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The Doors: The End Meaning

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This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes...again

Can you picture what...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    Jax
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    May 3rd, 2008 5:22pm report


    This is just an educated opinion. While I know that it is widely believed that the end started out as a love song, I think that the beginning has a deeper metaphysical meaning. Jim Morrison was greatly influenced by Nietzsche and Heidegger. For Heidegger, death, the end, was the completion of one's essence of one's Dasein. Perhaps this is what he means by "my only friend" and "of our elaborate plans," since Heidegger believed that a person's being was defined by a combination of past-present-future much like Sartre. Anyways...the reason I think this song has much to with Heidegger is by the use of the word "stands" in reference to what is ending. During Heidegger's etymology of the word Being, he concluded that the word Being as originally meant by the Greeks (pre Plato) was that which stands erect. Further more, Heidegger believed that that meaning was distorted and lost when it was translated into Latin and then abused by the philosophers that followed, perhaps the insane children. This could account for "lost in a Roman wilderness of pain." Being is what is lost and then the rest of the song could be Jim's poetic instructions to regain Being.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    j2whoami
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    May 23rd, 2007 5:26am report


    Firstly this is toughest song to decipher as far as Jim Morrison is concerned..it can be taken the way you like to. Its meaning differs within yourself depending on whether you are high or low, that's the magic of Jim Morrison. To me the song is about life and as throughout our life death overshadows us hence it can be called song of death too. It depicts the despate life we live...starting as a 'dog without a bone' we look for friends..' desperately in need of some stranger's hand...in a desperate land'..we look for friends in your life and maybe in your death too..then the song depicts the kind of life we live...meaningless..depthless...vulnerable. Jim starts right from the childhood.."Lost in a roman wilderness of pain...and all the children are insane"

    To me 'snake' means our pleasures..gribbs..and the ancient lake symbolises end of that journey of chasing our pleasure..simply it symbolises death...
    "Ride the snake to the ancient lake"
    "The west is the best"
    west symbolises abundance..luxury ..pleasure..
    "the blue bus is calling us"...our life is a journey..we are aboard a bus of pleasure ..luxury...abundance..strangely we don't know where it is taking us ultimately..that's true for all of us
    "Driver where you are taking us?" because we have lost control of ourselves..our lives..as he rightly says..
    "Come here and we will do the rest"
    then he tells a story...maybe he tries to depict himself..don't try to justify the the killer who wants to kill his father or fuck his mother...don't try to investigate what was wrong with Jim Morrison because we are aboard a blue bus ourselves...lets try to understand what he wanted to mean...what really he wanted to kill...his father or the things he got from his father...teachings..beatings...morals...so called values..its true for all of us..he wanted to wake us up...open our eyes to see...to choose..to acqire wisdom..of life..of death..
    But we will never follow him..he knows that too...so this is the end of song..this is the "End of nights we tried to die"



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Jun 21st, 2007 6:23am report


    Before I get to ‘The End', let's take a look at the album as a whole, it begins with Jim probing life as something to be lived, yet always recognizing that life is mystical and made of many realities. But living doesn't allow absolute freedom, and people constantly search for sanctuary. Since neither love nor sanctuaries offer security, Jim turns to ‘The End' as his beautiful and only friend.

    ‘THE END'
    Surrendering to a sense of hopelessness so beautifully rendered in the song's opening, Jim takes the hand of his only friend, the end.
    The imagery and music then moves on as Jim seeks freedom, riding the King's highway, riding the snake to the ancient lake, going west, and answering the call of the blue bus.
    (The Blue Bus may be a reference to a vessel sailing through the underworld, not unlike the boat that ferried the souls of the dead down the river Styx. On the other hand, and most probably, it refers to a bus route that ran through LA to the beach.)
    Then the mood shifts to an eerie look at original evil in humans as we take a journey with a killer down a hall in a place no longer a sanctuary – the home. Jim then makes the transition to the philosophical level with the human taking a face from the ancient gallery (something that was done on the ancient Greek stage). But the calmness of the mask is shattered when the killer completes his journey; telling his father he wants to kill him and then confronting his mother….
    These are themes of the classic Oedipal story…
    “Oedipus, his father's murderer, his mother's lover, solver of the Sphinx's riddle”
    Take it as killing the father means killing those things instilled in you but are not of yourself, and sexually conquering the mother means returning to your essence, which can't lie to you.

    Jim's message was act now, search later. Life is a journey, but any journey will be painful. Life is pain, love is pain, and fear prevents people from experiencing life, from accepting what The Doors ultimately come to realize,
    that we are all just riders on the storm.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 28th, 2017 7:07pm report


    I'm currently writing this while looking directly at Lake Atitlan in Panajachel, Guatemala. I've noticed a lot of support and advertisement for Jim Morrison and The Doors down here. I asked somebody why and he replied that Morrison spent a lot of time in the area I'm at, and that The End was largely influenced by the winding, hypnotic road down the mountains to the lake.
    "Ride the snake, the ancient snake, to the lake, the ancient lake, baby."



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 22nd, 2017 3:56am report


    It started out as a song about Mary Werbelow and the end of any hope for Jim with her, his only true soul mate love notwithstanding Pam. Her religion was a barrier between them. This will be explained in a book coming out about Jim's life leading up to the formation of The Doors. It should be published by 2018.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 20th, 2017 2:41am report


    This is a REALLY messed song! I think this song is about a guy who's in a relationship with a girl. His parents think that this girl's not that right for him! So they break them apart! But then, he decides to kill his father and commit a HORRIBLE assault against his mother!



  7.  

    anonymous
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    May 19th, 2013 5:58am report


    "The song is a potpourri of mystical symbolism and archetypes from the collective subconscious.

    It explores themes such as the mystery of death and our fear and fearlessness of it.

    A shamanistic journey of symbols into the subconscious mind, the wellspring of magic and wisdom.

    It explores the extremely taboo subject of our innate desire to conquer our natural superior and usurp his position as enjoyer and dominator. The willingness to exploit those things most sacred to us. This may also be a reference to our rebellious relationship to God and the cause of our confinement within this material world.

    These images are set on the backdrop of references to the hedonistic culture of Southern California in the late 60's, particularly Santa Monica and Venice (where the Blue Bus runs)."

    This is the best.

    To those of you who think this song is about as something as obvious as the Vietnam War or 'getting fucked up' would do good to read a little in order to pick up on what inspired Jim.

    Read:
    Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell
    The Birth of Tragedy - Nietzsche
    Illuminations - Rimbaud
    The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious - Jung
    The Four Gospels in the Bible
    The Golden Bough - Frazer

    Just Wikipedia religion and spirituality and don't stop reading until you've gone all the way. Much of the Doors mythos follows the journey of the hero "breaking through", as Jim claimed to have done while fasting and taking acid and then 'returning with boons' to society, setting those free along the way.
    The Apollonian-Dionysian interplay between Manzarek and Morrison is uncanny, and also referenced heavily in The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche. Morrison was truly given over to the spirit of Dionysus, and would go so far as to emulate the concept of the 'dying-and-rising god' on stage. In fact, nearly all of Manzarek's and Morrison's interaction with the public media took on these archetypes.

    One succinct example would be the short introduction by the band members as they're exiting an airport (i can't remember the location). Manzarek talks with a booming, calculated voice, peering down through glasses and stating his birthday very sternly, portraying Apollo/Zues. Morrison just says his name and smiles, sensually and casually looking into the camera, embodying the bliss and intoxication of Dionysus/Bacchus.

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=m1ti1P79LgY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dm1ti1P79LgY

    These men, particularly Manzarek and Morrison, were not only well read in all areas of literature but sought to incorporate their education and belief into their daily behaviors. They endured a transformation from silent spectators in a darkened theatre (film school) to creators, actors, and pursuers of the truth. Instead of watching people live they made the leap to actually live themselves.

    The goal of Morrison's poetry, as he said, is to get you to look beyond the mundane and see all the interesting possibilities and to take part in the drama that is unraveling all around you. Not surpringly, this is the same function of the Myth in culture.

    They created a purely American myth, spawning a cult of 'dying-and-rising' leaders who would fill his void upon death: Iggy Pop, Ian Curtis, Scott Wieland, and countless others. Following the ancient rituals of Dionysus and even cultivating devoted Maenads (called groupies).

    "Each generation wants new symbols, new people, new names. They want to divorce themselves from their predecessors.” -Morrison



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 22nd, 2013 1:24pm report


    Most of the things here that i have been reading make sense, well thought about and from a high intellectual level.

    There are facts such as that the song was originally a short love/farewell song for a girlfriend somewhere in his youth (Tandy Martin), and the blue bus, which was the bus that Jim took to get from his home address to the school he went.

    The basic of the song was originally about three verses long. The middle section began to grow when they performed in the clubs they played, and could change evening after evening. The Oedipal section isn't born yet.

    The song as we know it today, with the Oedipal section, was born when they played at the Whisky A Go Go.

    The Doors, but especially Jim, knew that Jack Holzman, together with Paul Rotchild, would come to see them out. Holzman was owner of Electra records.

    Jim, as we know, was a fan of Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Blake and many others. Literature was a passion of his, so he knew trough the books of Nietzsche also Greek Mythology. He was in to shamanism and other religious/spiritual believes. This and other things, especially psychedelic drugs, gave as result that his lyrics are symbolic and visionary with a lot of images so they can be interpretable in more than one way. One of his favorite books was "Illuminations" from Rimbaud, who was part of the decadent movement with high symbolic, mystical imaginary poems.

    Electra, the opposite of Oedipus, is the course why the Oedipal section was born that night. An interpretation often given on this part, is destroying the old and embracing the new.

    The section that starts with "Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain ...." is a comment on the love generation that was around at that time. The Doors saw themselves as the opposition of that movement, as a reality, which they reflected trough their music and lyrics.

    "The west" could mean Los Angeles, which lie at the west coast. Jim was born in Florida at the East of the country and moved to LA (Ride the highway west baby).

    As for the "snake": there's no other creature with more symbolic meanings than a snake: from the snake in the garden of Eden, to the snake of infinite, esoteric knowledge. One of the highest symbols: a circle. You find them in yoga, tantra and medicine as symbol for the kundalini awakening, which, as some of you may know, is the same as an psychedelic experience where the energy rages through the spine upwards to the brain where it explodes and you become high of the energy released. It's an very intense experience, which can generate intense different emotions, just like a snake can. It can arouse enlightenment, feelings of ecstasy, but also fear and panic. In the last case we speak about a bad trip.
    Many people who take psychedelics know the symbolic meaning of the snake, just like those who take heroin are familiar with the term "chasing the dragon".

    The friend from whom Jim takes farewell could stand for the ego. The ego is the thing that hold's us prison. Many trippers experience the loss/death of their ego, with as result limitless, unbounded freedom. The person/ego you were has died, a new one has been born, he's in the garden, on the other side, and see the things as they truly are. Infinite



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 22nd, 2013 1:16pm report


    Most of the things here that i've been reading make sense, well tought about and from a high intulectual level.

    There are facts such as that the song was originaly a short love/farewell song for a girlfriend somwhere in his youth (Tandy Martin) and the blue bus, wich was the bus that Jim took to get from his home adress to the shool he went.

    The basic of the song was originaly about three verse, the middle section began to grow when they performed in the clubs they played and could change evening after evening. The Oedipal section isn't born yet.

    The song as we know it today, with the Oedipal part, was born when they played at the Whisky A Go Go.

    The Doors, but especially Jim knew that Jack Holzman, togheter with Paul Rotchild would come to see them out. Holzman was owner of Electra records; Jim as we know, was a fan of Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Blake and many others. Literature was one of his passions so he knew trough the books of Nietzsche also Greek Mythologie. He was in to sjamanism and other religious/spiritual believes.

    This and other things, especially psychedelic drugs, gave as result that his lyrics are verry symbolic, visionair with a lot of images, so they can be interpretated in more than one way.

    One of his favorite books was "Illuminations" from Rimbaud, who was part of the decadent movement with high symbolic, mysthical imaginary poems.

    Electra, the opposite of Oedipus is the course why the Oedipal part was born that night. An interpretation often given on this part is destroying the old and embracing the new. The section that starts with "Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain ...." is a comment on the love generation that was arround at that time. The Doors saw themselves as the opposition of that movement, as a reallity wich they reflected trough their music and lyrics. "The west" could mean Los Angeles wich lie at the west coast; Jim was born in Florida at the East of the country and moved to LA (Ride the highway west baby).

    As for the "snake". There's no other creature with more symbolic meanings than a snake: from the snake in the garden of Eden, to the snake of infinite, esoteric knowledge. One of the highest symbols: a circle. You find them in yoga, tantra and medicine as symbol for the kundalini awakening, wich, as some of you may know, is the same as an psychedelic experience where the energy rages throuh the spine upwards to your brain where it explodes and you become high of the energy released. It's an verry intence experience, which can generate intense different emotions, just like a snake can. It can arouse enlightenment, feelings of extase but also fear and panic. In the last case we speak about a bad trip.

    Many people who take psychedelics know the symbolic meanig of the snake, just like those who take heroin are familliar with the term "chasing the dragon".

    The friend from whom Jim takes farewel could stand for His ego. The ego is the thing that hold's us prissoned. Many trippers experience the loss/death of their ego, with as result limitless, unbounded freedom. The person/ego you were has died, a new one has been born, he's in the garden, on the other side and see the things as they truely are. Infinite.

    This is my contrribution. You may make of it what you want. For myself: i hope you find something interesting in it.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 21st, 2013 1:47pm report


    It is ironic that the night club owner threw him out for saying he wants to fuck his mother. Everyone throws a fit. Seconds before he said that he said he wants to kill his father and no one second guesses it. This defines their era. Sex is sinful and must never be talked about but killing people in Vietnam is just downright American and you can catch all the dead bodies you want on the evening news. Love is what is lacking in the 1950's westerns/wwII movies/race riots. That is why the are revelutionary and why they were tossed out of that bar.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 13th, 2012 9:31am report


    Some of these interpretations are really good, and really well thought out, in my opinion.

    It came to me yesterday (after reading a bunch of interpretations on another site, of other Doors songs), that many contributors are carrying their own experiential baggage, and also are smearing their own contemporary cultural awareness with the sensibilities of the mid/late 60s.

    For example, one commentator here mentioned crack. There was no such thing available within Morrison's lifetime. If it existed, no one knew of it in the contemporary drug market. And at the time, powdered cocaine was *barely* entering the broad market. Relaxants such as marijuana, and psychedelics like LSD, mescaline, etc., were broadly in use. Pharmaceutical abuse was primarily barbituates and stimulants. Quaaludes had not yet entered the broad drug market. Interestingly, in light of the 90s trends that followed, heroin was used by a very marginal group, and in this sense Pamela Courson was an unusual 60s drug consumer. Heroin drug use was considered very declasse (we were quite snobby then, and thought we knew better), like a weakness. We felt that we needed to be sharp and on the ball, since we were going to change the world. Many felt that psychedelics gave them a sort of a perceptual edge or the previous generation, and this drove use to some degree. Psychedelics are not a recreational drug, that's for sure. Too scary, too solitary.

    Similarly, I can tell by the interpretations of some of the commentators that they are interpreting the Doors' lyrics in much the same way that they'd approach Nirvana or Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics. In my humble opinion, this is a BIG mistake.

    Most recently in the pop genre, starting with punk, and previously in different genres, songs are quite personal and if not autobiographical, were "close enough" so that the performer, and the audience might connect with a shared experience. To a degree, this is because neither the performer, nor the audience, is very literate, and therefore cannot reference previous works or tropes, since even if the performer is aware of them (not often likely), s/he cannot count on the audience to recognize the references.

    This is not what the Doors did in many of their lyrics (although there was an admix of obviously autobiographical songs, such as Love Street). Three of the Doors were the product of undergraduate education in the Arts, and in the UC system, no less, back when that actually meant something. Course work would have exposed them to a lot of comparative lit and classical tropes, along with a lot of varied philosophy. Given these exposures, I think that generally speaking, the first place you should go, in forming a critical mindset, is that the lyrics are philosophical musings over archetypal themes, not personal stories, as was the case with the best in grunge. And there's a reason for that, too: the best grunge work was autobiographical and written with *great* personal feeling. Many of the personnel of these groups had little or no access to a systematized undergraduate education--no exposure to psychoanalysis, no exposure to event classical western philosophy--so they had to write about what they knew, often first-hand. And the best of it was VERY powerful, indeed.

    But I think you are making a big mistake if you try to interpret much of the Doors' original work in this fashion.

    My two cents, anyway....



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 6th, 2012 9:29pm report


    I think. this whole song is about the Oedipous complex. kill your father, fuck your mother. but there's also a electracomplex. then the girl wants to fuck the father and kill the mother. When jim sings about ride the snake I think he means: fuck your father.

    and the end is when the son kills his father and he finally has his mother for himself...


    But, that's what i think



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 1st, 2012 6:41am report


    part of this song seems to me, to be giving directions. It talks about 'our elaborate plans' and 'lost in a Roman wilderness of pain'. Danger on the edge of town, ride the Kings Highway, ride the snake to the ancient lake..the snake is long, 7 miles, (telescope peak trail in death valley is like a winding snake of a trail that is 7 miles long, also leads to lake manly (the ancient lake) in Death Valley. At the end of the song, it also says, 'the west is the best, get here and we'll do the rest'.

    The killer woke before dawn, put his boots on, took a face from the ancient gallery....
    (I think this represents the Pope, took a ancient egyptian face of Re,) father I want to kill you, (kill God and what God is truly suppose to be) Mother ...I want to...(mother is the earth, the rape of the earth)

    that is my interpretation, however far out that may seem...



  14.  

    anonymous
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    May 2nd, 2012 5:01pm report


    It's about a breakup with his girlfriend, but rather than being truly an "end", it's about an new beginning. A rebirth so to say.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 12th, 2011 11:27pm report


    The blue bus, is the psychiatric ambulance ....



  16.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 30th, 2011 10:50pm report


    The song is a potpourri of mystical symbolism and archetypes from the collective subconscious.

    It explores themes such as the mystery of death and our fear and fearlessness of it.

    A shamanistic journey of symbols into the subconscious mind, the wellspring of magic and wisdom.

    It explores the extremely taboo subject of our innate desire to conquer our natural superior and usurp his position as enjoyer and dominator. The willingness to exploit those things most sacred to us. This may also be a reference to our rebellious relationship to God and the cause of our confinement within this material world.

    These images are set on the backdrop of references to the hedonistic culture of Southern California in the late 60's, particularly Santa Monica and Venice (where the Blue Bus runs).



  17.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 11th, 2011 9:01pm report


    I have listened to three different versions of this song. There's the original 11 and a half minute version, the Greatest Hits 6 and a half minute version from Apocalypse Now, and there's even a classical orchestrated version by Nigel Kennedy (he did the same for other Doors songs as well). The greatest thing about this song is that it can mean something different every time a person hears it. That's the real beauty of it. There is no clear, fine, universal interpretation. It's just you and your imagination running wild with Jim right there beside you.



  18.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 3rd, 2011 9:57am report


    i agree with jax to a certain extent , but i think people imply too much into the philosophy thing , i think it was more ,post world war two , vietnam could have gone on forever , roman wilderness of pain implies the celts who as you know from braveheart used to smear themselves in blue paint and go naked into battle , the blue bus is calling us ,and as we all know jim dodged the draft ,myth or ethos did he dodge the draft by turning up stoned and telling them he was gay or did " the admiral " pull some strings



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