What does Right Where It Belongs mean?

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Nine Inch Nails: Right Where It Belongs Meaning


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Right Where It Belongs Lyrics

See the animal in his cage that you built
Are you sure what side you're on?
Better not look him too closely in the eye
Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?
See the safety of the life you have built
Everything where it...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 17th 2009 report

    I found this song to explain the lives of close-minded religious people that choose to avoid the truth and shut themselves out from reality. They are born in a bubble and they continue to run their lives and raise their young within this bubble and imaginary life that they have created around them. They're ignorant but don't know any other way of life.

    "See the animal in his cage that you built
    Are you sure what side you're on?
    Better not look him too closely in the eye
    Are you sure what side of the glass you are on?
    See the safety of the life you have built
    Everything where it belongs
    Feel the hollowness inside of your heart"

    You raise your children and live your life within this over-protective and god-fearing environment so that you can keep control in your life. You're hollow because you choose to avoid all other views but you're own. You refuse to open your eyes to see beyond this "God" you speak of. So that everything is the way you want it... right where it belongs.

    "What if everything around you
    Isn't quite as it seems?
    What if all the world you think you know
    Is an elaborate dream?
    And if you look at your reflection
    Is it all you want it to be?
    What if you could look right through the cracks?
    Would you find yourself
    Find yourself afraid to see?"

    What if everything you believe to be true is actually a lie? What if this "God" is just an elaborate dream? If you looked past everything you have been told to believe? Would you find yourself afraid in this new lonely world?

    "What if all the world's inside of your head
    Just creations of your own?
    Your devils and your gods
    All the living and the dead
    And you're really all alone?"

    What if what you believe is just in your head?
    What if there is no "devils and your gods"? And you're really all alone?

    "You can live in this illusion
    You can choose to believe
    You keep looking but you can't find the woods
    While you're hiding in the trees"

    You can live in this illusion and faith and you can choose to believe everything you're told.
    You keep looking for this truth (God), while you're hiding behind these lies.

    My interpretation. Doesn't mean it's the "right" one. That's just what I picked up from it right away.

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 15th report

    This is a beautiful and very deep song from Trent. Also, a very sad and painful one, based on the personal interpretation I have. From my own experience, and listening to this song, can't help but think about the life I used to live, the lies I had been told by religion, by family and how these lies helped shape my life into a twisted seemingly normal life, when it was truly all a lie. These lies make you put everything "right where it belongs", because that's the safety mechanism we use to make things seem normal and okay. Fanatical religious groups also do this extremely well and they are very efficient at creating a "safe" world for millions of people that become trapped in this world, without seeing they're looking from the other side of the cage. It's unfortunate and very sad, and yet it continues to and will continue to happen to millions more.
    But also, my interpretation based on personal experience, I find it applies so closely to my life. Finding out about a parent I never knew, about a family I never knew, that the parent I grew up with knew more than they told me but kept it to themselves. That my name isn't my true name and lastly that my own family could turn their backs on me because of my choice to not be a part of this false and hurtful religion they willingly are a part of. The song fits, in my mind, like a perfect glove.

  3. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 12th 2016 report

    I believe he is talking about us individuals. What we see in the world today is a mirror image of who we are on the inside. He is saying we are too afraid to look at who we really are. That our self image is just a mask to hide us from what is really happening. We have "caged" ourselves from reality. We would rather fill our emptyness with religions and addictions than face the truth, that we are terrible people killing everthing around us. Thats just my interpretation..

  4. anonymous
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    Jan 5th 2016 report

    Hes questioning everything what he is, what life is, is it even real, what of its all imagination nor real

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 5th 2012 report

    Anyone who is Bi-Polar like Trent or is close to someone who is doesn't need to even ask what these lyrics mean. What's real and what's not becomes twisted in your own mind. Am I the beast in this cage or am I normal and the whole world is truly beastly? No person alive wants to feel that way and see their reflection when they do.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 13th 2012 report

    Right where it belongs:
    There is a reason why anger, emptiness, and all those "dark" emotions are there. We tried to fill that void with things like sex, drugs, religion. If we didn't have that inside of us, we would be just plain robots. To ponder our existence is to try to find meaning to our lives. Now, nobody really knows the true meaning of life, but I think that is the whole point of living is to find meaning and purpose in our lives. All in all, this song is about escaping this very fundamental feeling. We tried to avoid feeling this way by filling our lives with material possessions, and believing in things that we have been taught by others. But no matter how much you try to escape this feeling, the void will always be there. But in the end, that is a good thing, otherwise why would continue to live.

  7. Karl Fultz
    click a star to vote
    Jan 15th 2011 report

    to me this song is sort of a "each to his own interpretation" kind of song, for me i see it as telling me to look past the front of my nose and see the world for what it is, for a long time i was strictly religious and when i first heard this song i did not grasp what it's meaning to me was. I realized that there is more to life than what society would have you believe, and oddly it made me feel all alone. I don't think there are many people that when they look at people and observe their daily lives the nonsense and the fixation on menial things that amount to nothing. I still have some religious beliefs though not as solid. This song awakened me to "The big picture" the thinking beyond myself. MY new hobby is "people watching" sadly i find most of it disgusting... self centered idiots living life in blissful ignorance. Then i see a man help an old man who dropped something whilst others don't even notice him. Anyone else feel "Enlightened" after listening a couple times?

  8. anonymous
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    Apr 28th 2010 report

    He asks a lot of powerful questions. If our lives are creations of our own, then we have control over much more than we ever thought. We could all create our own worlds. If the world is an illusion, we put things "right where they belong," so we don't have to feel alone. We create society and its norms, and ultimately sacrifice our power to choose. The biggest question is whether or not you'd change it if you could see yourself.

  9. Gnat
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    Apr 14th 2010 report

    I was listening to this song after I read Gaarder's "Sophie's World" which was about interpretations of what is real and what isn't; how does what know their 'reality' from not based on the failing judgment of human perception. The specific lyrics to this song correspond directly with the main themes of the book. Namely the "what if you could look right through the cracks"; the book has the character looking through an antique mirror, at which point her reflection blinks at her from the other side, which later turns to be the "real" her, as she's reading a book her father wrote... as an elaborate dream, looking at her reflection. The book follows the history of philosophy, all of which the main points are covered via this song. The coincidence is too amazing and I wish I knew more as to the actual intent of this song in relation to the book.

  10. JovanSiems
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    Nov 12th 2009 report

    I don't know allot about Trent or why he wrote this song so I won't talk out of my ass but only my actual opinion. I believe this song is about American society's control and influence on modern life. He tries to make a strong point in this song that you will have to figure out for yourself as I am sure he would want you to do. This song is a metaphorical message telling you to look beyond what you are told by people with so called knowledge on what life is truly about. It explains that you have the choice to believe in what you want no matter what people pull over your eyes but you need the F### courage to accept you will never know all of the answers to life and willing to accept your own beliefs. If you are able to do that the influence of society's fake protection from the truth can not harm you. Well that all I got thanks.

  11. Red_China
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    Aug 16th 2009 report

    I have thought that when I was drugged up and swimming in a bottle of alcohol that the world seemed to be some dream that wasn't real. Trent I know has over come alcoholism and talks about the things that he had seen and done with the ones he loves and had loved. Very much the same as my self, I was not in this reality but in one I had made up in my mind. I had my moments in front of the mirror saying the same things to my self. I wondered how I had gotten where I was and why it was happening to me. The man is talking about looking at him self much as have done over the years. All the lose that I have had due to my own self destruction is some times more than I can bear. When I hear this song I just cry and remember all the people I hurt and left behind that loved me. I just simply take this as a man that has been in my place that has lived a dream, of our own making so we could run from the hurt of the lives we had lived or still live in some cases.

  12. kelseya330
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    Apr 29th 2009 report

    I actually think this song has a lot deeper meaning then some want to believe. if you look up wingmakers on google you can read a lot of what I've been reading, and it seems to me most of the songs on the with teeth album could be interpreted relating to the material on this website. I interprate this song like so: The world has a lot more to it.. to see and experience and realize then we can even begin to know.

  13. anonymous
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    Mar 9th 2008 report

    I believe this song is about America's society and the government. How the things the leaders and politicians get away with seem out of a nightmare. How Americans walk around in a dream state and someday they might wake up and realize they should have acted sooner but its too late. This idea being generated from the depictions of war and president bush during the song on the Beside You in Time DVD.

  14. anonymous
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    Feb 5th 2008 report

    I think the song is about being trapped in a world run by cociety and Religion.
    People think having those guidelines, being told whats right from wrong is the way to live The perfect Life, A safe life. But really it just blinds you from seeing the real world.

    People choose to believe instead of knowing the facts (the truth) because it scares them. For most people Religion is just a security in their lives, because if you believe you won't get hurt.

  15. anonymous
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    Nov 14th 2007 report

    I think this song talk about how cruel the world is and that its so cruel that its probably not even real. This world could be an imaginary world that we made up some how maybe we are our own and if we had the chance to see the "real world" we probably be to scared to even peak at the truth/real world. That's all I got out of the song there's parts in it that I can't really explain but it kinda asks questions in its own way like what if we don't exist? We could be making up things like religion whats good and whats bad whats right and whats wrong stuff along those lines. I don't know what else to say about this song but yea this is all I got to say about it.


  16. anonymous
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    Oct 20th 2007 report

    The song suggests that the world may be just your imagination, and that in all truth you are really all alone and no one else really exists, and that you'd rather accept this lie than the real thing.

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