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The name stands for Air Trees Water Animals, and is about Charles Manson's environmental movement of the same name.
One should be cautious not to read too much into Manson's motives. His main drive was to have a pack of sexually enslaved women at his disposal in the remote desert, funded by theft and robbery and enabled by drugs used for brainwashing. The rest was props: Including his music and his preaching about race relations and environmentalism. Manson did little in his lifetime to demonstrate genuine belief in any altruistic philosophy; he did much to demonstrate that he simply learned what slogan the hippies were chanting lately and then mimicked their calls to attract women who identified as hippies. The trend to try to whitewash his reputation speaks volumes about the Occupy Wall Street / Anonymous movement, heirs to the values-weakened side of Flower Power.
System guitarist Daron Malakian has an interest in Manson and wrote some of the lyrics. Charles Manson was a songwriter and environmentalist, but that stuff usually gets trumped by the fact that he's a murderer. Malakian believes the media has not portrayed all sides of Manson, and feels that some of his ideas were actually very good, especially his thoughts on the environment.
"Air, Trees, Water, Animals" is also a nod to mythological foursomes, be they the four elements, the four humors, the four axis of personality types (Myers-Briggs, Keirsey, Big Five, etc.), the four blood types in Japanese personality typing, the four seasons in the Zodiac, four corners of pyramids, and so on. The number four is given huge significance in worldwide religions as well, symbolizing the trinity plus one (mankind).
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