Pink Floyd: Welcome to the Machine Meaning
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Welcome to the Machine Lyrics
Where have you been?
It's alright we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
Provided with toys and 'Scouting for Boys'.
You bought a guitar to punish your ma,
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Dec 31st 2011 report
Keep this to yourselves as I am not sure of my right to compare a poem to a song... And FORGIVE my typos and stupid mistakes..
It might seem odd, but I believe "Welcome To The Machine" is a great deal like Walt Whitman's poem, "A Noiseless Patient Spider". They are very different from each other yet there is no denying there are similarities....
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood, isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my Soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my Soul.
Whitman compares a spider to a courageous human.... Someone who is venturing forth alone in unknown territory attempting to connect. In my opinion, Pink Floyd's Machine is the sticky web and some are caught up in it more radically than others.. But we all are in it for the most part, like Whitman's spider. In order to thrive as humans, we each tirelessly construct bonds to one another and our surroundings. Musing- Venturing- Seeking- Throwing- Churning- Cycling- Spewing- Spitting- Spinning-Processing- Homogenizing (When We Feel Like We Are Being Rebellious)- "Selling Out"- Supporting- Being A Part Of Something In Life... How else do we live and breathe? We spin threads to span the void... Galileo crossed a void with his telescope. We call friends, go on walks, write our feelings on the web, create music... Why? To span a gap in our hearts. To build a bridge between our souls. To bond with one another.
To some extent the majority of us must be a part of The Machine/The Web in order to survive. In a basic way The Machine/The Web is life support. Why do I believe this? Pink Floyd's Machine and Whitman's Web involve humans. The Web and The Machine wouldn't run properly without humans. Being a part of The Machine/The Web is all about searching for meaning and knowledge in the vastness of the universe. It is about persevering until there is an end or a goal in sight AND FINALLY WE ALL CONNECT.
If a person rips away from The Machine or The Web he MIGHT be able exist on a basic level. I suppose he could go off the grid and reside in a cave or up in a tree and function and survive, but he is alone. He might be "happy" without commercialism but the majority of us aren't "happy" without other people.. The people who happen to be tangled in the web and are a part of the machine are connecting on some level.. The loner might eat berries and pick a guava and ponder in his environs.. He does not need "society's" milk nor their manufactured nails nor their lightbulbs nor their CDs nor their concert t-shirt/merchandise nor what have you but he still need friends, love and human contact in order to grow. When a person is apart from The Machine/The Web he feels detached, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space and not at all integral, contributing or vital. I believe the majority of us need to feel connected in order to grow and thrive.
My dad had triple bypass several years ago and they basically stopped his heart for a long time in order to fix it. When they tried to restart his heart, it couldn't work for itself, so they had him on a giant MACHINE. It was disturbing and freaky to see him in that "recovery" room on that machine. He wasn't breathing for himself. The Machine was breathing for him. There was this huge pipe thing going into his chest area. It was really horrifying to see him like that but it was the only thing keeping him alive. If he didn't have that machine pumping into him he would have been a deadboy. So I think The Machine can keep us ALIVE in a way that is about survival and functioning on a basic level. My dad should have worn a t-shirt that read, "Welcome To The Machine" cuz at that point he and the machine were one. He WAS the machine. All alone, he was "alive". He was "surviving" his ordeal, but what caused him to blossom was human contact. He made friends with the hospital people who cared for him. My mom and I were humans visiting, supporting and loving my dad. His friends expressed their love for him in various ways. My dad evolved by adapting to the chaos and thriving after an incredibly traumatic experience. How? Because of his strength, perseverance and because of his connection to other humans.
Every day when I come to my computer the screensaver alternates between "WELCOME TO THE MACHINE" and "WELCOME TO THE WEB". Daily I come to this website to see what other humans are contributing. Why? Because most of my friends have declined contact any other way. I try not to make much noise and I know am trying to be patient... But if a person has almost no interaction with humans aside from The Machine/The Web, more than ever, that individual feels the desire to span the void! At this time in my life the Machine/Web might be my only contact with the outside world for the day. This is "surviving" and "functioning" on a basic level. Even tho' there are humans on this website I am not ACTUALLY seeing them or knowing their identity, hence I feel invisible and that is not exactly blooming and radiating... Still I recognize it is important because at this point it is keeping me alive and helping me breathe on a daily basis. It is my life support. I have attempted to throw out "gossamer threads" in order to connect. I have flung words.. Pink Floyd is Welcoming me to The Machine by saying, "Hey. Maybe you aren't eating in the steak bar or driving a jag, still you are a part of something vital and key. You are stuck in the web in your own way. Don't judge us for how entrenched we are because we all really need to buy toilet paper in bulk unless you are a castaway. So welcome to you." I hold out hope that someday we find a way to live with The Machine/The Web that is more harmonious, beautiful, real and warm than the cold and calculated conspiratorial contraption it often appears to be.
The point I am trying to make is:::: Whether you are a part of The Machine/The Web or apart from it you are alive, I am sure, but your life is empty without music and people. Pink Floyd might have said (in other song) that the name of the game is "riding the gravy train", but I believe the goal is about something more beautiful and meaningful. It's about humanity and the bonds created through music. You can vote me down cuz I don't know my head from my a$$ but I do know how to find The Machine/The Web so I am grateful to be alive and enduring on an elementary level today.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:Mdollaz1305 Sep 1st 2006 report
I feel that welcome to the machine is about everybody in the world. It saying we have everything laid out for you we know where your going when your going, there going to know know what your thinking. Its like you whole life is set up so welcome to the machine
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:XxPinkFloydxX999 Nov 15th 2005 report
Yes, the last person that submitted, "Anonymous", your right exactly. It's about how they "control" every thing you do, and they pretty much control everything and your life. "Where have you been? It's all right, we know where you've been" and ".....its all right we told you what to dream" are examples of how they are saying they control you and know everything and are "The Machine" that controls your life and sets your lifes path for you. Great song by the way.
anonymous Dec 8th 2017 report
Pink floyd like any mainstream rockband is massmedia form. So whats the message this time. This song expects that everybody everywhere are the same kind of persons. First mistake. This is what todays massproductivity mentality wants, everybody the same. This song talks like some god on top of the mountain claiming that he knows where I have been and what I have dreamed.. It thinks himself god or illuminati or i dont know what. It expects me to have followed some agenda which they architected. But the error is not all people wish to own jaguars, play the quitars, eat in steak bars. So were not the same and were not equal.
anonymous Sep 13th 2017 report
The machine is the world....reality and your illusion your dream was just a dream,you'er just another tool to keep the machine running....all and all you'er just another brick in the wall.... A slave....so welcome to the machine
anonymous Sep 9th 2017 report
The pipeline is a illusion, or escape from one illusion to another, the world is the machine, so welcome to the machine.
anonymous Mar 1st 2015 report
Welcome to the Machine is about a young musician who has dreams of fame and fortune but who also has insecurities due to his inexperience in the musical business. This song could have been inspired by any of the Pink Floyd members at the beginning of their careers but most likely was inspired by Syd due to his personality.
This song depicts how a young musician tries to be part of the machine which represents success and power but also represents destruction. At the start of the song sounds of heavy metal doors opening suggest the character is entering the machine; every time a new door is opened, the sounds of working pistons and escaping steam-gas increase. As he advances into the machine, the sense of danger is grater yet he keeps going until he is welcomed by the owners of the machine. Where have you been? What did you dream?, unimportant questions that do not need answering since all guests are here for the same reasons: fame and fortune.
And then the heavy metal doors close behind the young musician and the party goes on. He has made it into the special club and all is fun inside the machine.
kooljohn176 Jan 6th 2015 report
Oh my god this song brings back alot of memories of PINK FLOYD's ''Welcome to the Machine''song. ''Wellcome my son, Wellcome to the machine ''It's all right we know where have you been, you've been in the pipeline,filling the time. The earthly father welcomes his son into the world from the beginning in coming out through the birth canal, programmed from above space, like being in the rock of ages of time as a ''star child'' that came back to earth to be welcomed by the machine of our world to play guitar and bother the Mom at times when she's watching 2001: Space Oddisey movie for a pass time to be reminded of the birth.
jeff.latham.5 Sep 12th 2014 report
Unfortunately, in the case of Pink Floyd, the format of this site is restrictive. Most Floyd songs, post Sid, cannot be interpreted on an individual basis but, as an album in its entirety only. All Gilmore era Floyd is more cohesive as a whole rather than pieces strung together by some record label's pop formula. To be fair, The Floyd was always pretty controlling of content and song order. The entire album is more or less a synopsis of the band's historical "rock" journey to date and reflections on it's earliest and by most opinions most influential founding member. Shine On I-V being about Sid and remembrance of his legacy. Welcome being the climactic event in the band's history, the big record label singing and all the trappings and rewards that accompany music success. It's also a traveling song. It follows the journey from the signing of a, in my opinion, label contract to the artist's personal reflections and dreams of wealth and on to a signing party. The elevator carries him or them , not inferred in the song, to a high floor of a building where a party in their honor awaits. Have a Cigar is the party and all the glad-handing, false admiration and adoration that passes for small talk at these corporate shindigs. Shine On VI-IX is post party/evening cool down with more reflection on the importance of Sid and I believe, a farewell to his style and a transition to different levels of success and popularity.
anonymous May 24th 2013 report
With a smile on your face you willingly submit your free will.
or simply mind control.
anonymous Feb 27th 2013 report
or maybe more specific
or maybe more specific
We know everything you did because we are seeing you. Regardless to your originality there is no need to tell us what you dream. Because WE tell you what you dream.
You dream of a big star (Entertainment)
Played a mean guitar (Music)
Drive in a Jaguar (Commercial)
anonymous Nov 9th 2012 report
welcome to the machine is about the control we do not have . All that happens is pre ordained by the Machine . Life is just an illusion based on self gratification . We have lost the meaning and have fallen into the abyss .Our own self destruction is evident in the world we have created based on power and control we allowed to prevail .all is lost for the sake of our own self desire . we have given it up to a higher intelligence than our own masses could project.
TheMusicMan Nov 6th 2012 report
I have listened to this song many times and watched the video many times too, and when it comes to interpretations to almost any Pink Floyd songs they are very difficult. But in my opinion, I think you have to look deeper than just the song, and look at the album it's on. Wish You Were Here is one second favorite album by Pink Floyd, next to Dark Side of the Moon, so I know the album by heart. But anyways, if you listen to Welcome to the Machine and Have a Cigar, they have almost the same meaning. They're both about the music industry. In Welcome to the Machine, they talk about how The Machine, which I believe means the music industry, controls what they do, what they think, and "what to dream". And in Have a Cigar, they almost mock the music industry, with lyrics "By the way, which ones Pink?" "You're never gonna die they're gonna love you". The album itself is a tribute to Syd Barrett, with Shine on you Crazy Diamond and Wish You Were Here, but overall in my opinion, Welcome to the Machine is Pink Floyd showing the dark side of the music industry.
anonymous Dec 9th 2011 report
I disagree with Damian only because I think they are saying that they got hooked by the machine as well. The line ‘you bought a guitar to punish your ma, and you didn't like school, and now you know you're nobody's fool’, is a reference to how they thought growing up I am sure. So even though they are independent thinkers and want to flow against the machine. They got caught up in it as well. We all do to some extent. They got influenced by the machine, but at least they recognized it. They are down playing their own genius to some extent. They are stating that even ideas that seem to go against mainstream society are planted ideas. We are even subconsciously taught what is perceived as outside of the machine kind of behavior.
anonymous Dec 9th 2011 report
Come on people really? It is quite obvious what they are talking about. They are saying that what we perceive as independent or rebellious thinking is really a subconscious plant by society and that it really is not anything new or original at all. The line, ‘you bought a guitar to punish your ma,
and you didn't like school, and now you know you're nobody's’ is a sarcastic example that society taught you the way to rebel. So 'Welcome to the Machine' means you are spoon feed your dreams and ideas. You think they are original or cool ideas, but you think that because the pipeline of information that you are feed from birth taught you that. It is really an ingenious song. I always loved Pink Floyd for the depth of their lyrics.
anonymous Sep 18th 2011 report
for the interpretation part--if you can define acute schizophrenia in terms of machine; that would be it!
anonymous Sep 5th 2011 report
Pink Floyd has said that it's about a budding rockstar talking to a seedy executive; all his seemingly "rebellious" moves have been done before. It's also about loss of identity.
anonymous Aug 4th 2011 report
Concept of George Orwell's book 1984.
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