Tool: Forty Six & 2 Meaning
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Song Released: 1998
Forty Six & 2 Lyrics
Shedding skin and
I've been picking
My old muscles
Looking for a clue.
I've been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could've been.
I've been wallowing in my own confused
anonymous Nov 14th, 2005 11:39pm report
I did a project on this song around 5 years ago. So here is what I remember.
46 & 2 refers to chromosomes. A regular human has 46. Someone who has 46 & 2 reaches the Christ Consciousness. Essentially it is a sort of enlighten state. It allows a human to evolve to the next leveling being.
The song is basically about trying to reach this state. Most of the lines refer to this struggle.
The term Muscle Memory refers to genes and genetic history. The shadow is part of your self image. It based on a Carl Jung theory. The old armor is his body. So the chorus is basically him saying I am looking into myself for the path and will help me leave this body/state of being
anonymous Dec 17th, 2005 12:55pm report
Well this song does have an interesting meaning. A meaning so complex I could write an essay for a college psychology class. But in a nutshell it goes somewhat like this.
There are 3 kinds of peoople on this planet. The first group in the kind that has a grouping of chromosomes called 42+2. These people are most notably aboriginal people in tribes in the jungle. These people believe everything in the world are connected, the Earth, the poeple, the water, the animals ,ect. The next type is 44+2 which is most people (including me and you). These people (us) believe we are each a separate being from each other and the world around us. We also believe that we are the sole rulers of the planet. The next group is reserved for a few (I believe so far only one person belongs in this catogory) This group has the chromosomes of 46+2 which is considered divine. This means that you are both divine and human at the same time (Jesus anybody) This means you can do things the average human can't do such as heal people and control things. Yet Maynard is talking about how he is trying to find the nirvana of 46+2 and if anybody could achive this state of body.
anonymous Feb 15th, 2006 2:03am report
It's self-evolution... He's saying that within ourselves is the key to our own divinity.
anonymous Aug 21st, 2014 8:25am report
It was always a song that spoke to me about a relationship gone terribly wrong. The relationship, torn apart by heavy drug use, had you beaten down and left just a shadow of what you once were. You'd been down in the muck and the mire, crawling on your belly, sinking into your own confused
and insecure delusions about the truth of the relationship and the loyalty that was never really there, but what does not kill you makes you stronger and having a clear recollection and remembering through every muscle that ever ached, never forgetting the cleansing and having endured living through the process of an empty love. You soldiered on.
You may be lead to pick at the old scabs left behind as a reminder, but now my downtrodden (and I do mean the actual definition of the word, downtrodden)shadow's shedding skin and I feel the change and restoration coming and now it's MY TIME!
Forty-six and two ahead of me... Not a realm of higher consciousness, but maybe just a clever hook. So, maybe I'll be Forty-Six and two ahead of me can represent the crowd I was following at one time. (in my shadow)I'll say this just for shits and giggles and to present something totally meaningless and shallow. K?
Now, the real message for me here is... I'm coming out of the muck and the mire and I'm going to be golden, even better than before! I can soften this tough armor and clear a way to redemption! Cause after everything I had been through; nothing from that time can ever have a piece of me again!
"I choose to live and to
Grow, take and give and to
Move, learn and love and to
Cry, kill and die and to
Be paranoid and to
Lie, hate and fear and to
Do what it takes to move through."
I made the cut and Now it's my time!
So, That's it folks! This is what this finely crafted song has always ever meant for me. However, I love the theory and all the fabulous spin and I hope we never stop searching for answers to our most colorful questions. Ciao
Oh, Hey! Anybody catch how my post started out in third person, but quickly morphed into first person? lol What can I say?
anonymous Jul 18th, 2013 7:47pm report
OMG every human being has 46 total chromosomes. If they have less or more than that they are NOT HUMAN. By definition they cannot be. To the guy talking about aboriginal people, you're a fucking idiot. If you don't know the answer to the question then stfu and let someone who knows speak. People like you make the world a dumber place. To the guy talking about kleinfelter's (XXY), triple X syndrome, TRIsomy 13(Patau syndrome), TRIsomy 18 (Edward's syndrome) and Down's syndrome (TRIsomy 21) take a math class those two groups of people are born with 47 chromosomes. To be born with 2 extra chromosomes (48 total chromosomes) is not compatible with life aka they are aborted in utero (in the womb) very early in the pregnancy. It's a common misconception that more chromosomes=better but that's wrong. What's important is alternative RNA splicing at the end of transcription. There are much simpler organisms than humans that have more total genes than humans. This just means it takes longer to replicate the DNA which is not good or advantageous in any way.
anonymous Nov 4th, 2012 11:31pm report
So we have already established that this is a song about reaching the '46+2' set of chromosomes, the divine set. half of 46 is 23, which is a significant number in the world of philosophy. (look this up on the internet, there are so many examples of the power of this number, its mind blowing.)
so 46 divided by 2 is 23. yeah.
there could be a deeper meaning to this song than just a religious interpretation.
anonymous Oct 5th, 2012 10:37pm report
our genes are constantly mutating, finding an equilibrium w/ our always changing environment. 46+2 is attainable in our lives through mind-driven actions that constantly work together towards the goal of self-evolution, instead of living in complacency w/ a shadow of ourselves we're trying to shake. the shadow is everything in our past we'd rather not see, it's always behind us. to evolve, we accept our shadow and move on in a positive direction. the union of mind, body and spirit to attain 48.
anonymous Jun 22nd, 2012 6:29pm report
46 and 2 is ib Carlos Castenadas "Tales of Power" i think that would help explain it.
CosmicInnergy May 16th, 2012 5:57am report
Some of the following is taken from the Tool FAQ, but it is followed by some of my own analysis.
FROM TOOL FAQ: Some of the ideas behind this song are based on the teachings of Drunvalo Melchizadek. Here's a snip of an interview with him (Leading Edge, 12/95): "There are three totally different kinds of humans on the Earth, meaning that they perceive the One reality in three different ways, interpreted differently. The first kind of human has a chromosome composition of 42+2. They comprise a unity consciousness that does not see anything outside themselves as being separate from themselves. To them, there is only one energy - one life, one beingness that moves everywhere. Anything happening anywhere is within them, as well. They are like cells in the body. They are all connected to a single consciousness that moves through all of them. These are the aboriginals in Australia. There might be a few African tribes left like this. Then, there is our level, comprising 44+2 chromosomes. We are a disharmonic level of consciousness that is used as a steppingstone from the 42+2 level to the next level, 46+2...These two additional chromosomes change everything."
Fan submission to Tool FAQ: "Anima / Animus (pronounced On-ee-mah): In Jungian psychology, the anima refers to personality traits regarded as feminine that are often repressed into the unconscious of males while the animus refers to traits regarded as masculine that are often repressed into the unconsciousness of females.
Although suppressed from conscious awareness, the anima/animus influences our behavior in powerful ways. In most individuals,it is projected onto people of the opposite sex and accounts for the experience of falling in love with someone we hardly know. As the unconscious pole of the self, the counter-ego represented by the anima/animus can also be a guide to one's own unconscious realm. It is often experienced as the guiding female (if you're male) or male (if you're female) presence in dreams.
“The Shadow: In Carl Jung's personality theory, the ego represents the individual's sense of personal self. The sense of personal identity is purchased, however, at the expense of certain tendencies that are rejected as 'not-self'. According to Jung, these rejected traits come together as a kind of unconscious 'counter-ego' which he termed the shadow.
“We may become unduly anxious or irritated when in an environment or around a person that in some way reminds us of repressed aspects of our self. If a person has rejected his or her own sex drive, for example, that person may feel irrational fear or anger around an overtly sexual individual. The shadow may appear as a person in one's dreams, usually as an individual of the same sex.
“Of all the archetypes, the shadow is the most powerful and potentially the most dangerous. It represents everything about ourselves that we fear and despise.
“The meaning of 46 + 2: According to Melchezedek, our planet is covered with geometrically constructed 'morpho genetic grids'. These grids extend from about 60 feet under the Earth's surface to about 60 miles above the Earth, arranged in geometric patterns (see 'Sacred Geometry'). Each species has its own grid, which supports life, and connects the consciousness of its particular species. Before any species can come into existence or make an evolutionary step, a new grid must be completed. When a species becomes extinct, that particular species' grid dissolves.
“A new grid was completed in 1989 - the 'christ-consciousness' grid. This grid will allow humans to evolve into our next version. We'll develop two additional chromosomes (which are really 'geometrical images' designed to resonate with our specific grid) for a total or 46 + 2.
“The main change will be a shift to the 'unity consciousness.' Every cell in your body has its own consciousness and memory. You, the higher being that occupies your body, make the millions of different consciousnesses in your body work together as one being. How does this relate to this grid? Think of yourself as a cell and the grid as the higher being. We will still have individual consciousness, but will be united in the form of a higher being in order to work as one entity." - Rachel Wells
Adding two chromosomes makes the genetic code more complicated. I actually befriended a kid in Ohio named Dan through an old Facebook Tool page because of what he had to say about the parallel between the complication of the genetic language and the complexity of computer code. Binary is a simple code that takes a lot of energy and effort to operate, whereas Java+ scripting language is very complicated but incredibly easy to operate. As we alter (hopefully naturally) our genetic makeup, the functionality of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies may become easier, more instinctual. Oddly enough, apes have 46 + 2 chromosomes. It seems that sometimes we should be taking a step backwards (through our shadow) in order to more effectively choose our next steps forward.
Continuation of the snake imagery from H. - Maynard as a snake (like his father) crawling on his belly, shedding his skin – undoing callouses and releasing old habits and defense mechanisms (muscle memory) and thought-patterns (what I've been clinging to) possibly encoded in his genetic makeup (attempting to prove a better life is possible for his son). "Crawling on my belly" also inspires the vision of a child throwing a tantrum to mind, victimizing one's whole self in order to avoid acceptance of a negative piece of oneself.
Tool is really encouraging us to examine the shadow we project on others and the world in order to accept and better ourselves – allowing the shadow to be a medium for transformation, softening our armor rather than building it up. The “I choose to...” portions include negative things with the positive, stressing the necessity of both forces to manifest evolution/enlightenment.
This song, and especially the dialogue between fans about its meaning, is a wonderful example of the temporary nature of belief systems. We follow the rules of one system that makes sense to us until we encounter an anomaly within our mental framework that simply cannot fit into our definition of truth, so we are forced to take a step back and recalculate.
anonymous May 2nd, 2012 5:20pm report
Why can't this mean anything you consider it to mean, Maynard himself once said his lyrics are to be interpreted however you see fit, ive always listened to his music and made my own mind up on what they mean, that way I make my own personal/emotional connection with the music, your forced to enlighten yourself by thinking deep within the lyrics
Theres definitely themes to tools music, each song provokes a subject in some form or another, this song for instance, it can be interpreted as Religious or Scientific, opposites clashing leading you to choose which way you go about interpretting the lyrics, do your underlying religious believes sway your opinion or does your rational side make you lean to a more scientific explanation.
anonymous Apr 17th, 2012 4:16pm report
From and evolutionary perspective, this song can only mean one thing: as Maynard refers consistently to being reduced to animalistic tendencies through his shadow, simultaneously referencing "what could have been" and what he has "been hiding in," I believe the message of this song is backwards evolution, from human (46 chromosomes) back to an ape (48 chromosomes), adopting whatever pro-animalistic, anti-intelligent characteristics the ape would have. He aims to do this to relieve himself of "chaotic delusions" and what not, as these are byproducts of human thought, whereas to be an animal without self-delusion and rationalization of every little aspect of existence, he could change himself and be free of human suffering - thought.
This song is all about feeling, it has nothing to do with divine consciousness or enlightenment because it has nothing to do with thought in general. The only reference to thought in this entire song is his description of his own chaotic mind, which he seeks to escape.
Winston Smith Mar 10th, 2012 3:42pm report
This song is about emotional evolution. 46 and 2 is just another name for evolution. Buddist go through this while seeking. "Been crawling on my belly, clearing out what could have been, been wallowing in my own chaotic insucer delutions." He's looking through his past, seeing where he went wrong. "For a piece to cross me over, or a word to giude me in, I want to feel the change comming down, I want to know what I've been hiding in my shadow." Accepting who you are as a person is a imporant step in finding yourself. "I choose to live, and lie and love and to kill and to cry, and do what it takes to move through." This is not about jung, thought it is about experiencing the world as a whole. Accepting your faults.
anonymous Feb 8th, 2012 2:14am report
I don't kno why but my mom has a saying " shit n 2 make 48" funny cause the songs called 46&2. Ha. And please people don't take your sometime crazy meanings for things and think that by me saying that,it means I think the song is shit. First of all I could really give 2 shits less what anyone really thinks of me (so I really don't even know y I had to say that but I did) and second 46&2 has its own meaning to me but I don't feel like writing it now. I just wanted to know if anyones ever heard my mom's saying???
anonymous Oct 6th, 2011 10:16pm report
I feel that Tool's music is open for interpretation. I can make any song relate to anything. 46&2 helped me understand a really bad situation I have been in recently. Don't judge me lol, just here to explain. Me and my girl go to different schools now in different states. I tried way too hard to stay connected on an emotional level. I became delusional and would get lost in my thoughts and say things to her that were completely dramatic and overboard. "I've been crawling on my belly" I was so down and depressed. "Clearing out what could've been" I completely destroyed any chance of what could have been with us because i was "wallowing in my own confused and insecure delusions" could not describe my situation better. I always needed to be reassured that she still cared, which is why my delusions were insecure. My delusions just consisted of us being together, even though it physically was not possible or realistic. I was not thinking clearly. HOWEVER, something needed to change. This song helped me break through and became my old, cocky self again. "CHANGE IS COMING NOW IS MY TIME" "Listen to my muscle memory" made me think of how I used to be before I met her, I need to be him again. "CONTEMPLATE WHAT IVE BEEN CLINGING TO" could not be more accurate. Contemplate this girl i've been clinging to..is it worth it? "I choose to live and to lie...etc" I choose to do all these things and express my emotions, and it got me to this point. By the end of the song, I felt like a new man, done with all this girl BS, maybe not on a 46 and 2 level on thinking, but def back to my old self. Not only do the lyrics progress, the instrumental progresses with it.. during the bridge and drum solo,I could feel myself letting go. By the end, I had escaped my insecure delusion by contemplating what I was clinging to, change has come.
anonymous Sep 16th, 2011 9:15pm report
i'm really sorry, your article was great.. but you kept saying "hemaphrodite" which is not a word.. and it annoyed me. :S
anonymous Jul 28th, 2011 7:48am report
all apes except humans have 48 chromosomes due to a fusion of two pairs of chromosomes. (if the math of that dosn't add up for you, learn some genetics) although the interpretation of the gain of a chromosome pair as a gateway to transcendence could be valid, I would argue based on the lyrics that a regression to primal instincts to circumvent a block caused by the human condition in order to resume progession sounds more like what the author intended.
anonymous Jul 6th, 2011 7:50am report
We are Gods in embryo
anonymous Jul 4th, 2011 7:29pm report
there are so many different facets to the song that it doesnt matter on what level of coherence you are on spritually or how educated you are it literally hits to the soul that it naturally brings curiousity and in that is evolution if not in action at least in thought and it is the creative thought that resonates and manifistes if only a seed at first it is if fact planted.
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