What does The Patient mean?

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Tool: The Patient Meaning

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The Patient Lyrics

A groan of tedium escapes me
Startling the fearful.
Is this a test?
It has to be
Otherwise I can't go on

Draining patience
Drain vitality
This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old

But I'm still right here
Giving blood,...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    RestlessSeaOfThought
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    Jan 28th, 2006 1:44pm report


    To me, it's about waiting out the the bad times, depression in particular.

    NOTE: THIS IS WHAT THE SONG MEANS TO ME, so if you have a different view or disagree thAts fine, just don't get angry about it
    --------
    "Is this a test?
    It has to be. otherwise I can’t go on."
    You will be tested constantly throughout life, and if you know your going to be tested you can prepare and be ready.

    "Draining patience. drain vitality.
    This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act’s a little old."
    The vampire he speaks of seems to be the draining power of negative feelings that one sometime can't turn back or even keep at bay. Being unhappy drains a person both physically and mentally. The act being old refers to him being tired of constanly being drained and losing his will, but it powerless to stop it.

    "But I’m still right here, giving blood and keeping faith. and I’m still right
    Here."
    The blood he is giving might be his will to go on. His happiness, mental strength, or emotions.

    "I'm gonna wait it out.

    If there were no rewards to reap"
    But he doesn't give up since he knows there is a reward for all that he is goign through. Since he will reap the benfits of his suffering he continues to wait through it.

    "No loving embrace to see me through this tedious path I’ve chosen here,
    I certainly would’ve walked away by now."
    The loving embrace that allows him to pull through could be friends, the band, his fans, anyone who is out to help and guide him.

    "If there were no desire to heal
    The damaged and broken met along this tedious path I’ve chosen here,
    I certainly would’ve walked away by now."
    His frinds that are urgin him on may be 'damaged and broken' in a very similar way to him. He feels encouraged by the fact that he is not alone in his suffering.

    "If there were no rewards to reap"
    So his knowledge of light at the end of the tunnel and that he has help allows him to pull through his despair despite its unceasing grip upon him.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    narduzzi1120
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    May 30th, 2006 5:26am report


    I think "The Patient" is about meaning of life, and waiting for the answer. "A groan of tedium escapes me, startelling the fearful." Tedium means boredom. So he's saying that people around him are afraid to think beyond reality and consider the greater meaning. When he questions the meaning of life (a groan of tedium), the narrow minded people surrounding him don't understand and are "startelled". They don't understand that there has to be more to life.

    "Is this a test? It has to be." Hes saying that there has to be more to life, something beyond what we see as reality. And if this is it, then that sucks.

    The same connection can be made with the rest of the song. If you dissagree with this, be gentle, I'm only 14 and this is just how the song speaks to me.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    infinitepaths
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    Jan 22nd, 2006 1:13am report


    If Maynard was not open to the fact that there might be a God, then he would sing," God sucks, he really really sucks" but he is not, he sings of hope in Lateralus, anger in all, but open to all possibilities always. In his songs that seem angry and downing of God, they are misunderstood, he speaks against the people that follow and the religion itself, damn, any organizied religion is actually spoke against in the bible itself. Religion is a foundation that you live by so that you feel that you have a purpose and are working in a direction rather than not having any direction. If we knew how and exactly why we were here, then there would be no reason for disscussion. let them follow what they want, it is their faith. Whether they follow a dream, so be it. maybe we are all wrong and they are right, but you know what, we have all fallin' short of perfect, so do not point your finger with hate, have some respect for your "reflection". "What is this but my reflection? Who am I to judge and strike you down?" Get angry, but do not persecute. --Kate



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 1st, 4:00am report


    Tool songs are so intricate and geniusly vague it means the lyrics can mean something different to EVERYONE however.... The Patient definitely in my eyes is in relation to him/mother lost and struggle with faith. The lyrics reflect this also you could say addiction, abusive relationship etc but CS Lewis wrote the Screwtape letters about losing faith in god etc I wont go into the story it's a fantastic read but it's about abandoning god, struggling with faith but the subject in question is called....."The Patient"



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 4th, 2019 12:47am report


    It’s the words of a possessing demon. Waiting for the host (i.e. You, the worshipper/fan) to acknowledge and accept.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 24th, 2017 12:38pm report


    About the rest of the bandmates writing process.



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 30th, 2014 9:48am report


    This is life. We feel tested often. Would rather give up, but, we won't. If anyone else felt this seemingly empty feeling they might quit. But I won't. I'm tired and burned but I'm still here. I don't know why, but, I'm still here. I won't quit despite my better judgement. It has to get better? I won't quit!!!



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 27th, 2012 6:23pm report


    I think this song has multiple meanings, like most Tool songs, and I agree with the top three interpretations. I think it could possibly be about contemplating suicide.

    "A groan of tedium escapes me
    Startling the fearful.
    Is this a test?
    It has to be
    Otherwise I can't go on"

    The test is the hard-ships of life, and Maynard is saying if nothing good is going to come out of it, then he just shouldn't go on. (I'm not saying Maynard was suicidal. The "Narrator" of the song may be the one who is suicidal, if you know what I mean.)

    "Draining patience
    Drain vitality
    This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old

    But I'm still right here
    Giving blood, keeping faith
    And I'm still right here"

    Giving blood, keeping faith means that he/she is trusting in God, even though he/she is going through incredible hardships.

    "If there were no rewards to reap
    No loving embrace to see me through
    This tedious path I've chosen here
    I certainly would've walked away
    By now

    Gonna wait it out"

    If their was no God, or no rewards in life, or even love, he/she would have walked away because his/her life is so hard/tedious. Which in context means committing suicide.

    "If there were no desire to heal
    The damaged and broken met along
    This tedious path I've chosen here
    I certainly would've walked away
    By now"

    If there wasn't a desire to heal, he/she would have just ended their life all ready.

    "And I still may
    I still may

    Be patient
    Be patient
    Be patient"

    He/she still may live, and he/she decides they should be patient and "wait it out".

    "I must keep reminding myself of this
    I must keep reminding myself of this
    I must keep reminding myself of this
    I must keep reminding myself of this"

    He/She has to keep reminding themselves that there are still good things in life, or that there is a God, or something to that effect.

    "And I still may
    And I still may
    And I still may
    And I...

    Gonna wait it out
    Gonna wait it out
    Wait it out
    Gonna wait it out"

    He/She is going to wait for something good to happen, since their are rewards to reap in life.

    That's just what I think, and I think their are other possible meanings to this song as well.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Dec 11th, 2011 12:22am report


    I believe that this song talks about struggling to reach an objective, any objective. But, if there was no reward, no satisfaction in doing this, one would already quit.
    Of course that's what I think. Be free to critique or correct me, I'd probably thank you for that.



  10.  

    ubermensch
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    May 17th, 2011 5:57am report


    P.s isten to the song judith (his mothers name)



  11.  

    ubermensch
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    May 17th, 2011 5:54am report


    Ok this is probably maynard trying to interpret in his mind his mother psychic(as in psyche) orientation towards religion and her optimism in a situation where most would have broken already, his motheris bed ridden, and tries to find a reason through her faith for being in the pain that she is experiencing. lines like 'is this a test it? It has to be, otherwise i cant go on' and ' If there were no rewards to reap, no loving embrace to see me through, -i certainly would have walked away by now'=her belief that there is a reward for keeping faith through her suffering and being accepted into '[god's] loving embrace' is the only thing that justifies that suffering.

    -übermensch-



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 17th, 2011 2:32am report


    It's probably about his mother.



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 28th, 2011 1:29am report


    The song is spiritual, the whole album is. Its about his beliefs in gods great holieness and love etc. (not religion) and how he feels about them. But i agree with 'Tool9386' that people have different interpratations of tool songs, although they may be wrong, theyre still inspiring to those people which is whats so great about tool and real music.



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Nov 19th, 2010 11:17pm report


    To me this song means waiting for the one you love, whether, you reap your reward or you walk away from that path. The brilliant thing about Tool is that you can find a different meaning for most of their songs. This song and H. Helped me to get out of a dark place that I hope I will never visit again.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 7th, 2010 10:38am report


    Personally, I think it's about someone who is stuck in a position that they don't want to be in but is sacrificing for the greater good. You could even say it's a song from Jesus' point of view. It just seems like to me it's about taking on a burden and seeing it through to the end if it means making a bigger difference.



  16.  

    RossGarner
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    Aug 31st, 2010 8:45am report


    Personally I think the song is about Maynard's dislike for the music industry, but the band's insistence to persist on due to the positive response of their fans and the special importance many assign to them.

    "This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act's a little old."
    The first line is an apt description of the major record producers, paranoid about emerging technologies, paralyzed to respond to new developments, but still draining money from successful artists for as long as they can.

    "But I'm still right here, giving blood and keeping faith. and I'm still right
    Here."
    Despite whatever his feelings toward the his situation he's still persisting feeding the label, holding on for his own reasons, which he describes later in the song.

    "If there were no rewards to reap,
    No loving embrace to see me through this tedious path I've chosen here,
    I certainly would've walked away by now.
    And I still may. and I still may. and I still may."
    If the fans didn't support Tool in the way that they do, if the band didn't provoke the special type of response it does, then it might not be worth it. If Tool were not special in the manner that it is, Maynard would have walked away from it, left it behind.

    Another deviation in the song, is how many times Maynard uses I and me. While other lyrics from Tool use first person, this song has a personal feeling to it, the first line identifies the signer immediately and the actor never changes throughout the rest of the song Maynard sticks to the first person. This could be interpreted in a number of ways, but to me it feels like the song is not just meant to be about an individual, but about Maynard personally, telling his fans where the band is at in terms of their situation.



  17.  

    undisputedboar013
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    Aug 11th, 2010 8:31pm report


    you guys are missing an important point in maynards life; his mother was comatose. that is what the song is really about. think about it? a groan of tedium. he is obviously getting tired of this. paranoid paralyzed vampire? his mother is sucking the life out of him because he is lavishing all of his attention on her. and shes paralyzed. and he says that if there were no rewards to reap, his mothers health, he would have left by now. and he must keep reminding himself of this



  18.  

    backslider84
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    Jun 19th, 2010 6:53am report


    You are all on the right track but seeing the date on these interpretations shows me that at the time you were all uneducated about a major aspect of Maynards life that he himself never fully let his fans in on until 10000 days. The song is about his mother Judith Marie. See interpretations for Jimmy, Judith, and Wings for Marie pt 1 and 2.



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