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Third Eye by Tool

Album: AenimaReleased: 1996
  • On the studio version on the album Aenima, the band included spoken-word excerpts by the late comedian/philosopher Bill Hicks, who was also given thanks in the credits of Radiohead's album The Bends. In the live version that was included with the band's boxed set Salival, they included a different spoken-word excerpt, this time from the late Dr. Timothy Leary, famed as the LSD messiah of the '60s. (thanks, Stefano - Old Bridge, NJ)
  • Bill Hick's comedy was known for biting social commentary. He was an influence on comedians like Dennis Miller, and always spoke his mind. In a routine that influenced this song, he said that if we had a third eye to see the beauty of the universe, watching television was like spraying black paint over it.
  • Some Eastern philosophies refer to the "Third Eye." The left eye is used to see where you are going, and the right eye is used to determine what you are going to do when you get there. The third eye is the invisible eye that represents the energy to do it. (thanks, joshua matney - noble, OK)
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Comments: 53

third eye not suggestive of penis! its the pineal gland, paramathata, the sixth chkra. or seventh, in tibetan buddhism. thats also the organ sensitive to light as someone was saying. Phosphorescant desert buttons is not refering to mescaline it doesnt say he was tripping on desert buttons, it said the eye resembled one. If youve ever tripped DMT this would make total sense. Phosphoresant, the Eye, and cactus.....Nathan - San Diego, Tx
This song is not about LSD its about Peyote "Phosphorescent desert buttons" is a reference to Peyote not LSDMike - Brooklyn, Ny
This song is about LSD. referring to taking acid, it opens up your third eye when you take it. And it also forces your crown to open up, which gives you the knowledge that we are all one, and no one is different than you, not even a tree (hence the tree-hugging hippie.) and the whirring sound that fades in and out at the beginning is an effect of LSD if you've done enough. But listening to this song on LSD (from experience) is not recommended. It can cause a bad trip.

To prove this, a quote from the beginning
"Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather."
Jordan - Mansfield, Oh
OMG i don't know about anyone else, but after reading these comments I listened to the end of third eye: the "PRYING OPEN MY THIRD EYE" bit and i completly buzzed out (keeping in mind i have never been stoned). I found myself believing i could actually open my pineal gland thing right there and then. Without wanting to, my mind emptied of all thoughts, i stared into space and my breathing increased faster and faster by itself. I felt like i was about to faint just before the song finished. It took me a while afterwards to fully reflect on what happened.Jeff - Wellington, New Zealand
r.i.p bill hicks


if youve ever watched or heard bill hicks the song makes perfect since
Thy_frnicatr - Ft.worth, Tx
the meaning behind this song is on the same line as Break On Through by The Doors it is about how drugs can and will show you the world a differnt way from before you "broke on through" or "opend your third eye".Biff - Boston, Ma
people come up with the craziest interpretations for songs, I've actually seen people interpret this song as being about butt sex, hence the PRYING OPEN MY THIRD EYE! part.James - Carlisle, Pa
VVVVV I mean the song structure is indescribable and random, as discovering the truth is indescribable.James - Carlisle, Pa
I personally think that this song is about a drug trip. The song structure itself is like a drug trip; indescribable (believe me, I have extracted DXM from cough medicine before and gotten high as an alternate of actually smoking to get high, and it is just like this is).

On another note though, I believe this song, in particular, refers to what Bill Hicks is talking about when "drugs have done some good things for us". In the beginning it shows him discussing this, and later on in the song it actually explains what "good" it has done for us, such as helping us pry open our third eye.

This song I think, however, uses different references to show just what drugs what done for us, be it the Bill Hicks references or the Don Juan ones as well.
James - Carlisle, Pa
First off the Third eye is a term to describe the Pineal Gland that is located in the brain. It is the gland that in turn governs all glands, which then controls the whole body. So, the song could mean that its how the mind controls the body. What you choose to believe and how you choose to understand things will govern your body as a wholeGarrett - Birmingham, Al
Its so funny just reading how people assume what each song means, im pretty sure what everyone wrote is wrong...think for yourself and let the song mean something to you, what it meant for JMK could be different for some one else.Michelle - Pensacola, Fl
We are not who we believe we are. No one in this world has a personality because personality is a word invented by the human mind in order to understand that which is incomprehensible, just like every word you know. The simple and obvious truth is that there is no such thing as anything. Life is a dream because we have made it into many different things. Before name, before form, before identity, everything simply is. The third eye is the mind's eye, the eye that can change anything because nothing really exists. The eye has remained closed for a very long time because we use our mind too much. "Over-thinking, Over-analyzing separates the body from the mind." We believe that we are separate from everyone and everything when in truth there is no concept of separate. There is no such thing as different or same. We just are. Everything just is. You know this. We all do. We simply have just ignored it.Noname - Nowhere, Ca
i agree with Rachelle from Seattle. Great song by the way, when i listen to it i forget about whole worldMichal - Bydgoszcz, Poland
This song is about change. Transforming who you are by opening your mind to that which is all around you. When you open your "third eye" you see things in a way that your two eyes wouldn't allow. You don't even recognize your former self
==I stick my hand into his shadow
==To pull the pieces from the sand.
==Which I attempt to reassemble
==To see just who I might have been.
==I do not recognize the vessel,
Who you once were has broken and crumbled. You try to put the pieces of who you once were but don't recognize yourself. You've grown. Changed. Even the children's rhyme has changed from the begining to the end. At first you thought he who was standing before you was running away because you didn't know who or what you were looking at. After opening your third eye, you see the reality as it appears without boundaries or judgement. You are awake. Watch the video of Vicarious. The theme of change appears there as well. As does the presence of and the theme of opening one's third eye.
Ray - San Jose, Ca
Peyote is a cactus found in the desert...when taken, you have a very intense trip! After you take it...you wish you would have never taken it! Im reading The Teachings of Don Juan right now...it is one of the only books i've ever really been interested in after reading the first few pages! I suggest that all of you read it...Adam - Wauseon, Oh
My two cents... A story of someone who has an out of body experience (whether drug induced or deep meditational state - hopefully the latter), meets up with a guide, has a moment to reflect and then falls back into his human physical body with new perspective.Rachelle - Seattle, Wa
im thinkin about slidin a mile 6 inches at a time on maynards dick!!Aj - Hanover, Pa
SO YOU SAY YOU WANT IT THE AMERICAN WAY
GOD WAS JUST A FRONT AND GREED WAS A REASON TO PRAY
MEET BY MAN THEN BY GUNS SHAKE EVERY ONES HAND
THEN KILL ONE BY ONE
WE ARE MAN WE ARE THE FUTURE WE DISTROY TO MAKE THING HUGGER
WE ARE GODS WE ARE SCRIPSHERS WE ARE DEQUIES TO MAKE YOU BELIEVERS
Noah - Davenport, Ia
There is a book on the subject of the pineal gland (or the third eye)and the use of DMT to activate it.

It's called "DMT The Spirit Molecule"
By M.D. Rick Strassman
Robert - Seattle, Wa
To james from canada, Tool already wrote a song about a dick. Maynard's dick to be specific. But I agree this particular song has nothing to do with Maynard or anybody's dick.Chris - Pine Blizzy, Ar
Darryl, from Toronto is correct, if you've ever read the book you would understand tottaly. The only thing he left out was that it talks about SMOKE(Mushrooms left to concentrate for a year) It says chasing a trail of smoke and reason. Carlos talks about how he has to paths, either one led by dakura or one led by the smoke. Only one of them can be is ally. The smoke eventually leads to clarity oppose to dakura which leads to POWER. Also i think when he sayd why are you running away hes reffering to how he ran away from being an apprentice at the end of the first book. He then is so glad to see Don Jaun again when he comes back because he knows that it is his only path. Also the realtionship bettween aprentice and teacher is very strong, so he proubably was longing to see him again.Cole - Winnipeg, Canada
I played basketball in the universe listening to that song...fcuking mad song...what do u think he meant when he said "Came out to watch you play...why are you running away..." think abt it...(note that he has done alot i mean ALOT of acid as well)Thant - Los Angeles, Ca
The third eye is open to interpitation, for different religions it has different meanings. Ok. Simple as that, but it is about open mindedness. I.E. opening your eye to what is really happening in todays society. Beyond what is visible by the general public. The demonics and angelics. Or what ever u want to believe that i mean, but open your eye, and u gain power to see things differently.Kevin - Independence, Mo
I have a feeling that this song is about drugs like Peyote as some of u say, although u have to look deeper into the meaning. Prying open the third eye is a ceremony. it is a chakra. an energy wheel. Prying it open means that u are making the energy it creates always present, and when you open the third eye (or any chakra) you gain a power. In the third eye's case you get the power to see the dead literrally. MANY MANY people use hallucinogenic drugs such as shrooms or Peyeote/Mescaline/Mescalito to help them with Astral Projection (read post for Parabola) or meditation. This song is about using drugs and hallucinogenics to FUEL the prying open the third eye. If anybody hasn't seen that just search "Third Eye" on google. and ZeroSerj "The third eye...I'm sure that's suggestive of the penis? One of Tool's most widely used images." you are about the biggest moron on the planet. Why would tool write a song about a dick. Think of Maynard's writing style people! god!James - Victoria, Canada
"A child's rhyme stuck in my head.
It said that life is but a dream.
I've spent so many years in question
to find I've known this all along."
Kevin - Independence, Mo
people take the commentary and base it solely on bill hicks, actually i believe its influenced by him, but mainly about how the world views drugs and how they need to see it from a different eye. such as the line "It's not a war on drugs, it's a war on personal freedom is what it is, okay?. Keep that in mind at all times, thank you" is about the "war on drugs" that seems to be ongoing. and if you listen to the song, its very experimental, not comical. and uses alot of effects used in psychodellica rock.Dan - Santa Clarita, Ca
Okey Dokey, let me clear this up for all of you who still dont know. There are several rumors that a big huge important guy in the music indestry left his band, because he, "found jesus". Please stop thinking it is maynard, because it is not. it was actually, "head" from koRn. and both korn and tool are still together. the lead guitar player from Otep took over the spot on koRn and both bands have a new album on the way. Once again, maynard did not leave tool. so dont panic, he is actually, recording a new tool album as we speek.Kevin - Indepence, Mo
Sweet, now I have something to read over the summer. I always loved the song just because of the way it sounds (the lyrics, the way it goes up and down in mood, and there is something about Adams solo that just sounds so satisfying) and of course I understand the sybolism behind the third eye but I never knew the song took its imagry from a book, which I now must read.

Btw...The Mars Volta are indeed excellent, I just saw them in Philly 3 weeks ago, they did a very good show, although they could have cut some time off of the crazy breakdowns they do because although they are cool they are very ambient sitting in your room stoned kind of breakdowns and they didn't really belong in a concert setting....yes they are very deep but in a different way they are more about the crazy and the abstract and I'll be damned if half the songs make sense without a latin, spanish and english dictionary handy... TOOL seems to be more about strange refernces and interpretations.
Chris - Highland Park , Nj
lol yes my bad, i feel like a fool for believing itMel - Sydney, Australia
This didn't happen to be an April Fool joke, did it?Amanda - Memphis, Tn
OMG have you people heard yet that Maynard has left tool because hes "found jesus". if u dont believe me check it out at toolband.com... THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFEMel - Sydney, Australia
i thought tool was the most intense, complex band ever to make it...then i got introduced to The Mars Volta & i neva thought id say it but i think theyre more complex than Tool althoguh no where near as good & there's no way id chose ne band over TooL.But Mars Volta are awesome... Are there anyother Mars Volta fans????Mel - Sydney, Australia
Oh, I forgot to add (for all you skeptics) that Peyote is a cactus (in case you didn't know), and found in the desert (duh). To help all of you that may read my post and want to compare it to the lyrics, I'll make it easy on you...

(Bill Hicks rants about this... yes Aenima was dedicated to him, RIP).

Dreaming of that face again - It's bright and blue and shimmering (READ THE BOOK!!!)

Grinning wide and comforting me with his three warm and wild eyes.

On my back and tumbling... down that hole and back again... rising up and wiping the webs and the dew from my withered eye (You would too after tripping hard on Peyote).

(this isn't IN - OUT - IN - OUT)

I believe he says "STAY A-WAY, STAY OUT" (or something similar - refer to Swamp Song).

A child's rhyme stuck in my head...
It says that "life is but a dream"...
I've spent so many years in question
To find I've known this all along.

So good to see you
I've missed you so much
So glad it's over
I've missed you so much

Came out to watch you play
Why are you running away?
Came out to watch you play
Why are you running?

Shrouding all the ground around me
is this holy crow above me
black as holes within a memory
blue as our new second sun

(Don Juan can turn himself into a Crow (raven) and teaches Carlos to do so as well. The new second sun is a symbolic refernce to the alternate reality that Carlos experiences while he's tripped out.)

I stick my hand into the shadows
and pull the pieces from the sand
which I attempt to reassemble
to see just who I might have been

I do not recognize the vessel
but the eyes seem so familiar
like phosphorescent desert buttons
singing one familiar song...

(READ THE BOOK!!!! This is where he asks Mescalito about his father "TO SEE JUST WHO I MIGHT HAVE BEEN.... EYES SEEM SO FAMILIAR" (good call in a way Mike from St. Catherines...and of course, the buttons... PEYOTE.. and the trip...)

SO GOOD TO SEE YOU
I'VE MISSED YOU SO MUCH
SO GLAD IT'S OVER
I'VE MISSED YOU SO MUCH

CAME OUT TO WATCH YOU PLAY
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY?
I CAME OUT TO WATCH YOU PLAY
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY?!?!?!?

PRYING OPEN MY THIRD EYE...

(Yes, he doesn't have a great trip for the most part, but he's eagre to know more.. "So glad it's over" and "I've missed you so much". Could be reference to seeing Don Juan again [after waking up], but I imagine it's more about Chasing Mescalito [as he does on a few occasions]...)

So good to see you once again
I thought that you were hiding
You thought that I had run away
Chasing the tail of dogma

I opened my eye and there we were...

So good to see you once again
I thought that you were hiding from me
You thought that I had run away
Chasing the trail of smoke and reason

(At a few points in this book Carlos just wants to go home and get away from the craziness... I won't spoil the ending)

PRYING OPEN MY THIRD EYE

(and that he does!)
Darryl - Toronto, Canada
If anyone is still reading this post... and has made their way aaalll the way to the bottom... let me set the record STRAIGHT for all of you. Yes, many of the prior posts have -touched- on the basis of this song, but nobody has quite hit the nail on the head. May I refer you to a book by Carlos Castenda: "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge". For those of you that will never pick up a good book (and this is a great book for all you Tool lovers) I will give you a quick synopsis... Man studies herbs, man meets Mexican Indian sage, man studies the effects of 'sorcery' and drug use with said sage... 'true' story. This song is about Peyote usage, mainly (among a few other strange mixtures)... not LSD, not eastern indian chakra opening or meditation methods... but yes, PRYING open the Third Eye (yes, the Pineal gland for all you scientists... look into the Merkaba if you're really that interested). Have you ACTUALLY listened to the song before? Have you heard of the "Holy Crow", "Pull the pieces from the SAND" or the "phosphorescent desert buttons"? (yes, they call Peyote "buttons", and they GLOW in the desert moonlight) "So good to see you, I thought you were hiding..."? All reference to Peyote and the 'teacher' Carlos Casteneda met (and came to chase) while tripping on Peyote... his name? No, it wasn't Don Juan, he just introduced him. That strange person that Maynard talks about... "Came out to watch you play... why are you running away?!" That being is known as Mescalito. He is the teacher and the ally that Carlos meets on his many trips into the realm of the Third Eye (with the help of Peyote). READ THE BOOK!!!!!! This entire song will make sense at LONG LAST.Darryl - Toronto, Canada
I think this song is actually about a father's relationship with his son. Its about the father who takes drugs and his son is scared of him and embarassed by him ("came out ot watch you play, why are you running away"). The "third eye" represents the feeling he gets when he's high. But the father is trying to change his lifestyle, but he keeps going in and out of his addiction. Hes trying to decide between this "third eye", or his relationship with his kid. At the end, he tries to have both, when he's prying open his third eye, instead of going the easy way and using drugs to get it. Anyway, thats my opinion, hope it makes sence to everyone else.Mike - St. C, Canada
and u know i think this may be what maynard wanted people to unite and talk about music and have our own opinions to what songs are about and to discuss and share our opinions with other people who share the same views or beliefsJames - Australia, Australia
a agree totally with Jonathon, Monticello, FLJames - Australia, Australia
It's most likly talking about the opening of your 6th shakra which allows you to see the unity of everything. It's not talking about doing how its meant to be, by meditation, but by PRYING it open with Drugs when you wern't ready for it. This, I believe, is what led Maynard to form this band. Because he Pryied open his third eye now he is a TooL and will help humans achive unity through making our love a fear become one. Because his eye has been pryied open, he must use a negitive energy to do this. what drives Maynards lyrics is the need to achive 40 six & 2. Music is just a TooL.Jake - Miami, Fl
The song is saying that there are all these ways to open your third eye and to see the world from a different angle.
Some may choose to use drugs, others religion.
'Prying open my third eye' is his message to the listener that we must do the same, We must open our Third Eye by any means nessicary and experience the world from a new perspective.
Jonathon - Monticello, Fl
well its a great song.......Tony - Madison Heights, Mi
"prying open my third eye" means opening your third eye unnaturaly with ......I think



WWW.DANSHOMEPAGE.TK
Tony - Madison Heights, Mi
This song is not about LSD...the "Third Eye" can be opened in any one of a million ways. It just so happened that in the 1930s, a German scientist (Albert Hoffmann) synthesized a chemical which greatly improved one's chances of opening that proverbial eye. I believe that Maynard isn't necessarily condoning drug use; simply urging everyone to "think outside the box."Jonathan - Burton, Mi
Melatonin is the part of the brain effected by light and it is found in the pineal gland.Denise - Long Beach, Ca
There is away to view yourself and all of human kind subjectively, throught the use of the mind altering drug; LSD. You can see the greater picture of things, without biased views, without influences, without the bases of our senses. This opens up a greater view point, from a different angle, to see yourself and other actually for the first time, and understand things you never would have thought about before. It basically unclouds your mind. Metaphorically this is the 3rd eye.Jon - Frederick, Md
the quote in the beggining is bill hicks saying "...we are all one consciousness, experiencing itself subjectivly", not we are all GodBrian - Mayfield Heights, Oh
There is actually an area of our brain (i forget the name of it) which is sensitive to light, is linked to SADs (Seasonal Affective Disorders) and is nicknamed our "third eye".Brian - Mayfield Heights, Oh
In the opening of the song Maynard talks about drugs and how most artist use drugs.This whole song is a 13 min acid trip.Ernest - Oklahoma City, Ok
I actually agree with the other guys here. its all one trippy explanation that when you dont "open your third eye" there are consequences and quite well. i heard once that all an OD is a block of the third eye ( and massive nerve cell loss especially with pain killers). but ill say myself i practice many of the same beliefs as the band ( the unicursal hexagram is danney's thing) and the equillibrium setup of my drums helps( and no im not the kinda guy that busts out the sword everynow and then ihavent quite figured that out yet) but a third eye is just a major refernce to the exposure of the brain to something new . . .Ben - Clemmons, Nd
In the song it talks of dreaming and i think maybe that "prying open my third eye" may refer to awakening and becoming aware that the world maybe seen differently through all that sort of meditation stuff.Nathan - Gold Coast, Australia
Actually, the third eye is one of the bodies Chakras which are opened through Kundalini, a form of psionics. The third eye is what senses the aura of another person and what allows you to focus on things such as meditation and transendentialism.Anonymous
The third eye...I'm sure that's suggestive of the penis? One of Tool's most widely used images.Zeroserj - Cambs, England
opening your Third Eye with psycadelics.Undisclosed - New York City, Ny
Bill hicks inspired 3 of tool's songs: this one, eulogy and aenima. this song was based on hicks' theories and ideas.Nico - Bay St Lawrence, Canada