Tool: Intolerance Meaning
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I think the "you" in this song is used as a way to express humanity or society as one, and Maynard's (Or Tool's) disgust with it. The "Lie, cheat and steal" comes from a military saying I believe, that goes like this: "I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." Hence the title of the song, and the use of tolerance throughout. This is only my opinion. The lyrics I've used were written by the brilliant writer himself MJK, on WWW.toolshed.down.net.
"I don't want to be hostile. I don't want to be dismal. But I don't want to rot in an apathetic existence either."
I don't want to be angry in my life and dismiss you as fake. But, I don't want to feel sorry for myself and you my entire life.
"See, I want to believe you, and I want to trust, and I want to have faith to put away the dagger."
I want to believe your claims, your beliefs, and I want to be trusting. I want to have faith to put away my weapon, to not be hostile.
"But you lie, cheat, and steal. And yet, I tolerate you."
You lie, cheat, and steal, so I can't trust you, yet, I continue to put up with your antics.
"Veil of virtue hung to hide your method while I smile and laugh and dance and sing your praise and glory. Shroud of Virtue hung to mask your stigma"
There is a cloud of "goodness" that hides your bad deeds, while I smile and celebrate the "goodness" that you fake. Your cloud of fake "goodness" hides your infamy.
"As I smile and laugh ad dance and sing your glory while you lie, cheat, and steal. How can I tolerate you?"
I celebrate your existence, your goodness, while you continue to lie, cheat, and steal. How I can I tolerate that you're such a fake? That you lie to make yourself look virtuous.
"Our guilt, our blame, I've been far to sympathetic. Our blood, our fault. I've been far too sympathetic."
Our guilt and our blame as a human race as been looked on by me as far too sympathetic. I've been far too sympathetic to this society.
"I am not innocent. You are not innocent. No one is innocent"
I am not innocent, for I am part of this society. You are not innocent, as the same is true for you. And no one else is innocent, for no one is perfect and above us.
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anonymous Sep 1st, 2009 9:26pm report
The Intolerance idea refers to Maynard's time at the West Point Prep School. The Cadet honor code at West Point is "I will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do" with toleration being the most difficult of the pillars to uphold. It's easy to hold yourself to a standard of not lying, cheating or stealing, but turning in your friends is a completely different level - hence the fact that in the song he never says that he did anything wrong other than tolerating what was going on around him. This is, in fact, the reason that he never attended West Point (rare for a graduate of the prep school) - he could never get past the hypocrisy of the toleration.
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