What does Vicarious mean?

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Tool: Vicarious Meaning

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Song Released: 2006


Vicarious Lyrics

Eye on the t.v 'cause tragedy thrills me.
Whatever flavor it happens to be like.
Killed by the husband...
drowned by the ocean...
Shot by his own son...
she used a poison in his tea, Then she kissed him goodbye.
That's my kinda story
It's...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Nov 20th, 2008 11:31am report


    I think most of you are reading too much into this. Even thought most tool songs do have a double meaning, this one is more straight forward than most. Everyone likes to see things die, no matter how much you might try to hide or shiver away fro it...if it's happening you will watch it and you will be curios. even though you might be sympathetic (vicarious), you are defiantly intrigued. Maynard is just speaking from his point of view I believe. He likes to see things die, and he thinks most people have a higher opinion of themselves than he might himself. But all in all he knows everyone like to see, hear, read, or know (any action other than feel) death, decay, chaos, or impotence. Lastly if you look at the last words in the song (much better you than i), I don't think he is speaking of people's character but rather it's better for you to be dying than him.

    And like everyones post this is just an interpretation, so treat it like one. I'm so sick of seeing people post things like FUCK YOU or YOUR FUCKING WRONG. We're all just guessing. But if someone has to be wrong..."much better you than I".



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Jun 30th, 2006 6:19pm report


    I watch TV because all the tragedy and death on the news and every other show gets me off. I love it when the toy soldiers on TV fall down.

    Don't you dare say that I am a horrible person for doing this as you sit there doing the same thing. Hypocrite.

    I need to watch all this death without feeling the implications. I can watch and thereby "experience" death. You need to watch, too. Don't lie.

    Why not admit that we want to see blood, gore and death?

    I need to watch death without truly feeling or caring about those dieing. All of you do too, so just admit it.

    We feed on blood, we bring death, we eat the dead and we watch them die. Watch your TV, and sing as the world dies.

    It's unbelievable - you want to believe inside we are perfect and good. Dig your head out of your ass and listen to me say it again. The universe is like this: hostile, uncaring, you kill to live - it has always been this way.

    We live on all of this death. We thrive on the destruction of others. It's like blood to a vampire.

    Vicariously I live while the whole world dies;
    Much better you than I.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Apr 25th, 2007 4:21pm report


    No guys Jewstalker is wrong. There is no "God" implementation on the 10,000days album. Wing's for Marie/10,000days; the only 2 songs I could even possibly see being interrupted as a "God" message, are not as they seem. Its about Maynards mom, nothing more. But, when you listen to the song not knowing the true meaning, your interpretation would be completely correct. Quite possibly Maynard wrote the songs as a "Double-edged sword" if you will. The problem is, that you are going to interpret the song in a way that is related to your personal being; so everyone's interpretation is going to be different (i.e. God/no god; whatever) But back to Vicarious. Yes the def. of vicarious is "felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others" (reference.com) Straightforward the song is about of fixation on death, and our thirst for more. This isn't ONLY americans, its the entire world. We are a blood thirsty race, that get off on the death's of others. And since we don't have a personal relationship with the people we are seeing die, it's not "shocking" enough to knock us out of our fixation. The desired effect is desensitization.(i.e. Stinkfist- if you think that's about anal fisting; my god go back to school and learn what metaphors are.) Now remember that our news agencies our controlled by MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS. And that these MNC's lobby government's around the world. They have more say in national policy than we do. Who do you think is "determining" news? Guys, Im sorry to tell you this, and you'll think Im crazy of course, but The United States is a Fascist Nation, and has been since the end of WW2. The problem is we grew up, being Innodated by misinformation and strong nationalism. This is what the New World Order is. A socialistic, fascist one world government. "...sleep to the rhythm of the New World order, and count bodies like sheep to the rhythms of the war drums." (Remember this in PET [APC]?) The idea of NWO is to pit the populations of the world against each other, killing off the major population centers so that the remaining will be much more controlable. So literally you can count bodies like sheep to the rhythms of the war drums. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but a lot of TOOL songs point in this direction. Don't be fooled by Bush and Cheney. They are just the continuation of a policy that was put in place by President Truman, and if we allow things to continue the way they are, our next President will be exactly the same. you know we are going to have to fight a revolution to fix this right? Cause our political system has been derailed. Look, we elected Gore in 2000, he won the popular vote by more than 1 million votes. I know, it's the electoral college thing right? don't you remember that the Supreme Court anointed Bush President? So did your vote really matter? Wake up, Don't go back to sleep like they want us too.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 18th, 4:58pm report


    I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding... The ones who think that we're all naive because we don't accept that we love death and are violent survivalists are quick to reproach and judge themselves, but even more so their race. However, those who don't accept we can get pleasure from seeing people die are perhaps also wrong.
    The fact of the matter is that the human race has a perplexing fascination with death. It is an absolution, yet we never truly experience it. We don't really know what it's like. We love to see hated characters die, but not the ones we care about, and most of the time, certainly not ourselves. It terrifies us, but we wish it one others. But don't forget... we'd also accept it on ourselves if it meant protecting the ones we love...
    So don't be so harsh. We're not all that bad, really.



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 10th, 2014 1:34pm report


    hahhahha.....you are all idiots!!!!! It's called vicarious so guess what? that means the point of view is vicarious.....he is mocking anyone who enjoys watching others suffer.....hahahaha......and I'm mocking you as well.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    May 15th, 2012 5:18am report


    vicarious means to live thru someone elses imagination. its saying how people rely on the tv and al that to tell them what to think while it is at the same time they desensitize us to the violence.



  7.  

    behrouzaftabi
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    Apr 24th, 2012 4:05pm report


    i believe this song directly depicts the craving within all human beings for shocking phenomena such as death,street fights even between two cats and other vicious occurrences we rarely encounter in our life. i am doing my militery service and these days we have been assigned to scan paper documents of martyrs in iran-iraq war. in each file there is a photo of martyr's corpes which is incredibly shocking and every time we open a new file, despite the fact we know it would make us want tom puke we take a look at it. moreover overwhelming majorit of us tends to enjoy raping porno films, reading events page of papers, we'd love to gather around someone who has had an accident and while we know ther is nothing we can do in these sort of conditions we still need to do it for no reason. YES YOU ALL WANT THAT (DEATH AND BLOOD) MORE THE OTHERS!



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 4th, 2011 7:44am report


    I personally doubt that this song is actually about How Maynard watches the news so he can enjoy watching tradgedy unfold. Think about the line 'stare like a junkie into the T.V. stare like a zombie'. I don't think he'd insult himself like that. I think the song is about how some people watch the news on T.V. because they live off watching other people dying. Maynard isn't straightforward with his lyrics, there's usually a hidden meaning or lots of hidden meanings woven intricately together.
    Anyway, if this song was really about what everyone says it's about then I'd have alot less respect for Tool as a bad and understand why so many people hate them. But personally like their other songs (Aenema, Parabola, Schism, The Pot, Rosetta Stoned, Sober, Prison Sex etc.)



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 18th, 2011 4:06pm report


    Let me just say one thing quickly before talking about the song.
    There is no New World Order. Conspiracy theorists have the qualifications in history, economics, and government of the average fry-cook. Kids, don't go read two articles online and claim to be an expert on every existent subject known to man.

    Now, that being said, this song is Maynard sending a direct message to people. He probably heard enough of people saying "this is too violent for me" and dealing with people saying TOOL is just some yelling metal band. It is about how we all point fingers at people and, using a literally stated figure of speech, says we all frown with one face while our other is watching the same thing and enjoying it. It is to help us realize we aren't better than each other. We are all violent deep down. In nature, it is just referred to as "Survival." So we all need to stop judging other people by what they enjoy because deep down, we are often the same.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 23rd, 2011 2:43pm report


    Enjoying every crime or catastrofy or anything that involves pain and death as long is not happening to you (or close to you)

    you enjoy by seeing it on any kind of media.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 23rd, 2011 2:33am report


    Awesome song!

    The song is essentially synonymous with the concept of schadenfreude - to take pleasurable delight in the pain and suffering of others (tragedy thrills me). it is essentially that whilst we don't want to experience it ourselves we enjoy seeing hearing etc about others experiencing it (from a good safe distance, much better you than i). hence we vicariously experience the pain and suffering through others such as in the media, movies and even day to day life.
    i would also like to point out that the concept of schadenfreude stems from freudian and jungian psychology and can easily be proven; if you have ever enjoyed action or horror you have experienced schadenfreude, as someone said earlier romance movies work the same way vicariously feeling positive feelings. however the likening of the word vicarious to empathy in feeling the feelings of others is incorrect the word rather means to experience it through another not necessarily empathetically in the same manner



  12.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 23rd, 2011 2:31am report


    Awesome song!

    The song is essentially synonymous with the concept of schadenfreude - to take pleasurable delight in the pain and suffering of others (tragedy thrills me). it is essentially that whilst we don't want to experience it ourselves we enjoy seeing hearing etc about others experiencing it (from a good safe distance, much better you than i). hence we vicariously experience the pain and suffering through others such as in the media, movies and even day to day life.
    i would also like to point out that the concept of schadenfreude stems from freudian and jungian psychology and can easily be proven; if you have ever enjoyed action or horror you have experienced schadenfreude, as someone said earlier romance movies work the same way vicariously feeling positive feelings. however the likening of the word vicarious to empathy in feeling the feelings of others is incorrect the word rather means to experience it through another not necessarily empathetically in the same manner



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 4th, 2010 12:50pm report


    god is watching holographic matrix, images made by him self, and him self is "i" and Desire to maintain form In fact, the tragedy of hostile evolution made by me and much better "you" than i.



  14.  

    MyAnalysis
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    Nov 15th, 2010 11:40pm report


    I just recently realized that the meaning of this song (quite simple to figure out yourself so I won't waste my time explaining) is not only a criticism of other human beings. It's actually an admition of the writer that he himself feels this way and enjoys experiencing tragedy vicariously. "Why can't we just admit it?" basically means that if all other human beings are like this, why can't we all just atmit to it and move on?



  15.  

    KionaCorona
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    Oct 5th, 2010 10:35am report


    Is the human species consumed by a psychological need to watch death and tragedy on the television? Tragedy transfixes man and makes for better television ratings. For example take the story of a person slaughtering his or her family versus the story of a person doing a great random act of great kindness; any news station knows the story of the slaughter would receive higher ratings. Everyone finds themselves engorged in any one of the horrific stories on tv daily; kidnapping, war, floods, etc. Even though they are horrified people can’t seem to look away from the story until the end. This universal truth is addressed by Tool in their song “Vicarious” the imagery and symbolism within the video combined with the lyrical content of the song convey a powerful message that all people feed off of watching others misery from the safety of the television inside their living rooms.
    Mankind loves to watch the world fall apart around them from the safe distance of their homes. The verse “Cause I need to watch things die from a good safe distance / Vicariously I live while the world dies” (Lines 14-15) refers to the psychological need embedded within human beings that enables them to feel better about their own miserable lives by comparing them to the people they see suffering. By watching these images they realize that their life is not so horrible after all. Vicarious means to be felt or enjoyed by imagining that the person is actually experiencing what they are viewing, so by saying that he lives by watching the world die the writer is saying that in order to feel alive and be able to face his own mortality he has to watch the world’s suffering. Of course while one is watching these horrific events they want to be removed from any possibility of being harmed as well, the distance of the television allows them a sense of security. If people had to get close to the tragic events they watch than all safety would be removed from this situation.
    People’s addiction to television has become such that they feels that they cannot survive without it. The verse “We all feed on tragedy it’s like blood to a vampire” (24) further strengthens the idea that man feels that he has to view death and tragedy on television. The figurative language is implying that man is like a vampire in his need to watch these horrific images. A vampire cannot survive without the blood that they feed off of their human victims; blood is the creature’s life sustaining force, as food is to mankind. If the creature refused to feed it would perish and wither away from hunger. By saying that mankind feeds off of the horrific images on the television screen as a vampire feeds on blood, the writer conveys the message that man would die without these images because they have become as life sustaining to humans as the blood is to the vampire. This verse strengthens the central message of the song that mankind feeds off of the images displayed on the tv.
    The imagery in the video that coincides with lyrical message of the song would be the translucent flickering humanoid that is being held captive by the floating, see through, glowing tv shaped boxes. While this humanoid stands transfixed by the television two long snake like creatures slither out of his eyes and eventually transform into a huge eye monster whose tentacles are being drug through the barren land, destroying all in its path. The humanoid can do nothing, and at one point begins to shake till he reaches out to touch the television, as if getting his addiction fix and reassuring himself that the television is still there. This scene in the video is referring to mankind’s addiction to the television, and to the fact that even though they see the world being destroyed around us they can do nothing but feed their addiction. The humanoid is representing mankind; he looks just like a human only he has transparent flickering skin. The skin on the humanoid is reminiscent of the strips of an old black and white television, symbolizing that not only is he enraptured by the television, he is being transformed into the images that are being viewed. The creatures destroying the planet resemble eyes, and come out of the humanoids eyes representing that peoples’ addiction to watching the horrible events is in part what is destroying our planet. The glowing boxes clearly symbolize television, they have the same shape as a tv and the boxes are what the humanoid is focused on further strengthening the message of mans’ fixation of television.
    The symbolism and imagery within the video clearly ties in with the lyrical content of the song. They both work together to strengthen each other’s message. When the viewer pays attention to the story line of the creatures and the visual symbolism throughout the video, combined with the figurative language contained in the song, they realize how much they complement each other. All the elements of the video go hand and hand with the message contained within the lyrics of the song. Alone the video and the song both have a powerful message, however together they strengthen one another and the message is epic in the magnitude of the depth of its meaning. The writer of this song relays the horrible universal truth that mankind feeds off of watching death and tragedy on the television, human beings are addicted to this and on some point feel they would die without it.
    KMt



  16.  

    kiona
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    Sep 16th, 2010 9:07am report


    "Do we a species feel the need to watch death on television? Tragedy transfixes man and makes for better t.v ratings; any news station knows this to be a fact. If they show the story of a person slaughtering their family verses the story of a person doing great good the story of the slaughter will have higher ratings than the story of a random act of kindness. This universal truth is one that is addressed by Tool in their song “Vicarious”, the video imagery and symbolism combined with the lyrical content convey a powerful message that “the universe is hostile so impersonal devour to survive / So it is, so it’s always been” (lines 31, 32). We feed off of other misery, whether we like to admit it or not. Everyone finds their self engorged in a news story about a kidnapping, war, floods, and various other horrific events. The amount of money those types of movies, books, and various other media sources verses the amount of money that self help books and positive media bring in is proof of that.

    All people throughout history have been fascinated by war and death, “neither brave nor bold nor the brightest of stories told / we won’t give pause till the blood is flowing” (20,21). Our history, fiction, poem books and art reflect that. All great stories be they fiction or non-fiction have tragedy in them. Eager Allen Poe, Stephen King, and Shakespeare are several examples of epic writers whom stories would have been lacking without the great plot twist of tragedy. Mankind loves to watch the world fall apart around them, safely from their living rooms, “I need to watch things die from a good safe distance / Vicariously I live while the whole world dies”. It is a psychological need deep with people enabling them to be feel better about their own miserable lives, by comparing their selves to the people suffering they realize their life is not so horrible. We watch and wait rather than do something to stop or change the horrible events, on some level not only do we want it to have a horrible ending but also we need for it to be a tragic story.

    The imagery in the video tales the story of a translucent humanoid with flickering skin which is reminiscent of the old television screen strips, standing transfixed watching the glowing boxes while the world around him is being destroyed. He is held captive by the glowing boxes symbolizing the hold the television has on mankind. The skin on this creature symbolize that not only is he enraptured by the television he is becoming what he is seeing on the television. As he is held captive by the horrific images on the screen you can see monsters within him come out of his eyes, the monsters or eye creatures eventually metamorphosis into the huge creature with tentacles that are destroying the humanoid’s world. The humanoid can do nothing, and at one point begins to shake till he reaches out to touch the television, as if getting his addiction fix and reassuring himself that the television is still there. By doing nothing and watching in fascination this creature is not only allowing the destruction of his world but is enabling it to happen. As he watches the glowing boxes his pupils start to resemble the sun in this land, a black hole surrounded by a fiery ring, fire has long symbolized destruction and death. At the end of the video they show a close up of the pupil than pan out further and further till you can see the whole earth, it is than that you realize that the earth also has the same eye as the humanoid. This symbolizes how man does nothing but watch the destruction of this planet and the people within destroy each other, people feel as though they can not stop the horrible events and stay glued to the tv screen, all the while not realizing that by doing so we enable it to happen. We watch so much violence on television that we are desensitized to the point where it seems normal to here about a mother drowning her own child or a bomb going off in a building.



    The video clearly ties in with the lyrics to this song, when one pays attention to the story of the creatures depicted in the video combined with the lyrics one can begin to see the deeper meaning involved. They work together to convey the message that even though we want to believe in the goodness of man and desire it to be true. However on a deep level we are memorized by horrific events, the deeper the suffering the better the story, “Incredulous at best your desire to believe in angles in the hearts of men” (28). Though we want to believe in the greater good of man the fact that there are so many willing hurt one another and the others are willing to watch it and not do a thing to stop it that proves that we are not as good as we want to believe. If people had angles in their hearts they would never be able to stand by and idly watch the world die, they would have to do something to stop it or die trying.

    The human watching these events may feel like they are better than the ones committing them “Don’t look at me like I’m a monster / Frown out your one face but with the other you / stare like a junkie into the tv” (9, 10, 11), but they on a deep level are just as sick and twisted as the ones committing these acts because they do nothing to stop them. The creatures come out of the humanoid in the video and we realize that these eye creatures are the massive creatures destroying the world; this is clearly a message that the great nameless evil destructive forces at play in our world would be ourselves not anything else. People are quick to place the blame on others, and to say that they would never be the cause of horrible events but if watch them and do nothing are we not as bad as the people committing these acts? If we were not so enthralled by these events than maybe people would not feel the need to commit them, from childhood we watch death and destruction of television some of which is committed by our favorite cartoon characters; for example Tom and Jerry, Pokemon, Superman, X-Men this list is endless and can not be listed for the vast magnitude, we allow our children to watch these from birth and some characters like Superman are revered as great examples of how a person should act. However all throughout these shows is violence, by allowing our children to watch not only them but any violence on tv we are teaching them that it is acceptable to behave in this manner. We act according to the behaviors we see in the people around us but by the images we see depicted by our favorite characters, it only makes sense that violence is growing in epic proportion for we are becoming what we see everyday. "
    KMT



  17.  

    Nina
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    Sep 14th, 2010 9:30pm report


    Felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others: a vicarious thrill. This says it all.



  18.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 11th, 2010 9:07am report


    We are all addicted to the pain, suffering and death of anyone or anything aslong as were not close to it physicly, emotionaly or mentaly.



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