The song title is taken from a 1980 book by Alvin Toffler. The tome describes the transition in developed countries from Industrial Age society, which Toffler calls the "Second Wave" to Information Age "Third Wave" society. Vocalist Burton C. Bell explained: "The term was taken from the book The Third Wave. It explains the path in which the industrial complex, and its construct, initiated the path of conformity. Everyone worked for the benefit of the machine, not for themselves. The discipline begins in mass education, determining time and placement, superiors and subordinates, rank and file. Humanity has been disciplined to do the work for the machine, therefore becoming the machine."