
    Sincerely, Nick



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 27th, 2013 3:27pm report


    IMHO this sounds like a recap of Carl Jungs theories haha.
    "Life is a waterfall, we're one in the river, one again after the fall" is referring to the collected unconscience. I'm too lazy to point out everything but basically what I take from the song is this: As you go through childhood you grow a massive ego as well as an equally massive shadow. Eventually you have to let go of your ego and face your shadow, break it down and assimilate it with your broken ego. Our entire lives are the waterfall you're never going to be 100% at peace IMO unless you're not born yet or dead. Not to say that the waterfall can't be peaceful at times ;)



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 18th, 2012 12:54pm report


    People always think soad is anti religious when really I think there the opposite in a way. There not out there preaching but they are saying to think and do what you feel is right and this is one of there best songs because serj talks about how high up the universe is and we should be open minded about it. Hes saying there is some form of creator and thats when he says " we hear the word, we lose ourselves but we find it all" Meaning we let something free our minds and take over and this band is anti government so what there main point in this song is don't listen to the wrong things and let them take over your life, let your small mind die and stay open to things



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 22nd, 2012 10:49pm report


    This song is about the universal consciousness as described in Buddhism. "We're one in the river" This is about pre-birth state when everything is ONE there are not separate identities.
    "Life is a waterfall" The life is the time between two equal states. Pre-birth and after-death. We may separate ourselves from others and become individual rain drops but we "and one again after the fall" become one after the fall.

    Also the "When you lose small mind,
    You free your life." talks about enlightenment and if you'll be able to attain enlightenment you'll see everything differently. If you manage to see that we are in fact on a waterfall with everyone around us it'll free your life from suffering. Don't want to go any further but the rest of the lyrics support that interpretation to my eyes!
    Cheers!
    Become the man you are!



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 22nd, 2012 8:48pm report


    @stephenisgreat
    big day out 2002 live



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 27th, 2012 7:11pm report


    The first guy did a good job explaining.
    Maybe Daron did say it was about nothing. That's their way of saying it means whatever you want.
    It can be about drugs if you see it that way.
    It can be about politics.
    It can be about ailiens.
    It can have a complex meaning like the first guy showed.
    In case you haven't noticed, almost all their songs have multiple meanings and are a bit trippy.
    So to each his own opinion, eh? x)



  15.  

    anonymous
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    May 3rd, 2012 5:15pm report


    I think there is a possibilty when Serj says Aerials he means Aliens...I don't know why.Like life was created by them..



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 22nd, 2012 4:12am report


    I saw on a live video serj was talking during the intro about how its about in creaseing techinology and how that doesn't benifit the human race as much as it should.



  17.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 19th, 2012 3:13am report


    i would just like to point out that they say this song is about nothing, so im gonna gues the song has no meaning.



  18.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 8th, 2012 3:45am report


    While System of a Down has made it clear that their songs have no determinate meaning, this particular song seems to be concerned with existence and the nature of reality.

    Tankian has stated many times that he believes that the pantheistic and monistic spiritual beliefs of tribal cultures is much closer to the truth than western religion. The song touches on many key concepts in Eastern spiritual traditions as well, particularly regarding Samsara, or the cycle of birth and rebirth.

    Life is a waterfall
    We're one in the river
    and one again after the fall

    The source of this waterfall is the source of existence itself. The river represents the infinite possibility and chaos of the universe where all things are one.

    It is clear in this context that the waterfall represents life. We are born from the whole, spend a fleeting moment in this physical reality, then return to the whole. During the fall, the water spreads into millions of individual droplets. While we are all part of the same existence, we briefly experience individuality and separateness through our perceived consciousness. In death, as with the bottom of the waterfall, all of the individuals become one again rejoining the flow of the river.

    This concept is further reinforced in the next verse:

    Swimming through the void
    we hear the words
    we lose ourselves
    but we find it all

    The void represents the true reality, where all things are one. When we "lose ourselves" through death, "we find it all" by becoming part of the source again.

    In essence I feel this song is about the cycle of birth and death. The next verse seem to reinforce this context:

    Cause we are the ones that want to play
    always want to go
    But you never want to stay

    This is similar to the Buddhist explanation of reincarnation. We are born into existence from a desire to exist. The line "We always want to go but never want to stay" represents the recurring desire and restlessness that causes us to re-incarnate after death, in an endless cycle.

    Additionally, the next verse refers to the consequences of existence:

    and we are the ones that want to choose
    always want to play
    but you never want to lose.

    We "always want to play" means that we want to experience physical reality but we "never want to lose" as we all fear death, not being able to see beyond it from within our physical context.

    The last lyrics seem to continue the Buddhist theme of the cyclical nature of our existence:

    Aerials, in the sky,
    When you lose small mind,
    You free your life.
    Aerials, so up high,
    When you free your eyes,
    Eternal prize.

    The ultimate goal is to attain enlightenment and free ourselves from rebirth and suffering. The "eternal prize" could possibly refer to nirvana, the state of non-being achieved when you truly become one with the universe and are freed from reincarnation.



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