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Tool: Schism Meaning


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Song Released: 2001

Schism Lyrics

I know the pieces fit
'Cause I watched them fall away
Mildewed and smouldering
Fundamental differing
Pure intention juxtaposed
Will set two lovers' souls in motion
Disintegrating as it goes
Testing our communication
The light that feuled...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Aug 31st 2005 report

    So one of you quoted Maynard saying that if he told the real meanings people would think he was insane. Well, keep in mind tool has so many LSD overtones it's not even funny.

    So consider what, at least people with a positive experience with mind expansion let themselves understand about reality. And from that perspective, who wouldn't look crazy.

    If you don't read this whole thing.. then you're crazy.

    ok. first of all. Sure, I understand what you're saying that it could mean many things, or it could mean whatever the person reading it percieves... but he does have a very cryptic theme underneath it all. whether its a relationship song or a song about a dude whacking off in his own feaces thats not the part that needs to be interpreted.

    Point the finger, blame the other
    Watch the temple topple over
    To bring the pieces back together
    Rediscover communication

    supposedly Duality, as in, THIS WORLD. the physical plane. external reality, what we percieve, is only half of existance. there is a positive and a negative. and zero of course. but in this other plane of existance in your mind,( activated by well, speaking about maynard i'll use LSD as our tool) you opporate without space and time. you understand the concept of negative and positive, but there is no difference. they're both just HAPPENING. there is NO duality here. He's taking this RELATIONSHIP issue and relating it back to how his mind is handling it. supposedly if you give in to duality and continue to stress out over a dying relationship ur giving in to the human drama and u need to realize that everything is how it is supposed to be. and nothing matters any way. once you become completely emotionally unattached to external reality all you need to entertain you is what's going on in your own head. you realize you are creating your own reality by being addicted to all the human emotions. this is all about ascension. this is what all religions were screaming at everyone underneath the layers and layers of metaphor. ppl are retarded.

    The poetry
    That comes from the squaring off between
    And the circling is worth it
    Finding beauty in the dissonance

    lets Paraphrase

    "the poetry; the myth; the religious metaphors, that are told opposite their scientific and logical explanations are the same thing. it's almost as if, in order to tell the truth about reality and what life is and what "god" is in a way that human minds could comprehend 5000+ years ago, the enlightened ones that formed religions wrote a story with layers and layers of metaphors over the mind blowing almighty scientific truth. Not exactly to hide the truth... but to put it out of plane view.. until we evolved enough to use it with modern science. until a time we can realize why they put it out of plain view in the first place: the human mind is addicted also to knowledge. it feels good for the brain to learn. so the bible especially was screaming at mankind to dig deeper. take the persuit of knowledge. If the church knows about this truth (which would crumble them because they are supposed to be the sole vessel for the persuit of God) they are trying to hide it from us when the some of the story says mankind is doomed because we ate from the tree of knowledge. they don't want us seeking that knowledge. it is obvious.

    eventually science and religion will meet right in the middle. yin and yang.

    and circling the evidence in any religious text and deciphering what scientific FACT is the metaphor giving color to. "Finding the beauty in the ultimate truth."

    There was a time that the pieces fit
    But I watched them fall away
    Mildewed and smouldering
    Strangled by our coveting
    I've done the math enough to know
    The dangers of our second guessing
    Doomed to crumble unless we grow
    And strengthen our communication

    take this with a grain of salt. by the way.

    what if when you are conceived.. when the first molecules begin to construct your brain... think of it as a smaller model of the big bang. on a fundamental level matter is made up of mostly vacum. nothingness. its present in every cell, every atom, every subatomic partical, and quark. all there is is an untapped source of energy teaming with possibility. just as the big bang explodes, expands, takes shape, and finds order. SO DOES YOUR MIND. and keep in mind we are still talking about Maynard. and I could be completely OFF, but i've read many accounts of psychadelic experiences basically sumarized as a resetting of the spark that started your brain. you experience non time and space and enter a part of your brain with limitless possibilities. and i am not alone in my experience either that the tripping mind sometimes gets to a point where all the peaces of.. thought (for lack of a better term) have all finally fit together and everything.. EVERYTHING makes perfect sense. it all fits. everything in life. you see clearly. completely. ...and then its gone. and you have to return to normal ego-reality.

    doomed to crumble unless we grow...
    strengthening our communication.


    for survival, ultimate evolutionary survival... humans.. need only one thing. other humans. living in absolute harmony with each other. Egos' completely shed off. seeing eachother as all the same beautiful and perfect beings that we are... and PROGRESSING. instead of letting reality take control of us. take control of reality. reality means you project only what you precieve to be true. so we're all making reality happen. all of us together. once we all know that. we can help eachother. and grow. and become unified and EVOLVE.

    ...so who's still with me? anyone?

    ...don't YOU now feel a bit insane?
    cuz i'm sure you now think I Am.

    ps: god's name. YAHWEH. translated as "I AM".

    ...tell me, what human on this earth cannot say the utterly true statement about themselves, "I AM."

    feed your head.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Oct 19th 2006 report

    While I regret to post anything without citing a source to substantiate my claims, I will do it anyway. During the battle between Tool and their recording label over god knows what, Maynard starting writing material with billy and they made apc. I heard from a friend of a friend who knew a guy who thought he read a poster once that said the other guys in tool were upset that Maynard went off to tour with apc instead of staying and helping sort out the record company issue. The beginning of lateralus was written with danny, adam, and justin recording some music and sending it to Maynard while he was on tour with apc. I heard from this same friend that the first couple tracks on lateralus, or the first ones written (I can't remember), were used by Maynard to send messages back to the rest of the band. Looking at the song from the perspective of rediscovering communitcation, I interpret the song to be about the band overcoming it's previous strife to be the great band they are. I think this is a great song because it is open to so many interpretations. Anything that was whole, seperated, and came back together, could be the subject of this song. That's what I love about it.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 4th 2006 report

    It's about Maynard's break-up with his fiance.

    "I know the pieces fit
    Cause I watched them fall away.
    Mildewed and smouldering.
    Fundemental differing."
    When "the pieces fit" was when they were together and everything was perfect. They fit together perfectly (if you've ever been there, you know what I mean). The pieces "fell away" when things started going wrong. When certain fundemental differences came up.

    "Pure intention juxtaposed
    Will set two lovers' souls in motion.
    Disintegrating as it goes
    Testing our communication."
    His and her pure intentions, when set side-by-side, made them feel that they loved each other. But it disintegrated as time went on, and tested their communication.

    "The light that feuled our fire then
    Has a burned a hole between us so
    We cannot see to reach an end.
    Crippling our communication."
    The same thing that made them feel love before has caused this rift between them. They can't see how it can work now, and this causes their communication to fail.

    "I know the pieces fit
    'Cause I watched them tumble down
    No fault, none to blame
    It doesn't mean I don't desire to
    Point the finger, blame the other
    Watch the temple topple over
    To bring the pieces back together
    Rediscover communication."
    He knows the pieces fit because he saw how well they used to work, and then he watched the pieces all fall away. It's no one's fault, but he still wants to blame her, which would destroy their relationship (the temple). Then he could put all the pieces back together, and rediscover their lost communication.

    "The poetry
    That comes from the squaring off between
    And the circling is worth it
    Finding beauty in the dissonance."
    This song and the understanding that comes from the fighting and the falling out is worth all the pain, worth the loss. He finds beauty in the lack of harmony.

    "There was a time that the pieces fit
    But I watched them fall away
    Mildewed and smouldering
    Strangled by our coveting
    I've done the math enough to know
    The dangers of our second guessing
    Doomed to crumble unless we grow
    And strengthen our communication."
    He knows now what it was that caused the falling out. He's thought about it enough to know that them second guessing their love is what caaused this rift. And he also knows that it will be irreparable soon if they don't grow and fix the problem.

    "Cold silence has
    A tendency to
    Atrophy any
    Sense of compassion
    Between supposed brothers.
    Between supposed lovers."
    The cold silence that has grown and surrounded them decays and destroys any little bit of love left between them.

    "I know the pieces fit..."

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 23rd 2019 report

    I just wanna say something about the line "and the poetry that comes from the squaring off between and the circling is worth it, finding beauty in the dissonance."

    I think he is referring to the nesecitty of setting your boundery's in a relationship (squaring off) and being open te re-evaluate and change (circling).
    Also linking 'the squaring of the circle' a thing many ancient cultures did, I think to symbolize the comming together of the male and female. Square being male, circle being female.

    There clearly is a dissonance between the two, but he says, the poetry that comes from strugles of coming together is beautiful and worth it.

    I think this is the most realistic and insightfull and profound portreal of the meaning of relationships and love I know, all in one sentence.

    Thank you Maynard

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 22nd 2017 report

    #2 Is absolutely correct! I couldn't have explained it any better myself. I really enjoy that #2 is the most accurate and yet the guy trying so hard to be deep and right instead of just understanding is #1.

  6. kooljohn176
    click a star to vote
    Mar 24th 2015 report

    A great educational song by TOOL on Schisim that can deviate us from the truth like most ''isims'' have done for a long time in breaking us apart in pieces on the personal level from families into relationships with each other and on society level through the ''isims''of the divisions from the old phylosophies and religion that divided us further along with a different name of phycology and phyciatry. Now there is always hope by this song that the pieces of the puzzle can be put back together in putting the stop on the runaway train with a lot of work to know ourselves that needs to backtrack and to go back in time even further before the temple fell in pieces, to use that wisdom that we had to once accept to learn from that past in educating all for the good and not by deviating us from that once known truth by making the same mistake in the future to build by division of dividing.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 4th 2015 report

    It has to do with something ending or breaking due to lack of comunication.
    I know the pieces fit cause I watched the fall away.
    Thats saying that he knows that everything could workout because he witnessed it end.
    If you read or listen to the lyrics you will hear a lot about comunication.
    Anyway thats just what I think.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 7th 2015 report

    theres no way it's about his former fiancé. He was in a relationship with my friend Mary the entire ten years he was with her. He did write apc's Magdalena for Mary.
    I am going to agree that schism is definitely a well thought out absolutely stunning analogy for the separation that occurred due to organized religion separating God and the sciences. They are in fact one in the same. Every electron particle is a tiny miracle and truly magic. We're very lucky to be aware of the awesome power of the universe from the mighty giant gas planets down to the sub atomic life of a quark.

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 21st 2014 report

    i am 100 percent sure its about him breaking up with his fiance' due to lack of communication

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 30th 2013 report

    I agree with the most popular post, Though, one thing has been left out and is the most easily overlooked, Watch the video and look at the wall in the background and the fact that the people in the video form a triangle. 1+1=3, mother,father,offspring. This is of great importance to understand how the pieces fit because two pieces coming together form the third, a trinity if you will. Now if you take a piece of paper and wright out three lines of dots of three then connect each dot to the other
    dot forming a square with a cross in the middle then connect the diagonal lines, you will find a man in the middle of it.Let him who hath understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of "A" man. and his number is 6 three score and six. Each part, three on top and three on bottom. 333 and 333 converges in the middle making 666. This is the key to unlimited energy and anti-gravity and possibly time travel. Everything is triangles. for a simpler explanation of this. draw a square the a triangle within the square, then a perfect circle within the triangle. Then a dot within the circle. I'm not crazy, again just watch the video. he's looking at the symbol, stepping side to side and then finally in the symbol.also study the device at the beginning of the video, It's an instrument of perpetual motion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhjG47gtMCo

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 2nd 2012 report

    Tower of babel.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Jan 29th 2012 report

    it is a boss song with many meanings behind it. having so many meanings the listener can interpret the song how ever he/she likes. My interpretation of this song is about the fall of the tower of babel. according to das bible when the tower fell that is when different languages came to play in the world. I think it was a punishment from God or something like that. dividing brothers from each other, dividing lovers by language barriers. but what do i know i do drugs.:D

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. samoca
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    Nov 24th 2011 report

    I believe this song generally described the act of losing ones ego to the point of ultimate clarity of consciousness and understanding (pure consciousness understands that it is easily fooled and most thoughts are not taken fully literally - there is no truth except for the subjective and objective 'truth' in combination, which is not the abstract kind of 'truth' that we hear about most of the time.


    Meditation, spirituality and the use of chemical tools (or these tools that the band Tool has created - arts and music) can open your mind up to the reality of 'one-ness'. This realisation is where "the pieces fit" you have access to thinking and a way of being that is free of confusion and deceit that humans are normally plagued with.
    Schism is the breaking from this state of consciousness back to the Ego-driven consciousness which is inferior and useless.

    Humans can come to great realisations through the discarding of all levels of our ego. Pure knowledge is the spearhead of the evolution of Life itself.
    For a human being to be able to keep higher consciousness while also returning to their daily life is very difficult - it may even be impossible for pure consciousness and the ego co-exist in daily life because they are mutually exclusive forms of consciousness, perception, knowing.

    Schism is about this painful tearing apart of the consciousness from a state of enlightenment back to the dirty and dysfunctional ego

    This is a common cycle for people who have 'the goods' to seek out such a state. Upholding an enlightened state and going about your life in this modern day is undoubtedly very difficult. It is painful to lose a state of being that can be such a strong force for human life, psychological evolution, and just plain cutting through the bullshit

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 6th 2011 report

    I think schism is fairly self explanatory. Its a beautifully written and id like to share my own interpretation of the song.

    The song goes through all the stages of a relationship heading towards a break up.

    Firstly the "pieces" hes refering to are him and his partner. "I know the pieces fit cause i watched them fall away" means I know that me and you are good together because we wroked before we grown apart. I think this relationship failed because the two partners personailtys have changed between the time they first got together were they are now. "Testing our communication" the change in their personailty is testing their communication they have grown so apart that its hard for them to share with open up to eachother again.

    "The light that feuled our fire then
    Has a burned a hole between us so
    We cannot see to reach an end
    Crippling our communication" I think the light and fire hes reffering to means that they are both very passionate people, at the start of their relationship they thrived of eachothers passion they loved it but now the passion as turned bitter and its an angry passion, its furthering their lack of communication.

    "I know the pieces fit
    Cause I watched them tumble down"

    The fact that he keeps repeating that the pieces fit is his way of saying I KNOW we work togther, in this verse the piceces arnt just falling away as before now they are tumbling down the distant between them is growing.

    "No fault, none to blame
    It doesn't mean I don't desire to
    Point the finger, blame the other watch the temple topple over"

    Here hes saying that the ending of the relationship isnt really either of thir faults, they just drifted apart still its tempting for both of them to blame the other person to ease the saddness they feel towards the ending. "Watch the temple topple over". The temple being the relationship and them being the pieces of the temple, with out the pieces the temple can not stand and so without them working togther the relationship topples over.

    "The poetry
    That comes from the squaring off between
    And the circling is worth it
    Finding beauty in the dissonance"

    I think here hes saying that even though the break up is terible its giving him artistic motivation for his music. The poetry that comes from them fighting, the beauty in the dissonance (dissonance means 1. Lack of harmony among musical notes.
    2. A tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements) The first meaning refers to the beauty the break up is bringing to his music and the secound meaning is dirctly the two partners- tension resulting from two unsuitable elemnts-the elements being them.

    "There was a time that the pieces fit
    But I watched them fall away"

    Now hes chaning his mind instead of saying "I know the pieces fit" he saying "They used to fit". Now hes unsure if they can make this relationship work, its getting to the point of no return.

    "I've done the math enough to know
    The dangers of our second guessing
    Doomed to crumble unless we grow
    And strengthen our communication"

    Secound guessing means to rethink our first opnion on something, these happens at the end of most relationships, the things you onced love about the other person now becomes annoying and unbarable, he says that their doomed to crumble unless they grown and strengthen the communcation, it implies that they actually arnt even confronting eachother on whats realling happening, they are drfiting further and futher apart and sweeping it all under the rug, he saying that if they just talk about about they might still have a chance.

    "Cold silence has
    A tendency to
    Atrophy any
    Sense of compassion
    Between supposed lovers"

    atrophy means -Waste away, typically due to the degeneration of cells. Therefore hes saying the fact that they arnt talking about their problems deystroying andy sense of compassion towards eachother.
    He says here "supposed" lovers implying that now they have have grown so apart if you were on the outside looking in you woudlnt even know that they had once been lovers. Now they are strangers (going back to my point about the relationship failing due to them changing)

    The following lines are the most powerful and upsetting lines of the song. He had been repating these line from the start and now the power in his voice in which he sings it, we can really hear his desperation here, he WANTS and NEEDS this realtionship to work.

    "I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit"

    As he says this over and over his tone becomes aggressive. I KNOW THE PIECES FIT, I KNOW THE PIECES I KNOW THE PIECES FIT. hes almost trying to convince himself that they work together, but we can tell by his tone of voice and frustration that they obviously don't fit.

  15. anonymous
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    Jun 25th 2011 report

    Ok all you guys are right the song means whatever you interpret it as i for one am a very religious man so i deny all religious claims to all their songs and dont interpret it at all and just go past the lyrics into the actuall song i dont examine songs and pickout every meaning i just simply listen and let the song say what it will say

  16. anonymous
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    Jun 1st 2011 report

    This song switches from MJK breaking up with his fiancé to humanity

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  17. anonymous
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    Apr 20th 2011 report

    I agree with the top rated interpretation I would just like to add that this experience may not be specifically towards the experience of LSD. It touched on the voices of the religious and spiritual and how they have been screaming this for centuries. So what does the LSD experience and spirituality have in common? It is the EXPERIENCE of life that is different. We spend so much time living inside our heads, and what LSD does ( and years of expanding the consciousness) is bring you outside of your 'idea' of reality and show you it for what it is.

    science has now began exploring the realm of quantum physics and that in reality we are interconnected, that we are all one energy and that identity is a bondage not a freedom. What this song I think is eluding to is that if we begin to stretch our consciousness to really EXPERIENCE life in this way - to see everything as part of ourselves, to 'feel' that we are part of all energy and all one, that is what has been described as 'enlightenment' and also what LSD gives you a glimpses of. It releases you from your attachment from your mind for a short while so you get a peak of how you COULD experience life. The difference is that if you peruse the spiritual path, you will be able to understand WHY and CHOOSE your perception.

    "Finding beauty in the dissonance"

    dissonance in what? Dissonance between what you consider 'you' and what is not you.
    You are not your body, you are not your mind. You currently perceive it that way but when for a moment there is a experience of dissonance between you (which is all of existence) and that which is not you (body and mind) you experience that 'you' are 'everything.' Hence why LSD feels so freaking amazing.

    But imagine if you could live like that?

  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 27th 2011 report

    Something to do with communication! >:d love the song ^^.

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