Tool: Right in Two Meaning
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Right in Two Lyrics
Puzzled and amused...
Why did Father give these humans free will?
Now they're all confused.
Don't these talking monkeys know that
Eden has enough to go around?
Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys,
I think pretty much everyone is on the right track...
I find the following themes notable
- The concept of the Arab Israeli conflict.
- That we are being referred to as monkeys
- The presented story of King David’s judgment to cut the baby right in two
- Dante’s comment on humanity failing to appreciate their existance
Since I usually read the Quran/Koran I may have something to add further. Obviously Maynard did not write just quoting the Bible or the Mishnah, but seems to also have added some elements of the Quranic tradition (cannot say for sure).
* The very first story in the Quran is about the angels (universal forces) being asked to submit to Adam (man)… all bow down except “Iblees” (synonymous not quote the same as “Satan/Shaitan”) which in English translates to “That which causes grief/misery”. So the only thing not under Man’s control is his/her ability to cause chaos and divide. Hence we see the amazement or the angles and the expression “give them thumbs and they forge blade” or “make a claw to strike their brother down”.
* It should also be noted that as per the Quran, Adam was told not to approach “this tree” (not “a tree of knowledge” but a parable to branching or division). As we go on, when the people of the covenant break the Sabbath (a tool to avoid societal breakup) God says to them “Be you held in contempt like apes!” which obviously strikes a chord with the song’s interpretation. All a human being is, is an ape if he/she chooses to go against reason and would rather prefer division, greed and war.
* The line “repugnant is … ground” has striking similarity one of Quran’s verses: “You squandered your good things in your life of the world and only sought immediate comfort therein. This Day you are rewarded with a humiliating doom because of your unjust pride, and because you drifted away from humanity.”
anonymous Aug 18th 2008 report
Actually, potentially it's a biblical interpretation of man's un-grateful nature towards the "creator" stating that our ability to reason is none the less over ridden by our greed and desire to claim all and everything. And the jealousy put forth by the "angels" as traditionally Angels were created first and yet humans remain the chosen favourites (ever watched the movie dogma?) and regardless of the power of choice and free will we, as humans without fail tear down what should be whole (right in two), in an attempt to stake our claim on EVERYTHING. We are given gifts to be used as tools and we make weapons. It's a seriously deep reflection on human nature and our tragic habbit of raping,pillaging and plundering and yet it's told from the perspective of what we regard as a "higher being" or a "detached commentator" allowing us to view our own actions as ridiculous and self destructive.
It's fairly obvious that he is referencing the Christian religion in one way or another.....but why? why even acknowledge the existence of angels or a grand spiritual divinity, god, father? especially when a large majority of the band's past work specifically mocks and challenges the religion? I understand and respect the notion that this album is certainly dedicated, or at least influenced by Judith, his mother, passing; and can appreciate the fact that she was a devote Christian, but this song has nothing to do with her.
It seems to me that something has changed. I am not judging Maynard or the band as a whole, but his lyrics seem one of three things:
Heart felt, honest portrayals of a newly founded god fearing man, either through age, life experience and loss or simply the true realization of death.
songs written in respect for his mother, perhaps even in a cynist, typical, Maynard approach to her beliefs.
A complete labyrinth masterpiece of metaphors and idioms that I am thus far to def to decipher.
anonymous Jul 4th 2008 report
It's about how shit humans are. We covet everything, want to have more than everybody else and we kill each other for it. He's saying that there is enough to go around as in the earth has enough to feed everybody in the world, we won't run out. If two people are fighting over 1 thing you can just cut it in two, everyone's happy.
anonymous Mar 19th 2008 report
"The problem is choice..."
I think that this song tackles the subject of Humans being able to understand that they have a choice but not understanding that they don't always have to make a choice.
It specifically mentions the wars that have gone in the name of religion by Christians, Muslims, and Jews (monkey killing monkey killing monkey) by inferring that Earth is Eden and that there is no need to make a choice on this matter when they have all been told and believe that there is obviously only one god (repugnant is the creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye towards heaven).
Basically whenever there is a constant we cannot compute how to deal with it. We must always have something to choose between and if we can't have it then we will use our opposable thumbs to make it.
The beauty of this song is that the Angels are all laughing/mesmerized at/by us and so is God. The Angels are on the sidelines watching the car crash but too enthralled by it to turn their heads. We are the main event. It was known that we would do this and it has become something of a sport to watch us do it again and again. (Angels on the sideline AGAIN, wondering when this tug of war will end).
Silly monkeys =)
PSN: LiquidJin (come get some if you dare...I've no qualms about dividing and conquering)
anonymous Mar 8th 2008 report
Its interpretation of what angels would think with what all God has given and what we have done instead of realizing we have all we need but we won't divide it correctly to make it work, we don't think about anyone but ourselves and the ones that we can benefit off of.
anonymous Oct 6th 2007 report
Honestly this is one of the easier songs to interpret. This is about how we humans have taken the gifts given to become a war like and greedy race of beasts.
This isn't really a comparison of us to apes, it talks about us both, but I don't think you're really getting the main point. Its more of showing how we were given all these great traits and don't exactly use them correctly. given all reason and this what we choose. as advanced of a race we are we still don't see how simple and rewarding it would be if we all decided to stop fighting.
anonymous Jul 2nd 2007 report
This whole album reflects a battle on a spiritual level. Every song no matter what the personal context of the song has some reference to Christianity. It come to a conclusion with the Right of Two. Which speaks of angels questioning "the Father" (only religion which permits humans to call God Father is Christianity, through the Son) on why he gave them free will. This is straight out of the Bible the original sin of humans, was that of questioning
God's heart for his creation. And even before that God's most beautiful angel thought that he could become more powerful and in essence rebelled against God's plan. This angel fell and is now known as Satan. The songs holds its truth in the perspective that humanity is failing with every hard heart and cold word which ripples into wars and hate and violence. The really cool part is that though angels where created on a spiritual level they do not understand the love of redemption. We have the ability for such evil yet the forgiveness available to us is unlimited. Luke 7:41-43
anonymous Jun 20th 2007 report
This song is an observation of religion from a religous person's perspective, with a pinch of political sadness to it.
Maynard repeatedly uses monkey as a metaphor for humans, in that we've evolved from Homo habilis and such to Homo sapien, however we have yet to abandon our primitive way of thought and action.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous May 21st 2007 report
I don't think I so say specifically about human greed and warfare, but how its naturally within us to engage in these concepts and we tend to be blind when it comes to really truly understanding how we are and work because we have so much in our hands all the time, things we are so incredibly conditioned to. we are still somewhat primitive when it comes to how we choose to live and obtain what we want or need. this song is one of my favorites. It always arouses the question in my head, a question my teacher asked me one day that just stuck in my mind like gum to my shoe. "is war necessary?" quite possibly a question that can not be answered. I think naturally we are animals that tend to destroy and consume until there is nothing left, like a horse grazing a field clean. we could try to conserve but we couldn't escape the primitive aspects of ourselves. Tool is the best. I feel tool really helped me blossom mentally and understand a handful of things.
I think you're all on the right track. This song is about human greed and ethnocentrism. It's about our inability to share. We divide everything, even our beliefs, which often leads to war.
Angels watching monkeys kill monkeys is an oxymoron. They've combined Christianity and evolution in this song to further exemplify human's lack of unity. Religion vs. atheism, or religion vs any other religion, is at the grassroots of human division.
Most wars have been about religion or territory. Stupid Monkeys!
this was written by a friend of mine who isn't necessarily a
tool fan. She heard this song though and really liked it.
without further ado; her thoughts...
i don't think the song requires much interpretation. Basically monkeys and humans share a lot of genetic material, about 98% to be precise. but what makes us different from them? they use tools (they have opposable thumbs, hence the line silly monkeys give them thumbs), they can learn language, they have social groups, they love and hate and care for their children and form bonds. So why are we in charge of this stinking little planet in the backwash of the universe?
It's a song about what makes us human. I think the angels (and who are these angels in the song who are being so patient with us?) are present as contrast to us, because they are perfect deities; however, IMHO, they don't have human problems, they can afford to be smug. I'm not sure how much I agree with the overall sentiment of the song, despite my appreciation of the term "silly monkey." Because really, is that what we aspire to, to be an angel? If so, why is that so important? Why can't we embrace our humanness in all of it's petty squabbling...it's one of the things that makes us who we are, I mean one of the things that makes us human.
So to go back to the idea of what makes us human, it is our higher level consciousness. Monkeys don't plan the future, they don't decide on a course of action other than the present. Perhaps then the song is a call to remember our humanness, to go beyond the present and realize we are something other than the ridiculousness we fight over every day. After all, as Carl Sagan says, we are made of stardust, we are formed of the whole of the universe, and frankly we may be the only creatures on this planet with a capacity to appreciate that.
I like this line: "Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here." It reminds me of a line from Dante's Inferno: "the heavens are calling you and wheel around you displaying to you their eternal beauties and still your eye is looking at the ground." I think it's from Purgatory but don't quote me on that.
anonymous Jan 30th 2007 report
In my opinion, by listening to this song many times, and reading some of the interpretations, it is clear to me what mostly all of this song means.
As Maynard says
"Don’t these talking monkeys know that
Eden has enough to go around?
Plenty in this holy garden, silly old monkeys,
Where there’s one, you're bound to divide it,
Right in two."
For his second verse...
He talks about how Humans think not only about the resources they have upon their "own" lands, but how people search all of "eden" in order to gain more resources from their own greed. Though, we don't think of how much we really have...we just want more and more.
For his fourth verse...
"Father blessed them all with reason.
And this is what they choose.
Monkey, killing monkey, killing monkey
Over pieces of the ground."
I think of it as him saying how "father" (god) gave us this a more complex mind so we are able to think, and yet we don't use our mind to think logic, we just act. It somewhat relates to how your mother's say "Think before you speak"
When he says "Monkey, killing monkey, killing monkey. Over pieces of the ground." It's obvious that he's saying "monkeys" (humans) are killing their own brethren in order to embrace more land for their own greed.
For his fifth verse...
"Silly monkeys give them thumbs,
They forge a blade,
And where there's one they're bound to divide it,
Right in two.
Right in two."
In this, I believe he is speaking of how all we do is "give them thumbs, then forge a blade" (create weapons) to only kill each other, and it fits well because of the fact of how you use a sword and it's used to "cut" things "right in two"
For his sixth verse...
"Monkey, killing monkey, killing monkey.
Over pieces of the ground.
Silly monkeys give them thumbs,
They make a club.
And beat their brother down.
How they survive so misguided is a mystery.
Repugnant is a creature who would
Squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here"
I think of this as him talking about us, in our own "safe havens" just as we use our own fists "They make a club and beat their brother down." to only slaughter our own brethren as we do with swords, guns...plastic objects O_o...etc...and it talks of us being reluctant to look up toward "heaven"
Most of the song I believe goes well with what's going on now, the war in Iraq, and has a great meaning towards what we're doing now.
Well, that's my opinion on what this song means.
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