Pneuma
by Tool

Album: Fear Inoculum (2019)

Songfacts®:

  • The word pneuma comes from the Greek word for "that which is breathed or blown." The term took on multiple layers of meaning for the ancient Greeks and later for Judeo-Christian theologians and philosophers, as it became a word for "spirit" or "soul."

    References to the "breathe" concept are found in the song's line We are born of one breath, one word, and the continued repetition of "spirit."

    In the case of this song, the reference to the word is clearly oriented towards the yogic tradition, with guitar synthesized to sound like the Middle Eastern sitar and the light playing of Arabic goblet drum. Breath, or "pneuma," is at the core essence of yogic practice, both literally and spiritually.

    This song basically is a yogic meditation rendered in music. It discusses how we human beings are bound to our flesh and the illusions of the material world, but really are called to return to the essential, egoless "pneuma" of the universe's underlying reality. The song is a call to spiritual freedom and oneness:

    Reach out and beyond
    Wake up, remember
    We are born of one breath, one word
    We are all one spark, eyes full of wonder
  • "Pneuma" is the second song on Fear Inoculum. At 11:53, it's long compared to most rock songs, but six tracks on the album are over 10 minutes long, so it's pretty much par for the course.

Comments: 1

  • Stoopitnoob from Las VegasWhile your interpretation is a sound one, it's deeper than that if you open your mind. The music is a soul's journey. The times and sounds are simple at the begining like a child birth and progresses through complexity just like that of the experience of the soul. Tones are different (ways of seeing Life and perspective) as the song progresses.

    Lyrics are overlayed to deliver the message. Saying we are nailed down to this limited place but know where we come from and it's just out our reach.

    As the song progresses it gets richer and more robust. There is a luciousness to it. The timing and complexity increases like a person in their 30s and 40s.

    As the song gets deeper, it nears the end stage and the tones are that of a soul with much experience. The energy of the lyrics become bold as if a grandfather telling the child to be careful. Almost authoratative.

    Them as the song ends, it returns to more melodic harmonic less harsh sounds as the soul returns to source.
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