Tool: Reflection Meaning
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Beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole.
I concede and move closer. I may find comfort here.
I may find peace within the emptiness. How pitiful.
And it's calling me.
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Feb 15th 2007 report
Someone on another lyrical analysis site found a correlation between this song and the Greek myth regarding "Narcissus." Pretty interesting if you wikipedia it, or what have you. After I read more about this interpretation, it's all I can picture now. Basically about a man in ancient Greek times who was so in love with his image, that all he'd do was stare into a lake at his reflection. He was then cursed to live out the rest of his life in that spot staring at his "perfect" image, until he "pined away". Another thing that convinces me that this story plays at least a small role in the song, besides the basis that I described above, is that Maynard does mention the word "Narcissus" in the song. Coincidence?? I don't think the song itself is about this story, but I do believe it could very well be yet another brilliant reference. Tool's songs are infinite in possibilities, and it's cool to think outside the box, and imagine Reflection to reference to this, amongst a thousand other personal interpretations.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:
This is probably my favorite Tool song because it's so close to existentialism, which is something I take comfort in ironically.
Maynard is expressing a feeling of total disgust and resignation to the nature of man and life. He has com 'curiously close to the end', in that he has experienced and seen enough of life and he is picking in his brain for answers and reasoning to it all. He is coming up short and whats something solid to stand on, something that is absolute truth and definite. He begins to indulge in the shallow parts of life as expressed in his views of self indulgence and pitiful egotism. He sees within himself the truth of such things, that they are empty and have no meaning. Despite knowing this, he continues on with it because it gives at least some sense, even if hollow, of purpose.
This pitiful farce eats away at him and he rbeaks down. He considers nature and how it is such the opposite of him. In his talk to the moon he begins to understand how selfless it is despite it's grandeur and that it is only great because of it's coexistance with other things. The moon would mean nothing if it did not have millions of people to gaze upon it and bask in it's glow. It would just be a hunk of rock floating around. The moon reveals that he is the same only on a smaller scale. The key to meaning is his effect on all that exists, and how all that exists effects him. The only way to prove your existance is through other existances.
To find peace and meaning we must become as selfless as the moon and satelites that form in union to create the beauty of our universe. We must come to realize this or we will fade from existance because we will have no impact on anything but ourselves. If we leave behind narcissism and unite in selflessness we can all prosper and find meaning in each other and our universe.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:
Reflect on what he says, and what you see
Reflection on Reflection
The moon, the dark side (like the shadow for Jung) holds the key to self development. To self actualize, one must step into the shadow, learn, then either unlearn or relearn. What's to relearn??? Who knows, maybe nothing, learning and believing nothing is the key to understanding everything. Think for yourself about everything you think of, then understand we are all one mind. One observation I must point out is that what is published as being said, is not what is necessarily always said. This also goes for Maynard's words, hell probably even my words. The differences between lyrics on the official TOOL site, vs. what is heard is different. Not drastically, but enough to change contextual significance. Example of "I have come curiously close to the end, down" vs. "I find that I can see light" show a difference between beginning and endings. To begin to understand is a birth, but to end is also a birth of death itself. The circle, the point, they are all cyclic. They continue, and are perpetual. To perpetuate, one must feed off oneself. Absorb, and learn the truth (BUT THIS TRUTH CAN NEVER BE EXPRESSED. That is the only way to never say never, is to acknowledge its existence by denying it.) It's like taking all the light, all opinions, all that is observable, but at the same time seeking the darkness, emptiness, and being at one with everything. Take this light that is not your own, and recognize what it is, go to the dark side of the moon in your mind, and see the nothingness. That is what the wall is: nothing. It is the barrier of nothing that prevents you from seeing nothing. Outer space and the space in synapses, or within electrons is the same sort of barrier towards/against development (Rocky Kolb, a cosmologist has evidence that suggests 95% of the universe is composed of either 'dark matter' or 'dark energy'). By looking for something always, people are blind to the fact that nothingness exists when it is right in front of them. If it's nothing will you perceive it? No, you have to imagine it. That's the only perception. That leads to another misprint I perceive from the song when compared to the lyrics. "Just", or "Don't" let the light touch you...the dif being that "just" would be submission, while "don't" would be the way to let it pass through, and bring out hope and reason, the two guiding forces or traits that lead to existence, and more importantly, consciousness. Hope and reason power survival. But if they are nothing, then people must power themselves. Light yourself, don't rely on others and theirs. This will let you leave this place (life as commonly perceived) that is so negative and blind and cynical. To do so is complicated, and I have a hunch that crucifying the ego is key in that living off of the id and superego working in tandem will be more productive than having one's ego operational. Self actualization may be the ending of anxiety by leaving the ego to it's own space, and dealing only with the id and superego which should be able to balance each other out once they have an agreement. Kinda like the saying "Two's company, three's a crowd" The too many chefs spoiling the broth syndrome could be the cause of chaos within the mind. Then again, if everything was about light and darkness, the only way to know about darkness, is to extinguish the light, and vice versa. What is needed is the other, but not a third party. Crucify the ego before it's far too late. - VA69, Oct 23rd, 2004. P.S. Peace of mind to all who can imagine it.
Crucifying the ego is it. The moon doesn't shine beautifully on its own, it is just a reflection of the light. We are not our perceived ego self that we have created to separate ourselves, we are the forever shining light that shines within us all. As soon as the ego is killed, you stop with the egotism that creates the struggles and the war within. After you get rid of that, you just let life flow like the river that it is without concern and we all create as nature intends. I listen to this song so often that it's gotten creepy.
anonymous Dec 5th 2012 report
I believe this song is telling the story of Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. The story is about a man who wants to achieve self-actualization like Buddha and in his quest, sinks so low that he almost commits suicide. Bouncing back from this, Siddhartha learns that all things are intertwined and that rhe cycle of life is unbreakable & he eventually becomes enlightened. The lyrics to this song pretty much match the story in my opinion.
Seems like a long shot, but hey, that's just what I think of :P
anonymous Apr 26th 2012 report
As I have just read the texts on this religion, and the fact that the new Puscifer album has similar 'reflections', I think it's safe to say that Maynard / others have a slight Gnostic belief system. It pretty much is exactly that beleif in how and why. Especially these lyrics. The alternate version of Jesus' beliefs are very represented here. He(Maynard) may not be that way, but it certainly seems that way.
anonymous Mar 8th 2012 report
Whenever I listen to Reflection it always reminds me of the movie Revolver by Guy Richie which is about killing your own ego and evolving into something more than merely a human that is encumbered by money and your own possessions.
This is by far my favorite Tool song and has changed my life on several occasions. Gotten me out of my self-indulgent, pitiful holes, if you will.
"I have come curiously close to the end...
It's calling me."
That verse is about living a normal, everyday life that most everyone leads. Most people generally are not very self-actualized or really very happy people. They don't realize there's more to life then waking up, going to work for 8 hours 5 days a week, repeat, week after week, year after year. There is much more than that! The narrator is expressing his unhappiness with his hum-drum life. He turns to spirituality in order to find new meaning to his life. He needs to find peace in the emptiness (emptiness is a basic tenent of Buddhism, we are all empty until our worldly perception becomes involved. Ego?).
"And in my darkest moment...
Before I pine away."
When he doesn't find solace in his spiritual journey he becomes disheartened. Looking up at the moon he realizes that all religions and spiritualities teach the same basic thing: that we all have something inside of us that is both ourselves and also greater than ourselves. In the moons case, the sun.
"So crucify the ego...
Bringing out our hope and meaning."
This verse negates the self-indulgence of the first verse. When we shed the ego and realize that every human being shares the same basic struggle (the Dalai Lama talks in great detail about this and how it has made him perfectly content in life), we break the shackles of the society that holds us down and makes us the generally unhappy people we are "leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical." it creates a society of human beings who help each other instead of create wars and poverty because they NEED their material possessions. When we can finally "crucify the ego" and " leave this place so negative and blind and cynical," we can find that "we are all one mind" and create a more perfect, peaceful, loving society.
To start, I would have to say that it's important to realize that Tool produces music that is so artistic and open to interpretation...I think the band wants to have the listener use his or her own mind to find meaning in it.
I think this song is based on reflecting on our basic egotistic, selfish tendencies as human beings. We live in our own little worlds, clinging to things that have no solid foundation, because we spend all our energy on things that we can never find any real meaning in. We can only find real meaning by realizing that this life we are living is part of something much bigger, that we are a part of the whole, which you may or may not want to refer to as "god." without god, (the light) we are lifeless satellites, drifting. He uses the moon to draw an analogy to ourselves. The moon only appears full and bright because of the light that shines on it. It does not produce its own light. We are full and bright because we are a part of the greater whole of this universe, and that light is not "ours" but a part of a greater whole. "let the light touch you" is a way of saying gain the understanding, be full and bright like the moon but realize that that light is not yours, but the whole of creation. We all exist together, we are all part of the whole. I think this song represents maynard reflecting on this.
anonymous Oct 19th 2011 report
I happen to think everyone's answers have some relation. Obviously he thinks as a CULTURE we have forgotten how to be humble and humane because we've evolved into a culture where material possessions and emotions are blinding us. He wrote this song in the wake of Layne Staley the lead singer of Alice in Chains and also Maynards best friend whom died because of a lifestyle that he couldn't get away from. Maynard's stated that he knew that Layne's death was coming and unfortunately Maynard couldn't stop it. Maynard has never had a substance problem, but is an alcoholic and saved his life from going down that road by going to A.A meetings. This song saved my life. If you think about it, the song is actually very universal. As crazy as the lyrics are everyone can find something in the song that they can relate to or resonate with. It's art, its supposed to make you think. The message I get is that no matter how f***** up things can get 1. There's someone out there who feels the same. 2. And when I feel like I should give up, if I "pull my head out" I can find hope again and I shouldn't take advantage of it. We all have second chances and we need to individually take responsibilitiy for our own lives.
anonymous Aug 11th 2011 report
Have any of you ever realized the spiritualism in Tool.
"We are all one mind"
he has a song called Merkaba.
He has a song called third eye.
To me all his music relates back to finding meaning in everything.
anonymous Jun 12th 2011 report
I think this song is about DMT and the truths that he got from it. "I have come curiously close to the end" DMT is the chemical that your brain produces during death, he says he came curiously close to the end beacause he was curious, smoked DMT and saw what happens to the end. "This light is not my own and
A million light reflections pass over me" this is what happens when you take DMT , you see light pass over you.
"And as I pull my head out I am without one doubt
Don't wanna be down here feeding my narcissism" this is when he goes out of the DMT trip and realizes that he don't want to live in a world where he feeds his narcissism and ego after gaining this experience, he wants to crucify the ego because he realized he is one with the universe. At the end he wants to spread the message that he got and says
"So crucify the ego, before it's far too late
To leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical,
And you will come to find that we are all one mind
Capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable.
Just let the light touch you
And let the words spill through
And let them pass right through
Bringing out our hope and reason ...
before we pine away." this verse is not about him but about you. Thus the title "reflection" he saw the truth and that our universe is a reflection and not real.
I've never smoked DMT but i've heard from people who did and their description is close to this song.
The band is obviously close to the psychedelic world and i think also to DMT.
I hope i've helped and i wait from others to comment on this.
anonymous Mar 1st 2011 report
This song is about a person, this person is locked in a "pitiful hole". This person talks to the moon "my confidant" who tells this person "as full and bright as i am this light is not my own". this sentence means " even though i'm full, bright and beautiful, this is not my own light", referring to the sun. In an interview, Maynard said this is about information. No matter how full with knowledge we are, this knowledge is not our own, it's just a reflection. The person is saying "don't wanna be down here soothing my narcissim, i must crucify the ego before it's far too late." He's locked in a pitiful hole made of ignorance and he must crucify the ego and accept his knowledge is not his own.
I would take some time to read the Tebetan book of the dead to find your answers. Basically it teaches you self liberation through a peaceful concept of self detachement from the material or physical world. This helps in situations when people are having bad trip or they are actually dying. After reading it more and more it seems to emphasize detaching predomintaely from a sexual nature to find eternal bliss. Reminds me of Maynards thinking somewhat...
anonymous Nov 26th 2009 report
I think the song may indirectly refernce hallucinogens in some ways. Not that I think the entire song is about it, but "crucify the ego" is essentially what happens when you consume a dose of hallucinogens. Your sense of self, how you perceive yourself, and all the filters your mind has developed to prioritize stimuli (essentially what I like to think as a part of your conscience/subconscience) are stripped away and rebuilt. You realize when tripping life beyond self, how everything is connected and you are a part of the whole, you are not the whole yourself. Another meaning in this song, as partially related to destroying and rebuilding the ego, is how everything interacts with everything else. In that sense it is all one, we are all one, one mind, one existence, one life, one. Without other physical things (people, celestial bodies, light) we have no point of reference to gauge our own existence. We must look beyond ourselves to understand ourselves, and we must also look within to understand everything else.
By the way, I've always interpreted the line with the moon as saying, "The moon tells me a secret, be confidant." Instead of "my" confidant. Maybe it's just me but I like it that way better, even if Maynard really does say "my"
GREAT SONG, touches me everytime I listen to it. Reflection is just one part of the story, or the "Triad". Next time you can, listen to Disposition, Reflection, and Traid nonstop in order. The meaning of the sotry can not be put into words, but rather felt because the conclusion of the story, "Triad", has no lyrics. Pure art.
Reflection, to me, means achieving enlightenment only through reflection of ones life.
In my opinon, the greatest album yet. This is by far my favorit song on the album. In order to get the meaning of this song, you must listen to the traid made up of the 3 songs, Disposition, Reflection, and Traid in order. Its a meaning that cannot be explained, but rather felt because the conclusion of the story, Triad, has no lyrics. LISTEN to the three when you get a change. Pure Art!
Reflection, to me, is about enlightenment through relfection on ones life.
anonymous Jun 4th 2009 report
Sounds like he's shroom holing to me.
This song is clearly about or inspired by a drug experience.
If you've had a negative shroom experience it's very easy to relate to the first two stanzas.
Then he has an eye opening experience or revelation, which is the third stanza.
Then, all the talk about crucifying the ego is in relation to the destruction of the ego brought on by powerful psychedelics. He needs to cling on to his own ego while tripping to save himself and escape his 'pitiful hole'.
But instead decides to crucify it, sacrifice it, and in doing so learnt about the world and consciousness to a degree that is beyond typing or lyrics and can only be summarised as
"And leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical
And you will come to find that we are all one mind
And capable of all that's imagined and unconceivable
So let the light touch you, so let the words spill through
And let them pass right through
Bringing out our hope and reason"
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