Tool: Parabola Meaning
Song Released: 2001
We are Choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside...
This holy reality, this holy experience. Choosing to be here in...
This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder...
CowboyNinja Nov 9th 2006, 00:33 report
Now I believe a few people here have gotten from this (these) song(s) that I have. It's a very spiritual, not religous, but spiritual in a way that this life you've been chosen to be given is not something to be taken for granted. It's a sacred thing to be alive and breathing, just to appreciate all life around you and how simplistic the beauty of it is. Now, I don't think Maynard wants people to listen to them high, as he is avidly against drugs (see: thirteenth step album and rosetta stoned) but he wants us to see things from two perspectives.
This reality that we percieve.
And not so much an afterlife, as a sort of pre-life, where we are all but one life force, joined together, as seen at the end of the parabol/parabola video.
When he says this body, he means the one he's actually in, his own skin, the song is told from a spirit point of view, where life is a given, it's all around, but it's a privalege to be able to live.
Thanks for reading, this is just what I've gotten from this masterwork of a song.
anonymous Aug 20th 2006, 05:00 report
There is an psychologist named dr rick strausman. He wrote a book titled "dmt: the spirit molecule." it was a report on some studies he had done on a psychedelic substance called n,n-dimethyltryptamine. The fda approved him to administer the drug under a controlled environment to a group of different people from different backgrounds. This chemical also is found in your pineal gland in your brain. It is medically documented to be released into your bloodstream during birth death and any near-death experience in between. The penial gland forms in the fetus the 44th day after conception. It is beliefs of buddhist and hindu religions that the 44th day after conception is when the soul "enters" the body. Coincidence?
Okay now getting to the point... During the studies all volunteers described the dmt trip as a separation of body and soul. They described it as their soul leaving and entering a "white light". Ever heard of people having near-death experiences involving this? Well, he submitted his reports, and published his book, the fda deemed that further studies of this drug would cause social upheaval due to the belief that it was nearing a scientific discovery of the existance or non-existance of a god. The fda cut off his authorization and changed the drug to a schedule 1 drug (the same legality as cocaine, heroine, and such). This song describes a dmt trip.
Another wierd coincidence... The album artwork includes an image from the cover of the book.
anonymous Jan 31st 2006, 11:41 report
Tool the living legacy, best band of all time more than just a band to me, Parabola is a song that I think really highlights the gift of life and the spirtual awaking a individual can recieve just by taking a breath of fresh air. And in the end not much really maters rember all this pain is an illusion. Dont take the only thing you really have for grainted, life. To all the true tool fans out there I know you feel what I feel when we turn on any matter peice of Tool's. futher more this is one of tools more optomistic songs, as well as the Album itself. Keep the hope alive people heres a salute to real music!
anonymous Feb 29th 2012, 03:58 report
Well, I am shocked no one has pointed this out, so in the absence of a real interpretation of the imagery in Parabola, I am forced to bring an important element to light.
Yes, I know so many of you wish to adamantly deny any links to theology in Tool's art, and I am slightly the same, being atheist. But, Tool is very much inspired by theology; Hinduism, in particular. And I will explain how this is betrayed.
At the end of the clip, you see the main figure come to an epiphany of sorts, and an extended vision is granted to him as he transcends. Watch carefully as the eyes travel through his body, at different nodes, most notably the solar plexis, throat and brow, you see flowers blossom. These areas correspond to the areas of Manipura, Vishuddha and Ajna, the last of which is also known as the Third Eye. Ring any bells? These areas, in Hindu doctrine, are called the Chakras. Which I'm sure you have heard of.
Now, more explicitly, after those eyes have unified the Chakras, you see an eye open at the figure's brow.
What this video depicts is a transcendence of soul from body. So, much to your disgust, the song (and Tool in general) is/are actually religiously inspired. But I honestly don't see the bad thing about this. Hinduism is a good theology to follow, if any.
Look up the Chakras and Hinduism for more info. You'll start seeing the connections.
anonymous Oct 14th 2011, 22:37 report
For me, this song is about meditation. In meditation, you ignore all thoughts about the past and the future and focus on the present moment ('We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment, we are choosing to be here, right now').
Meditation helps us to embrace the only reality we are certain exists: the present moment.
It also helps us to ignore any physical or emotional pain we may feel ('pain is an illusion').
anonymous Aug 7th 2011, 03:28 report
This song is alot more simple than most people would think. It's pretty much just about mindfulness meditation and being right in the moment enjoying life.
'We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment, we are choosing to be here'
In mindfulness meditation, you totally forget about the past and the future and focus on the present moment. Once you stop thinking about the past and the future and let go, all moments in your life become precious and divine.
The line 'Pain is an illusion' refers to all types of pain, whether they be physical, emotional or whatever. Anyway, with meditation you can put your mind over pain and interpret the feeling as just like any other sensation or by focusing your mind on something other than the pain like vizualisation. Also, with enough meditation you notice that all types of emotional pain (anger, resentment, sadness, hate) are all choices that we make, yet most people make choices to feel these ways because it almost comes automatically to them. But when you meditate you notice how you torture yourself with your thoughts and stop it before it happens.
Anyway, that's just my interpretation. I doubt it has anything to do with DMT but that's just my opinion, if you think it does then that's cool.
anonymous Apr 6th 2011, 23:22 report
For those of you that don't know Maynard was in the army and, this is a little different interpretation, but when he says "All this pain is an illusion" he's talking about how the army brainwashes you to the point to were you have to be dead to stop in order to do that you have to push through all pain (or believe it doesn't exist). Or when he says "this body holding me it's a reminder that I am not alone" is showing how you only have your body and nothing else. Breaking down the civilians to learn how to kill. Thats my interpretation of it it could be wrong but many of my family have been in the service and most of what the song was saying sounded how they described their experience. That's all from I love tool and always will. Thanks for listening.
I could be completely wrong, as I have seen some great answers that seem pretty accurate. However, I mean to discuss different interpretations here. I think the song might be talking about the deliverance of a newborn as they are passing through the birth canal, since a newborn is not experiencing things willingly when they are being born. A newborn's holy reality would be being inside of a womb, praising this body holding it safe. A mothers body is always a reminder that you are not alone, that the pain the newborn is feeling is a reminder of the reality that you are alive inside of someone else. The pain a newborn goes through when being delivered is an illusion because we can never remember what that experience was like. What we need to recognize as a gift would be the sacrifice the mother has to make because of the painful experience she will go through delivering her baby. The parable here is this sort of religious experience, one that parents have gone through because they have experienced the miracle of having a kid. It is apparent to me that this is the kind of life being praised in the song, the ability to see life go on.
anonymous Feb 27th 2011, 19:53 report
I think this song is about love and sex. That's it.
anonymous Jan 17th 2011, 08:45 report
Well my opinion about this song is maybe that Maynard with his mind-drilling lyrics is trying to build a huge widescreen inside our minds so that we can imagine and convert this imagination to a more solid optical theme.Death is an experience that all of us on this planet will have to deal sometime each and everyone with his personal pain and remorse.When i read the lyrics hearing this song the same time i closed my eyes and the picture i saw is a man who is ready to leave this life with the worst body and soul pain.The truly meaning is that in this state of mind all this illussional pain we get is nothing else but our personal soul katharsis that prepares us for the next level of life and consiousness that we can find on the other side.More simple don't fear death just put the best smile in your face and let nature do the rest.
anonymous Dec 27th 2010, 00:20 report
Great music so powerful and so deep meaning of lyrics Lateralus , Parabola Aenima etc… In this song artist represent geometrical shapes as line of life way of thinking.. In Lateralus song saying to think like a spiral, not like a straight line. It also refers to the spiral as a kind of shape that represents our divinity and soul. The song is also about trying to become more spiritually aware and connected with the universe and God.. This line refers to developing as a society into a more intelligent and more aware people. When we start to look deep within and push the boundaries that we know. We will see more of ourselves and the universe than we thought existed in our ignorance. Once we start to realize our own divinity and our connection with the universe and God through swinging on the spiral, we may be the same physically and individually, but not mentally, spiritually, or as a whole. Maynard James Keenan said himself: "A circle is the reflection of infinity; it has no beginning, no end, and theres no way to tell one part apart from another. When you lay circles on top of each other, you get a spiral." Then Parabola also representing a line. The name "parabola" is derived from a New Latin term that means something similar to "compare" or "balance" , now this song saying about balance of what is real and what is not real seeing a world through window of reality and how hypnotizing media surround us also that saying in the song Vicarius… And how are people are weak and easy to control we just embrace what came to us whit out any question we just accept thing what they serve to us from some unknown peoples who control our way of life… Balance (Parabola) when u build your ego in this fake world and then u realize that u living in box and when u come out box your ego does not exist anymore and u are out of balance... what left is “ This body holding me remains me of my own mortality . Embrace this moment. Remember : we are eternal all this pain is illusion…”
He got hurt in the past, schism, magdalena, pushit, the grudge...the list goes on and on. She effed him up real bad and this song is about banging other chicks and not feeling bad about it anymore. This body holding me...that body isn't his own, it's another girl. And he finally doesn't feel bad about stickin' it to her, he sees the moment as a divine gift. I suppose the biggest give-away is the first line "WE......."
anonymous Jun 28th 2010, 22:21 report
I'm a form of energy and my body is the physical representation of it. I'm glad that i have ability to connect, interpret and spiral. I'm captivated in the illusion where my conscious mind is separated from my unconscious mind. This separation has made reality different for each of us and deeper than we can dig.
he wanted his listners to use his music as a "tool" i think really this song is just to remind us when we are depressed or sad that this life is such a blessing that this pain we feel is an illusion and we neeed to keep our minds optomistic and appreciate that the experiences whether sadening or happy should be cherished and appreciated as well as life....at least we can say we have experienced it and lived...
anonymous Feb 3rd 2010, 06:52 report
This song is about ultimate consciousness experiencing itself subjectively in the human form and the bull shit we are made to believe by those who want to control others vs awakening from a form of conditioned sleep. It is about recognizing your universal self in the moment and reconnecting through higher dimensions where time does not exist only the moment. Then it makes reference to traveling through the realm of the mandalla.
bestbandever Jan 16th 2010, 03:03 report
I think that this song and several others on lateralus was inspired a lot by Eckhart Tolles power of now..I guarantee Maynard read this book between eanama and Lateralus.. reflections as well. Parabolic is a synoym for parallel.The song is about him discovering his other self his true essence not the form he holds now.. His true spirit and his self are one. They run together in a straight line..In the beginning of the power of nw Tolle explains how he was suicidal and he kept telling himself that "I cannot live my self and it was then that he relized that there was obviously two of him and not one and I believe Maynard is talkin bout the same shit!!
I.am.a.Tree Dec 16th 2009, 16:37 report
I think parabol/parabola is all about reaching a different state of mind, through as many others have listed here drugs (especially DMT or anesthetics(see the inside of the Aenima cd's artwork it talks about the anesthetic state of mind and trying to increase the percentage of our minds that we use)), meditation , mental journey's, or realization.
I think this song is about searching how to find that state of mind of infinite possibilities. I support this because a parabola looks like this |( (except the brackets center is touching the line) the touching of the center represents our grounded-ness on earth (parabol) while parabola ( the exciting feeling of new surroundings(in the music)) is the infinite possibilities of that bracket (mathematically it extends for ever).
I think they are saying that we are supposed to be searching for this different deeper state of mind, and our body is our tool in trying to find this connection to the worlds singular conscious (see the bill hicks expert from third eye on aenima I think these songs are very related) also when the man in the end of the parabola music video sees the energy in the vessel of the leaf he and it join then join a large inter network of energy. I think our third is to see this other state of mind and to look at things from a singular consciousness perspective/ network of all energy being connected, or simply alternatives to what we see with our two worldly eyes.
Now the body of the lyrics, I think that when he's talking about were choosing to be here in this body is that any point we could kill ourselves and that life is choice and when he says , "hold on,stay inside" he is telling us to choose life, and though most are choosing to be in their bodies that we should use it as a "holy gift" to try and find our third eye or our connection to everything and that once we find that or on our way to finding that all the pain really becomes nothing but an an illusion in the big picture/ in our connection to everything.
When he says the first line "We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment" I think he is saying we truly have no idea how our energy and our mind formed into what we are and why we are formed here. Then when he is saying we are eternal I think he means our energy our spirituality will always be alive as it flows through different forms and realities. Again though our "bodies" two eyes we can only "see [our] own mortality" and our third eye is to see beyond. finally when he says "This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in" I think he's saying that we all have the capabilities to see from a different perspective, and that we all feel pain like each other but we can again all look out this pain through a different perspective (different eye).
like Iran said about the music video about the dusted apple is our dusted beliefs (religion, attitudes, close minded-ness ), and when the man takes the knife from the tool box and cuts it open to show a fresh inside, he is saying that we have tools to cut through our shrouding beliefs to experience the real core of everything, and when the men throw up the disgusting black stuff I think that symbolizes ridding them self from all those gross beliefs(religion, attitudes, close minded-ness)then you can finally make the transitions between parabol and parabola this world, to the infinite possibilities of other realities(note: this is at the exact same time the transition in the video happens).
Then when the man(in the video) examines the tree I think he is examining nature which the I think the divine/complex tree is a symbol for(again examining nature examining its infinite possibilities of desgin through his third eye).. Then when the kid like thing walks by it looks as though he doesn't really get it. Then I think when the man puts his head into the glass cube thing as sees his mind , then all the black ball comes out (which I personally think represents his problems,but the fact that they are in his mind also represents that they can all be controlled and are therefore an illusion). Then the problems multiple and kill the kid like thing, which I think represents the mans old self ,unknowing and I think the kid like characteristics represents before he has matured to think past the pain and that problems his old problems pain can kill his old self. Then the man screaming at it probably shows his hate to towards the problems, and when he cuts open his former self he can finally see (with a heightened state of mind) his old self from the inside out what he really used to be.At the same time I think this shows he's left his bodily vessel (all the guts and tissues). From this point on the problem ball leaves him (connection?).
Overall this song is about achieving your third eye through your journey in your mortal body ( through drugs,realization, mental journeys, meditation...) to really see alternative to the greater scheme of things and the connection of all our energies and to forgot our pain in comparison to that vast infinity. The Parabola is the core of this song (why it was named)and is about leaving the earthed two eye world (the connection of the bracket to the ( |( ) plane line) to the infinite possibilities (the bracket)of alternatives and our spirituality's eternalness to flow through these possibilities.
Note: When I really started listening to this song I really got a feeling of a struggle and anger, and I think that represents the struggle of finding our third eye and how to see past this monotonous world and all the shit (the pain) in the way of that. Again overall about going through this to leave the earths to the alternatives of reality.
Note:When I first watched the music video I was so high I freaked out and dropped my friends b and threw up from the smell/ greening out.
anonymous Jul 25th 2009, 15:34 report
Uh just because Maynard is anti drug doesnt mean the rest of the band is.... what about Alex Grey art??? Do u know who he is and how he has done many drugs to aid in meditation. And i dont think Maynard is anti drug anyways why would Maynard of all people be brain washed by the 12 step program into believing about god... we all know tool is anti brainwashing religion that is always the theme.... think for yourself.... question authority.... so nice try.... but its massively false!
anonymous Apr 29th 2009, 16:38 report
I would like to add something to the interpretation of Parabola being about chemicals in the pineal gland; the pineal gland was once called the "third eye" by the greeks who thought it was the soul gland. At the end of the video a third eye is opened. P.S. The guy talking about aliens is hillarious, I hope he really doesnt think that.
I wanna interpret the music video. To me it's about beauty of being alive & rebirth. It's about being a new U. At the beginning of the video there are 3 guys. One of em opens a toolbox & takes out a knife which is the symbol of our tools for this change. Then he cuts a dusted apple. Yup, a dusted apple which is the symbol of our dusted attitudes, religion & stuff like that. The fresh inside is the symbol of capability for this change. There's also a geometrical shape in the apple which you can also see in another scene where some hands get each other to help for this metamorphosis. After that the guys levitate horizontally & throw up black stuff (which is the symbol of dusted attitudes, religion & …) and this is a sign of discarding them. Right after that U can see another guy & a kind of kid-like creature, which is the symbol of possessions & is killed by a mass of atoms which are multiplied as the video goes on. The atoms are the symbol of our problems which can multiply as we grow. The problems can cause lots of problems for us. They even can get our beloved parents, kids, wife, friends & … from us. All we need to do is change the way we look at everything. If your doctor told you that you are only alive for one month, then you would notice a lot of things you had never noticed already. U even notice the beauty of a very simple leaf let alone the breaths you catch. In the video U can see when that creature is killed, the man sadly screams, but he doesn't pine away & does the thing I mentioned. Every thing you do & achieve in this world, you know, depends on the way you see the things. Whether positively or negatively. If you do the same thing the man does, you can have more than two eyes. Eyes in the video are the symbol of divinity & keys which you can remove the obstacles with. Otherwise … Thx for reading it all! It's my point of view & I don't wanna impose it on U. Wish all of U the best.
anonymous Mar 4th 2009, 22:03 report
This is just my point of view and what I hear in the song however...
I believe that both parabol and parabola are about childbirth.
I have two ways of interpreting this:
1 is that it is from a fathers then a mothers then the childs point of view,
I think that parabol in a strange way is the after affects of what you will read of the mother and childs part, but it is their reminder of why they are there.
the calmness of parbol symbolizing the fathers amazement at the reality of life hitting him, holding this form in his hands that reminds him that he is not alone now in his reality and he has to make room for this other part of him, wide eyed and hopeful, the child of course! so many prospects. His pain, seeing the mother in agony, and the child being the reminder that it is for a reason. I believe his part finishes at the end of parabol.
The mothers part in parabola the music is faster and loses the clarity of parabol but also has a numb quality - pain killers, as we all know when in extreme pain reality blurrs and becomes fast pasted and confusing, I believe the music symbolizes this. This body holding her, the father reminding her there is a reason, the family that will be, child birth is a holy experience, and of course they all chose to be there.
then alive! being when the child is born from his "view" life is a shock its cold and painful, his mother or fathers arms remind him he is not alone. and you can work out all the each new experience.
I think that one is a little confused though.
number two is similar but just the mother and child's view parabol is still what she is hoping for parabola is in the begging labour and alive signals the child birth, and then the childs point of "view", that or the mothers hopes for the child.
either way it is a truly great song and its wonderful that so many people speculate its meaning.
anonymous Nov 13th 2008, 17:57 report
My interpretation is similar to those above but I believe a bit different. I will start with the title...a parabola, in mathematical terms, is a giant, infinite, U-shaped line. It begins and ends with infinity, which I think is pivotal to the meaning of the song. First, we are all lucky to be here on earth, it was a one in a billion chance that we were born. We, in a way, descended from heaven (Btw I do believe in heaven and God, just not religion). Our time on earth is represented by the zero value of a parabola, the very very short period of time in which we are actually on earth. We must cherish this incredibly short time here and let go of our anger and pain, remembering it is all an illusion. There is an infinite afterlife awaiting us, forming the other side of the parabola. There is no need to be caught up in the pain and anger of life but instead we just need to remember life is so fast it can, at times, seem like an illusion, and we need to cherish our chance to be alive and breathing. Our lives are like a parable, in which we are constantly experiencing new things and we must keep spinning in and out of these experiences recognizing the holy gift of life rather than wasting our time being angry. Personally, this is my favorite Tool song and every time I listen to it I feel a sense of belonging on this earth and, if I am angry, I instantly become much more chill and happy.
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