What does Comfortably Numb mean?

Pink Floyd: Comfortably Numb Meaning

Album cover for Comfortably Numb album cover

Song Released: 1980

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Comfortably Numb Lyrics

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

Come on, now.
I hear you’re feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.

I need some information first.
Just the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 9th 2012 !⃝

    To me, the entire song can be summed up by the title alone. He has become "comfortably numb". This man has been pushed to the point where his physical state has succumbed to his emotional pain and he can no longer differentiate between the two. He'd rather feel nothing at all, be numb, than be in a constant state of agony, of darkness. The verse "When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye" is also important because there is no greater symbol of hope than our youth. Children are pure and innocent, in their eyes the world is an amazing place where possibilities are endless. They have yet to be tainted by failure or loneliness. He caught a "fleeting glimpse" of this happiness, this sense of fulfillment within himself. But as we grow older, with each passing year this hope seems to diminish leaving only pain, regret, and disappointment in it's stead. Drug addicts are addicts for a reason, because they feel they are out of options. They no longer wish for happiness, it is incomprehensible, so they settle for just being "numb". It's really very sad. He is trying to tell us why he needs this why he needs to just not feel anymore.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jun 6th 2013 !⃝

    In my opinion i think that this song talks about a loneliness that leads to taking drugs and feeling a great depression. It talks about someone who is sick from his life and got no hope at all; despondence fulfills his life that no one in the world and not even the greatest DOCTOR is gonna be able to cure him "there is no pain you are receding".
    No one is giving him the hope in life and they are too far from understanding his needs"a distant ship's smoking on the horizon" and no matter what they say, nothing is making sense to him because they just cant understand what he wants"your lips move but i cant hear what you're saying". In addition all of his hope in life was destroyed when he was a child.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 7th 2012 !⃝

    great thing about great music is you can interpret it anyway your mind takes you. who cares what it's really about all that matters is how you see it and how it moves you

  4. anonymous
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    Oct 9th !⃝

    There're two different but related interpretations here: how hard it is to be on the rock circuit (the long hours, etc.) and how that eventually leads to the constant use of uppers and downers just to keep some semblance of sanity, or (imo the much creepier one) a psychiatrist gone bad.

    Just give it one more listen; you'll hear what I mean.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 6th 2023 !⃝

    He is down and alone, the "doctor" is on the scene, then he get a drug and walks away.

    Or he woud give himself the help alone, and whole the song is just saying "hurry up, take a drug" you are worth it you are weak and down and you would collapse so find the way out

    and get release, you will be innocent, the God loves you, the God loves everyone, the Godness is connected to the different mind-set setting, beggining with the very first moment you are introduced into the religion (meaning you head fall down with the priest help into the river, in history people were not educated how to swim and only few did not feared the water --- baptism iniciation, so the experience was so hard the people reseted and startet to believe in something different).

    So the song is just personal sorry and permit to take a drug and release.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 19th 2020 !⃝

    I do see the reference to drugs, could be true. But did anyone think of when you were young and a parent took you to get the vaccinations they made you inject. I was terrible sick afterwards, with a crazy fever, thought I was going to die. Literally I remember hallucinating and terrified out of my mind. It seems like he's describing how I felt, It was one of my earliest memories as a child. And it traumatized me to the core. I still remember laying there alone crying and things getting bigger and smaller. And then It takes away your dreams, your purity , your life is changed . That's how I felt listening to this song.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 2nd 2019 !⃝

    I think "A distant smoke on the horizon" is a representation of hope. As a sailor adrift at sea alone, another ship would mean a relief.

    As for "when I was a child, I caught a a fleeting glimpse" Refers to, I believe, is leaving the state of dread and he is now seeing the "fleeting glimpse" again and he is trying to describing how it feels to come back to hope. (seeing a distant ship on the horizon)

  8. anonymous
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    Sep 1st 2018 !⃝

    You all are stupid...with all respect.
    When I was in the military I have extreme migraines they gave me a drug called Midrin it made me so numb that my hands felt like two BALLOONS (weightless) I had to fight to keep them on the bed, they kept floating up. That is the same feeling as when you have a high fever.

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 8th 2018 !⃝

    Obviously, drugs are a part of this but there is such a deeper meaning to it. I feel like it's a conversation between his inner and outer self. His outer self is trying to reach out to the inner self, trying to get him to join reality. But his inner self responds by saying he feels no pain, and his outer self is receding. As in Water's is pulling farther and farther away from the world. The wall is becoming stronger and he is becoming more and more oblivious to life. The title Comfortably Numb comes from the fact that he is okay with being numb from the emotions of the world.

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 9th 2016 !⃝

    After reading the other posts I have a different point of view. I thought it was a drug related song as Pink Floyd was music to party by and yes we did. I have changed my ways but still respect the group. Their concerts were always different and entertaining. I was also led to believe that many of their songs were a tribute to Syd Barrett as he was a key player in the group (wish you were here, have a cigar, etc.)

  11. ezeo22790
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    Jun 6th 2016 !⃝

    I agree with the top rated but I believe that

    When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse Out of the corner of my eye I turned to look but it was gone I cannot put my finger on it now The child is grown, the dream is gone

    I believe that symbolizes the dreams he had as a child but he took his eye off of them due to the realization that he would never become what he dreamed of due to what his mother raised him to be, afraid of the world and not willing to make his dreams come true, hence the wall in his mind blocking him from being able to respond to other people and be social because when his mother left him she made a wall in his brain that just creates negativity and frown upon the world, the thought that nothing in world would be fun or happy, he does not even know fun or happy anymore.

  12. kooljohn176
    click a star to vote
    Feb 13th 2016 !⃝

    Another great song by PINK FLOYD with a thought of SYD BARRETT fading away from the band into HIS OWN UNIVERSE. Where, ''THERE IS NO PAIN,YOU ARE RECEDING''- ''A DISTANT SHIP SMOKE ON THE HORIZON''- ''YOU ARE COMING THROUGH IN WAVES'' All this to combine the individual here, when also feeling sick with a high fever that feels he is being pulled and stretched into his own mind on ''THE GRAVITATIONAL WAVE'' to be one with God. Where there is no more pain to feel on the inside and the ''one'' that comes from the outside world to just become ''Comfortably Numb'' to it while reaching a nirvana state of mind that's one with God.

  13. anonymous
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    Jun 16th 2015 !⃝

    "You are only coming through in waves" Quantum physics, holographic universe, anyone? "Distant ship smoke on the horizon", flat Earth? "When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse.." (reality?) "I cannot put my finger on it now, the child is grown, the dream (reality) is gone!" Maybe these guys were onto something. We are all in the f*cking Matrix, and some of us are waking up. Then again, I'm just a nutty conspiracy theorist, so what do I know?

  14. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2013 !⃝

    I think its about growing up. He was scared as a kid. But now he's grown up the child is gone.The dream is gone because he's the now living it.And now comfortably numb nothing can hurt him anymore and he's not scared.Everything in his life turned out OK

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 16th 2012 !⃝

    They were doing a show in philly, he was in ton of pain. Doc gave him a shot to get him thru and that's where the song came from. No over thinking needed.

  16. alpha
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    Jul 6th 2012 !⃝

    To the idiot who criticised those of us who think the song is about heroin, you should find someone to teach you how to spell.
    To the poster who thinks this song is about morphine, as opposed to heroin, heroin turns into morphine the second it is injected into your body.
    This song is most likely about heroin, although the band will never admit this.

  17. anonymous
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    Jun 29th 2012 !⃝

    I actually think it's obvious it is about drugs. I think you all know that though, so that was kind of pointless. But he's so called "comfortably numb", so he is on drugs and has become numb.....well, I'm kind of not 100% sure.

  18. DrGreg
    click a star to vote
    May 4th 2012 !⃝

    There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,
    The earth, and every common sight
    To me did seem
    Apparelled in celestial light
    The glory and the freshness of a dream.
    It is not now as it hath been of yore, -
    Turn whereso'er I may,
    By night or day,
    The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

    Wordsworth said it first.

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