Parabola
by Tool

Album: Lateralus (2001)

Songfacts®:

  • Because of the mathematical nature of a lot of the songs on Lateralus, they are speaking of the number Phi, which is considered The "divine proportion" -1.618. This proportion is found all over nature: In bee hives, snail shells... even the human body. Phi was derived from the Fibonacci sequence - a progression famous not only because the sum of adjacent terms = the next term, but because the quotients of adjacent terms possessed the property of approaching 1.618.
    A few examples:
    In a honey bee community the female bees always outnumber the male bees. No matter what, in any beehive in the world if you divide the number of female bees by the male bees you always get 1.618... Phi.
    Sea shells... the ratio of each spiral's diameter to the next = Phi.
    Pine cone petals, leaf arrangement on plant stalks, insect segmentation... the human body.
    Da Vinci was known for his love of the divine proportion - "The Vitruvian Man" was one of many. It has been proven that the human body itself is made of building blocks whose proportional ratios = Phi. If you take and measure the distance from the tip of your head to the floor, then divide that by the distance from your belly button to floor, you get Phi. Shoulder to finger tip then elbow to finger tip... Phi.
    It is found in architectural dimensions of the Greek Parthenon, the pyramids of Egypt. Mozart's sonatas, Beethoven's 5th Symphony, etc, etc, etc.
    This is one of the main reasons Pagans worship mother earth - this proportion was used in everything at the beginning of time. One of the perfect examples of Phi is the 5 pointed star, pentagram - or pentacle. This symbol is thought to be magical and divine by many cultures, the ratios of line segments in a pentacle = PHI. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tara - San Diego, CA
  • Trip-Hop artist Tricky is the main subject of the video. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James - Dartmouth, Canada

Comments: 65

  • Lmn from EarthEveryone is correct on this but.. it’s also about his mother ... let’s not forget
  • Rodger Waters Great Grand Niece from Jonesville England What if he's wrong
  • Fi'zi from OhioLook into Eastern Orthodox funeral/vesper chants. Memory eternal. Maynard is extremely well educated.
  • Dewayne from EnglandParabol=Satellite dish i.e the body
    Parabola=Perfect angle i.e mind/soul

    The song is not arguing a point, its just presenting 2 viewpoints: Belief and non belief in an eternal soul/afterlife/higher purpose
  • Isaac from Tallahassee, FlIf you graph the syllables of the chorus, it actually makes a parabola.

    This body - 3
    This body holding me - 6
    Be my reminder here that - 7
    I am not alone in - 6
    This body - 3
    This body holding me - 6
    Feeling eternal - 5
    All this pain is an illusion - 8

    This would make the following sequence:

    3 6 7 6 3 6 5 8

    By making these numbers into ordered pairs, you get:

    (3,6) (7,6) (3,6) (5,8)

    Since (3,6) is replicated, you remove one of the two so that the ordered pairs are only (3,6), (7,6), and (5,8).

    Graph those points, and you should have a parabola.
  • Dallas from Temecula, CaThe song has a lot to do with math but not PHI so much. The graph of a parabola has two focal points; one occurring at a finite point on the Cartesian coordinate plane, and the other occurring at infinity. This is why most searchlight and flashlight optics are constructed in a parabolic shape. This is a metaphor for the duality of human existence; we exist in the finite world while simultaneously existing at infinity.
  • Novus Ordo Seclorum from Hutchinson, Ksaccept the truth, no matter what its source
  • Alec from New Orleans, LaBravo Mike, you f--king nailed it. A+
  • Callie from Madison, InI love this song and because I am Christian, I think think this song is about how the reason we cannot use 100% of our brains is because "this body holding us" keeps us from finding our true purpose,notice at the end of the video the spirit of the alien guy turns into what looks like electricity, meaning that there is a current for life and that if you know that when you die, you will be a part of that current. you realize that all pain is an illusion and that you are only mortal because of the body holding you back from divinity. notice it says "this one, this form i hold now" this shows that humanity and mortality is not all we are made to endure. we are not meant to be stuck in this parable of life forever.
    - thought of this while higher than high... so don't judge XD
  • Kevin from Yucaipa, CaFirst of all I just have to say that the whole Phi thing is fascinating. All i have to say is that in the beginning of the parabola video, one of the humanoids cut the apple in half revealing that inside, the apple seeds form a pentagram, hexagram, and finally a pentagram. There is a connection made between Tool and the occult, as it is a belief in theirs that the knowledge of the universe is contained within one apple cut horizontally, as portrayed in the video; the seeds make a pentagram. Danney Carey has a "deep interest in and understanding for the magical arts and sciences, among them various occult teachings".
  • Mike from Calgary, AbTo me this song is tied to Lateralus, you are all talking about the video here, which is great. But the band has repeatedly stated the videos and the lyrics are often not related. Parabola is about the two sides of a dichotomy, hence the name. The two sides are how one can live their life, and how to deal with one specific side. The two options are to live life in the illusions, believing that pain is real and that our actions hold some inherent meaning to some illusory deity. The second side of reality is living in the present moment, to realize that even though there is no god that you are not alone, your body reminds you that you are alive, that you are human. We are not alone because we have each other, that is Parabola. Recognize this life as a gift, ride the spiral of new experiences and don't waste this gift while you wait for something that does not exist. It's how to be a fully realized atheist connected to a spirituality of humanity and the present.
  • Jared from Volga, WvMr. Jason from Kansas city, what you say there is quite interesting. The reason being one day i was doodling on some notebook paper while listening to the song. I drew a picture of the earth with a parabola sitting right on top of it. Thinking about the lyrics to the song i then thought to myself... Hmm I think i understand now.

    I completely agree.
  • Sean from Spearfish, SdTo really understand just about anything by tool you need to understand the sort of buddhist/entheogenic mindset they constantly come from. They are also very talented progressive, aka prog, rock bands like pink floyd or porcupine tree, which basically means they dont stick to one or two scales or simple music theory but rather have complicated compositions that sort of write scales out of scales, songs out of songs, like using a scale or arpeggio or w.e in the place of a note, sort of, thats the best explanation I can manage, and so its not surprising they are into math to a certain degree as well. In parabola I believe you see a combination of these mathematical and entheogenic/buddhist ideas, and the line "all this pain is just and illusion" directly comes from buddhist philosophy.

    So my explanation of the video is that in the beginning there are the three "suits", one takes out and apple and cuts it, then they rise up and spew black junk from their mouths making a circle, from which a star and hands expand. This seems to be about god, the trinity, manipulating the universe to create the big bang, to create the world out of black lies spewing from His mouths. Then there is a man, basically adam, and the little muse or devil or w.e that keeps him in the gray room, similar to the one god was in, and he wonders at the little nature he can see, then he opens his mind and a floating ball appears and kills the little muse thing, the man examines it but then goes outside and sees the ball following him and growing, then he picks up a leaf and it turns into a fire and eyes that spread through his body and up until it makes a third eye, then infinite eyes and then only beams of light and then only light. This is about the man being trapped in the illusion of the world, the illusion of pain and suffering, of the impermanence of the material world, then he opens his mind and this new sort of catalyst, this open mindedness, kills the agent of god who has perpetrated this illusion. Then the man is free from religion, and goes into the world as his open mindedness grows, but it is made of the same material illusion, he then leaves it behind, sees the true nature of reality and goes through the stages of enlightenment until his ego, his self merges with the mass consciousness. The name parabola refers to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle which supports the idea that this world is an illusion, that we are a mass energy that somehow twisted into the illusion of this universe, and tool seems to suggest the creation of all this illusion, all this pain and suffering is god, or at least the idea thereof, of religion and government. I'm not saying I agree with everything they say, and I'm not saying I disagree with all of it either, but the symbolism and the bands relationship with alex gray along with the lyrics and title all point to this.
  • Andrew from Iowa City, IaI think the truely interseting thing about tool is that our interpretations of the songs say more about us than they do about tool. you learn more about how people think and feel reading these interpretation than you do about the song itself. its brilliant.
  • Timmy from Mukilteo, Wamaynard keenan and danny carey are genius'. enough said.
  • Donald from Springfield, MoInteresting thing: the golden ratio talked about has a function of f(x)=(x^2)-x-1, which so happens to take on the shape of a parabola. These guys are geniuses! I just got into them like 2 days ago and bought Undertoe and Lateralus the day after. When you graph the function, on the positive x axis the graph has an x-intercept of the golden ratio 1.6180339887499... On the left side of the graph, negative axis, the x intercept is .6180339887499... which is 1-(sqrt(5))/2 or 1-1.6180339887499... Whenever you solve for x there are two answers. Whenever you take the squareroot of a function you will have a negative and positive answer. Omega omicron omega factorial (WOW!) I love math can you tell?!
  • Gitty from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI just wanted to comment that "parabola" in spanish also stands for jesus's stories...
    Any way this song for me is about growing exponentialy and finaly reaching growth and a new level, wich gives everything a new sence.
  • Alex from Beech Grove, InI believe this song is about an 'eternal' soul going through many many lives. 'Familiar parable' familiar story/tale. 'Spinning, weaving round each new experience' meaning reincarnation.
  • Torrey from Florissant, Moobviously about your eternal spirit
  • James from San Clemente, CaWell, much like any tool song, this has multiple meanings depending on the person and the mood.

    To me, as i listen to this song now and read these lyrcs in front of me...

    It's a very happy song. I'll take the lyrics as the stand to me. This chance to be alive and breathing. It's a song about the joys of life. Especially when you share it with someone special; "This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality. Embrace this moment, we are eternal", and how we shouldn't focus on the bad, but the good. "All this pain is an illusion."----Well, that's what I got from this song, this time.
  • Austin from Charlotte, Ncthe songs not on a 7-string its written in the dropped B/E tuning
  • Alec from Lemont Furnace, Palove the vocals,guitar,and drums in this song goes really well together
  • Nate from Provo, Utthis song has a wierd ass video. this is like the only song adam jones uses a 7 string. Go mormans!
  • Matt from Auburn, Wathis song is supposedly enspired by the bands experience with a substance known as n- dymethyltriptomine or "DMT" for short. in fact there is a sort of official web site for the substance. this site will explain what i am talking about and even show you the video!!

    www.divinemomentsoftruth.com
  • Jason from Kansas City, MoI think the song deals with similar subject matter as Bob Frissell's books. It's suggested reading on Danny Carey's website, and I assume the rest of the band would at least know of it, if not have read it themselves. To me, the song talks about our souls, immortal and eternal, and how we choose to live a life on the physical plane in a mortal body to have the experience. I think the title of the song comes from the play on the word "parable" and the imagery of a parabola, how the descending and ascending archs are the soul leaving and reentering a higher plane of conscious and the bottom of the curve is our infinitely short, literally one point on a graph, time having this physical experience. With the "parable" wordplay, the parable (a short story used to teach a lesson or a moral) here is that our time here in this physical plane is to teach us something, and that our immortal essence is enriched when we leave our physical bodies and ascend again.
  • Spog Zallagi from Blue Hill, MeNot my FAV Tool song but definitely a good one. I especially the long and soft intro, Parabol.
  • Mathew from San Antonio, Txlol i like some of the interpretaions but i have to say this song is about
    staying with intetion and dr.wayne dyers says.

    it means we all going to die at one point but that we should be greatfull for life and see death ass a divne plan like the person that dies will be at a better place like the universe
  • John from Weston, MoSweet Jesus this is an amazing song! First of all, if any of you have seen the music video, you'd know parabol is the introductory sequence for parabola. When I first really listened to this song (while incredibly high) I came to some enlightening conclusions about this universe and this so called "reality." My interperetation: (The wonderful thing about this song is that it can be interpereted so many different ways. Also, keep in mind that this is only one interperetation of this song. My words may be meaningless. Remember, you can never truly "know" something.)

    First of all, here's the song in it's entirety:

    So familiar and overwhelmingly warm
    This one, this form I hold now.
    Embracing you, this reality here,
    This one, this form I hold now, so
    Wide eyed and hopeful.
    Wide eyed and hopefully wild.

    We barely remember what came before this precious moment,
    Choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside...
    This body holding me, reminding me that I am not alone in
    This body makes me feel eternal. All this pain is an illusion.


    We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment,
    We are Choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside...
    This holy reality, this holy experience. Choosing to be here in...

    This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
    This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion.

    This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
    This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion.


    Swirling round with this familiar parable.
    Spinning, weaving round each new experience.
    Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this
    chance to be alive and breathing
    chance to be alive and breathing.

    This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality.
    Embrace this moment. Remember. We are eternal.
    All this pain is an illusion.

    Now here is my interpretation:

    (So familiar and overwhelmingly warm
    This one, this form I hold now.
    Embracing you, this reality here,
    This one, this form I hold now, so
    Wide eyed and hopeful.
    Wide eyed and hopefully wild.)

    We are but children. We see the universe in a hopelessly naive way. We have constructed an idea of what is (reality) with our incredibly limited perceptions. We hold on to these perceptions as we would hold on to someone we love, not willing to let go of the familiar. We find hope in things like religion, science, and mathematics, trying to find comfort by pretending to know something. We are wide eyed (naive) and hopefully wild (Our actions are inherintly chaotic and do not follow any sort of logical pattern.)

    (We barely remember what came before this precious moment,
    Choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside...
    This body holding me, reminding me that I am not alone in
    This body makes me feel eternal. All this pain is an illusion.)

    How old is the universe? We like to think we can trace the origin of all matter to a specific beginning, but what came before that? There is no way for us to know. Perhaps our existence is merely a choice. Descartes did say "I think therefore I am." I exist because I think I exist. Yet there is comfort in those around us. Other people, other bodies, other minds, all equally naive and clueless of the world around them-this is what true equality is.
    And it all happens to be an eternal existence. The human body can be broken down into infinitely tiny particals, just as it is an infinitely small particle of yet another infinitely huge universe.

    (We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment,
    We are Choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside...
    This holy reality, this holy experience. Choosing to be here in...)

    This existence is but a single moment in time. After this life is another, and yet another, continuing on through infinity. Hold on to this life, this experience, as we are only allowed to experience it once. That is what makes it holy.

    (This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
    This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion.)

    At this point the speaker calls for a reminder that he is not alone in his ignorance. Those around us know little more than we do. In this way we are one.


    (This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
    This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion.)

    Basically this is all a repitition of the previous themes in the song, but with emphasis again on the illusion of our existence.

    (Swirling round with this familiar parable.
    Spinning, weaving round each new experience.
    Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this
    chance to be alive and breathing
    chance to be alive and breathing.)

    Try to realize that this life is an incredible holy gift, that each little moment, each tiny fragment of life is an experience, and that experience is holy. Be thankful for life.

    (This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality.
    Embrace this moment. Remember. We are eternal.
    All this pain is an illusion.)

    We are but mortals. This life is very fragile and unstable. That is why we should hold on to it and do everything in our power to make it as good as we can. We only have one chance at this particular experience, and we need to realize this. We need to overcome our fear, our pain, all negative thought and emotion. Only then will we be truly living, truly experiencing the gift of this one unique life, this single existence.


    So that's what I got from this song. It was gratifying experience that I am truly grateful for. And Agony from Roswell, I am truly sorry you don't enjoy the beginning of Parobola, the transition between the two songs nearly made me cream my pants last night.


    Peace and Joy!
  • Cisco M.f. from Andover, NjNo No No, Sorry it's about Anal Sex.
  • Abe from La Crosse, WiThe first "Songfact" really doesn't apply to this song. It should actually be on the page for the song Lateralus since Phi is related to the Fibonacci Series, which is followed by all instruments on that track (including MJK's lyrics). Parabola seems more or less to be about the connection of the mind (spiritual world) and body (physical world). This "holy experience" being life as we know it. "Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this, Chance to be alive and breathing" is also quite obviously referring to life. The references to being mortal apply to our physical self while being eternal probably refers to our mind and the spiritual world.
  • Chris from Richmond, VaThis is more about the cd, but I think the prevailing idea of the cd is that of disunion but at the same time, connection. For instance, a schism is a division, esp. in MUTUALLY OPPOSED parties. connected but disconnected. Lateral has a definition meaning a position that is DIFFERENT but EQUIVALENT. coincidence? A parabola that's vertex is at the origin (0,0) is DISSECTED by the y-axis and every point has another point on the OPPOSITE side that is EQUIDISTANT from the y-axis. a reflection is the same. The object being reflected is the COMMON GROUND, but sides appear DISTORTED and DIFFERENT in a reflection. A mantra is REPEATED and I'm pretty sure in Hindu, it is to a HIGHER and SEPARATE being. Ticks and leeches are SIMILAR in the idea that they suck your blood, but they are DIFFERENT animals.
  • Pat from Brookfield, Ohthis song doesnt really seem to have a whole lot to do with numbers. yes it shares the name with a algebraic curve but the song itself isnt related to a cartesian plane. this song appears to be one of tools genuine love songs not a song with a hidden treasure map imbedded within its lyrics if a few calculations are done
  • Ema from H.q, HiWhat are you all on about?
    True this song is great but here you are giving it such a deep philosophical astrological bla bla meaning.
    The song is confusing true, but it is merely about sex. Not that bad sex. No, plus no sex is bad but this is making it seem beautiful, showing the spirituality in it. How when two formes merg time becomes eternal. This one, this form, is the woman.. "stay inside" is because they are one...

    anyway Hear the beauty, then listen to it with ur hearts, not your brains.
    C u.
  • Chris from Monticello, KyI saw the song in a mathematical terminology standpoint and in a spiritual standpoint. Which the more and more I read into metaphysics, the two, no matter how opposite they seem (math and spirituality), might be very close together after all. As Dae stated, if a parabola is centered at zero then you can see two parts (symmetrical over the vertical axis). This to me represents the spirit and the body, the body will die, yet the spirit is eternal, henceforth the line. "This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal, All this pain is an illusion."
  • Stephen from Park City, UtI would also like to add my interpretation fo the song Schism while I'm here since the two interpretations are related in ways. I believe that the artists that make up Tool have perhaps read a book similar to That Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life due to their lyrics. I believe that schism is a song, the video only backs up and supports this, about the unity of humankind and how we go through stages. (I really suggest reading the previously mentioned book) We go through three stages, a state of oneness, then a state of brokenness, and then a state of final unity. This final unity is our evolved and perfect being, as the two figures become in the end of the music video. It shows, I believe, that the two are more powerful together by showing the raging fire. I believe this song and video simply follow the path we take to this state, not instructions, just a simple overview. Please keep in mind that these are only personal beliefs and contemplations...
  • Stephen from Park City, UtI may be only 14 but I have explored and observed much in my short life. My personal theory behind this song, although it is only a personal interpretation, is that this song is about our journey through life outside the oneness of God. To me, this song is about us choosing to live human lives on earth and stray away from the oneness of God. It is about how our human bodies are simply a way of communication and understanding between eachother, showing that we are together in this decision to live here. And in the end, is all about how we truely are eternal and there is life after death....after human death, we join the oneness of God once again. I believe the beginning is about us not remember our decision to leave this oneness. When he speaks of this holy body and experience as well as alive and breathing, I believe he speaks of our decision to come to live in these human bodies if only for a short while and live in this gift of God that we are given.
  • April from Elizabethton, Tni believe that we are all right. Tool has no particular meaning to their songs. You have to listen and interpreiate what the songs mean to you. And of course that is different for everyone. I like to think that this song is about sex, the beauty of it. And the beauty of having someone that you truely love and share your life, body, mind and soul with. But that is just me. Maynard had something in mind when he wrote this song but we'll probably never know what the true meaing is. Maynard's songs are layered in meaning. Like I said It means something different to everyone. Open your mind and soul when you listen to TOOL they truely are the best band.
    -APRIL,Elizabethton,TN
  • Job from Philadelphia, PaPhi is also called the "Golden Ratio", I believe, and if you were to dissect Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" you would find a set of golden rectangles. The song Parabola does indeed seem to be the end of the song Parabol, the names even suggest that it is so--Parabol, being physically in name, part of Parabola, or similar to the word parabole, which is a comparison.
  • Geo from Worcester, MaParabol and parts of Parabola could also be talking about love... "this body holding me" could mean someone else's body holding you as opposed to your body holding your spirit -- not saying it does, but it could.
    in the live show, those weird naked walkers from the Schism video came out during Sch., and for Parabol/Parabola were hanging by their feet from a trapeze spinning slowly. i think (it was a while ago, so i'm not sure) that they are hanging w/ their arms out in a sort of upside-dwn crucifix... any ideas what this part of the live show might have to do w/ the song?
  • Hugo from Glendale, AzI have listened to the first song out of the two that go together being "parabol" and have any of u had the feeling that he is talking about his child because he says "So familiar
    And overwhelmingly warm
    This one, this form I hold now
    Embracing you, this reality here
    This one, this form I hold now
    So wide-eyed and hopeful
    Wide-eyed and hopefully wild"
    it makes me think about him holding hos child and looking it its eyes "
  • James from Victoria, CanadaWhen Maynard says "Every song is about Anal Sex", He obviously doesn't mean it. He just really doesn't want to give the meaning of the song away. It is up to US!! If he came out and just said "oh this song is about____!!" then that would just kill the whole song and the interesting part of Tool. Everybody has their own connwction and meaning, it would be a horrible catastrophy if tool just came out with all their Song meanings. I bet Tool think that people look too deep in Song meanings ;). Just keep this post in mind.
  • Justin from Kearney, Nei believe that the album lateralus as a whole is about self relization. in the sense that this cd makes you look deeper into your self. when you look into the music you will see what you are intended to see and nothing else. if one is not ready for a sertan message then they will recieve an alternat message that is really their. This album is very layered with what it portrays. its ment for all but its true gift is given to few.
  • Ben from Lincolnshire, England"( and tool was more of a lachromolgy band before maynard even did the lateralus album )"

    Ah, another sheep falls prey to Tool's equivocations..

    Tool were *never* a Lachrymology band - in fact, Lahcrymology does not exist. Tool claim that their inspiration for music was founded by a book written by a farmer who lost his wife - the subject of the book was allegedly healing pain through crying, and thus the writer called it Lachrymology.

    This book has ever been found.

    Tool say a lot of things that are complete rubbish just so that their "fans" will began to spout it around as you have just done.

    The great thing about Tool's music is that it is open to interpretation..although I'm sure Maynard gets kicks out of reading some of them..

    "an oddity here, actually about Reflection: the song is 11:06 long. 11 times sixty is 660, plus the six is 666."

    Reflection is actually 11:07 long, but okay, I'll bite..Where are you getting the 60 from? White Zombie's "Starface" is 5:02 long. 5(5x5x2x2)+(5x2)+2(5x5)+(5x2)x(5x2)+(2x2)+2 = 666.

    Coincidence?
    ..You tell me.
  • George from Chicago, Ilhmmm...

    Yes tool deffinetly is into metaphysics but this song has more to do with just metaphysics...

    ( and tool was more of a lachromolgy band before maynard even did the lateralus album ) but then he dropped the idea of lachromology and picked up the idea of new sort of music.

    Tool specializes in what i geuss u would call "smart music." they have a tendancy to out wit all other music.

    I geuss all i can say is what maynard says...

    "Every song is about anal sex"

    hmmm... how can we make the into something the perverses into anal sex?
  • Sean from Milwaukee, WiAll spelling mistakes are ... ofcoarse ... intentional
  • Sean from Milwaukee, Wi- James, Victoria, Canada
    I couldnt agree with you more. Tool is defiently into metephysics. And if anyone has ever been to an astral plane. You really dont remember who or what came before this precious moment. And you really feel that you are eternal.... There is no other explination for this phenomonon.. And like you said 1 little distraction and you are out of the astral plane. So you keep telling yourself to hold on... stay inside.... I also agree with you that 3rd eye is about the "teachings of Dan Waun" I red that book years ago and thought the same thing ever since!
  • James from Victoria, CanadaI honestly believe this song is about astral projection; the ability to have your soul leave your body. "Twirling arund with this faniliar parable" may refer to chirstianity and how "It is the only true religion". "We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment,
    We are choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside
    This holy reality, this holy experience.
    Choosing to be here" Is choosing the view of astral travel and how amazing it is, and it is true. The Hold on part is saying that continue because in the process of splitting, any distractions are a failure. "This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
    This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal
    All this pain is an illusion" is figuring out that you can do it and that having the pain of staying in it until you die isn't a burden to bare. "Be my reminder here that I am not alone" how there are other entities in the Astral. "Spinning, weaving round each new experience.
    Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing." refers to every time you go in the Astral something exciting/cool happens and that you Know it is real.

    Now I believe that the Parabol is the begining and the transition to Parabola is entering the Astral. and the end where it is quiet again is your entrance to your body.
  • George from Chicago, IlHave ne of you seen the video for this song. It will deffinately help you out. Phi has alot to do with this song i agree but this song is more than that. "Feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion" Pain hurts, dont it, Or does it? Studies show that if you cut off your arm your mind thinks its still there and still feels the pain. "All this pain is an illusion" Parabola is about the past pains you have had they were never there you should feel eternal the pain was an illusion. "weaving round each new experience, recognizing this holy gift and celebrating this chance to be here alive and breathing" clearly states that the experiences you have you should embrace instead of look grim upon and celebrate the miracle of a single breath.
  • Jeremiah from Youngstown, OhI think this song is about reincarnation on some scale. I mean, if you listen to some of the lines: "We are eternal" "We barely remember, who or what came before this precious moment", "Spinning, weaving, around each new experience"
    Here's why those lines stood out to me:
    "We are eternal"- Well, that speaks for itself.
    "We barely remember, etc. etc."- Some people in current lives are noted to remember past lives, but most of the time, very vaguely.
    "Sinning and stuff"- Each body granted us is a new experience, a "Holy Gift" that we should not take granted and should use to its fullest.
  • Hassan from Nyc, NyThis is a great song, especailly the guitar playing
  • Michael from Los Angeles, CaI think this song is about how this life is a physical part of our reality, while "we are eternal" in the collective unconsious. I think Maynard is trying to tell us that we should "embrace this moment," and be happy we are alive, but not to be afraid of death because we will return to the collective.
  • James from Australia, AustraliaA plane curve formed by the intersection of a right circular cone and a plane parallel to an element of the cone or by the locus of points equidistant from a fixed line and a fixed point not on the line.

    i just looked parabola up in some online dictionary its gay mad song though one of me fav
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohan oddity here, actually about Reflection: the song is 11:06 long. 11 times sixty is 660, plus the six is 666. Coincidence? With Maynard, I doubt it.
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohactually, there are math things on lateralus, but the PHi reference and fibonnacci sequences are actually on the song Lateralus, which i noticed in the drummer's beats. danny carey is a drummer's drummer...
  • Rowan from San Carlos, CaI think this song is mainly about how holy and amazing it is to just be alive, and how important it is to recognize this and not take it for granted.
    And good god people, this song is so good. *goes to go listen to it*
  • Jake from Miami, FlYour body holds your true spirit back. Once your soul achives 46 & 2, there is no use for a body, if you see the video it is veery easy to realizes that this is his message even though it is complicated.
  • Jake from Miami, Flthe meaning Maynard was trying to get through with this song is alot like schism the name parabola represents the parabola from the exact time when you were born (the origin of the graph) and as you grow older (the line of symmetry goes up) the two parts of "god" or 40 six & 2 split apart and travel away from each other. Maynard is talking about when the parabola almost goes vertical he realizes he is immortal.The parabola colapses on it self as he reaches 40 six & 2 and froms what shape? A Perfect Circle. Music is just a TooL
  • Anton from Atlanta, GaThere is absolutely no mathematic reference in the album Lateralus by Tool. Parabola is symbolic of the distance between human nature and human action. This distance being equal, such is the Webster definition of Parabola: plane curve generated by a point moving so that its distance from a fixed point is equal to its distance from a fixed line. In a matter of specking, if you can see what I mean. But the lyrics in any of the songs have no symbolic or technical reference to mathematics. In all actually the reason one could associate mathematics in the album is because of its continuous reference to the Tree of Life, a morphogenetic field per say. With in this field can be found a limitless verily of geometric shapes. However, understand the geometry can be found in the very hairs of life and heaven and hell, witch isn't exactly 'mathematical'.
  • Max from Falmouth, MaThis has to be one of the greatest songs ever
  • Janie from Medford, OrAnother great Tool song. It's about staying alive, being here, not dying or taking your own life. Just another song about life and being connected through body and choice as well as realizing just because you think you are unhappy doesn't mean that you truely are....

    Peace
  • George from Hell, PaIf you ever watch the movie Pi, it's all about things like Phi(or as they call it, "beta"), the Fibonacci sequence, and of course Pi. It's a really good movie
  • Agony from Roswell, Nmlook, All these explinations for tool songs and very few correct ones *tsk tsk tsk* This song is as the first post says: mathmatical, natural, and spiritual. read the first post and thats the best possible explination. also, parabol and parabola are two parts of the same song one not so loud, and one VERY loud, the begining is bad.
  • Zombi00 from Portland, Oras with many of the titles and topics in the Lateralus album, its seems to me to be more about terminology than mathematics. the prevailing theme is not one of mathematics but one of separation. Schism, Parabola, Reflection being the primary example. Even the title Lateralus (i.e. Lateral) implies a meaning of something being opposing but equal.
  • Dae from Paraparaumu, New ZealandA parabola looks like a U-shape on a graph. If it's centered at 0 (ie, it is symmetrical over the vertical axis), then you can see the 'two parts' (two songs) which are indeed one. One part in the negative (quieter) the other in the positive (louder).

    Don't know if this has any significance, but when I first heard this song this is what I thought.
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohbeatiful song, particualarly stands out on Lateralus because of the loud beginning. Interestingly, the sound of the guitar getting louder actually begins a few seconds before the end of "Parabol", creating a seamless transition from one to the other, making it seem like one song across two tracks.
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