Schism
by Tool

Album: Lateralus (2001)
Charted: 67
  • I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them fall away
    Mildewed and smoldering, fundamental differing
    Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lover's souls in motion
    Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication

    The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so
    We cannot see to reach an end crippling our communication

    I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them tumble down
    No fault, none to blame, it doesn't mean I don't desire
    To point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over
    To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication

    The poetry that comes from the squaring off between
    And the circling is worth it
    Finding beauty in the dissonance

    There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away
    Mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting
    I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing
    Doomed to crumble unless we grow and strengthen our communication

    (Cold, cold, cold) Cold silence has
    A tendency to
    Atrophy any
    Sense of compassion

    Between supposed lovers
    Between supposed lovers

    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit
    I know the pieces fit Writer/s: Daniel Carey, Justin Gunner Chancellor, Adam Jones, Maynard James Keenan
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 98

  • Joel from Las VegasI think it’s about two lovers learning to live together in a BDSM relationship.
  • Bob from ClevelandI always thought this song was about a relationship, particularly a marriage, deteriorating over time due in large part to a lack of communication as they both begin to watch different things and are unable to convey those desires to each other, creating resentment and "cold silence."

    "Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lover's souls in motion
    Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication
    The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so
    We cannot see to reach an end crippling our communication"

    "cold silence has
    A tendency to
    Atrophy any
    Sense of compassion
    Between supposed lovers
    Between supposed lovers"
  • Kiane from Central Coast Cali It seems clear, that based on certain of Tool’s band member’s forsaken background of Mormonism, along with the progressively inspired spiritual overtones that developed in Tool’s music from Lateralus through 10,000 Days; that the interpretation for the song Schism is most likely what I’m about to disclose... And this is likely the case even if it is somewhat veiled between the lines, and not entirely clear in the understanding of the inspired artists themselves:
    The spiritual interpretation for Schism almost certainly about the emerging reunification of the human race, so long after when at the Tower of Babel, the languages we’re confused to prevent premature and rapidly exponential technological advances before the appointment time.
    Now is the age of international communication— breaking the language barriers world-wide, and rapidly developing technology that connects creative minds, and is making increasingly expansive possibilities for what humans can achieve. “The Other” in the song, who could be blamed for why this has taken so long, and the temple that could be overthrown to prevent further impedance of human ingenuity, is God and His religions of Judaism/Christianity.
    It is a call for “triumph” over the stifling of collective human capacity, and for progressively outright rebellion amid the fall of the human race, against the decretive will of Light and Love.
  • Dylan from Minneapolis, MnTo Ashley, Dallas, TX

    I couldn't agree more. The fact of the matter is that every Tool song is written with a specific inspiration from Maynard's life, but the genius is that he boils it down to the universal theme applicable to so many similar situations. Unfortunately, people tend to get bogged down in this specific meaning and lose track of the idea or conflict being expressed.
  • Jérôme from Wynnewood, PaI noticed that the base riff begins after 13 seconds, 13 perhaps keeping with the supposedly religious theme.
  • Ezra from Olympia, WaI would personally like to see the term "misinterpretation" out. since no matter how we interpret things. it is still a interpretation. i myself have always takin this song as simple good advice for any love. Yes it could be a metaphor for the church. hmm.. funny. i remember the Church being referred to as the wife in the bible. but i can see how Maynard could have wrote this to someone he might have been having some problems with around the time before that album came out. I have to hand it to Tool for making lyrics that ring so true in so many's ears. such complex audible tapestries
  • Ashley from Dallas, TxTo michelle, San Diego , CA

    I completely. completely. COMPLETELY. agree with you, and you seem to be very correct. This is exactly what I get from every tool song I listen to. There could be millions of meanings behind these unique lyrics, and its up for you to decide which one you see the most. Overall the meaning I get out of this song is SEPERATION. Yes it could be a marriage, church, friendship, everything else most of you named. This is what I love about tool, its lyrics are how you as an individual see them. This song is my favorite.
  • Timmy from Mukilteo, Wathis song is amazing. its a very deep thing to write about.
  • Joe from El Paso, Txi agree with ryan. In the bible, the people of earth made a tower to try and reach heaven. god destroyed the tower and made all the people speak different languages and not being able to COMMUNICATE with each other to re-build the tower because the only way to heaven is to beleive in god and eccept him as ur savior. anyways lets see they key words in schism: I know the peices fit, communication,sound like buildin something to me.
  • Michelle from San Diego , Caone thing i love about music lyrics is that its all up to the individual thats listening's interpretation of what they mean. this song aswell as many other tool songs and every other song pretty much (instead some i kissed a girl and i liked it s--t that pretty much says it all) can mean something different to diffrent people. one thing i know is that tool is overinterpreted. people try to hard to find one sole meaning to a song. but if you know anything about tool, youd know that is not the intention of their music. i have my own theories about certain songs tho. and have watched a few interviews on youtube and what not. my own little personal conclusion about this song is that its a tool love song haha. honestly. like not that it says "lovers" in it or anything. but my relationship with my bf has been so f--king horrible and rocky but now were trying to put the pieces back together after they fell apart. yet there was a time when the pieces did fit. through all this communication was mixed and losst in the frenzy and we things fell apart. now were putting it back together.

    i totally accept the church religious theories and all of the other ones on here too but i wanted to share my own personal feelings of what i feel when i hear this song.
    hope it was somewhat appreciated and that i didnt piss off and "super hardcore tool fans" allthough i prolly love tool just as much as you.
  • Steve from Vancouver, WaLoL great comments by most, some funny drunk or high comments by many, and quite a few misinterpretations out there. I needn't highlight any post, just advice: read them all. First things first! Tool is spiritual, not religious: a thinking man's band, their message never confounds the two.remember, their mantra is THINK FOR YOURSELF. that is anti-religious PAR EXCELLENCE; if you are American, then your desire for freedom of thought should be high; unfortunately, many of us Americans attempt to attribute American values to some historic sense of identity, and thus emulate their ancestors, be it through religion or regionalism.
    okay, i've read most of the posts. and i conclude that, clearly, it is about human relationships (what else is the world but a history of human interactions). i can see it as two egos/representations coming together as opposites attract, yet reach a boiling point, and thus separating from these fundamental different positions, which, at the same time, is the initial attraction. compassionately, he explains how it is easy to blame the other in ANY schism (be it a misunderstanding, argument, brawl, breach in treaty, or just plain obstinance). what nobody has addressed is the lines "the poetry it comes from the squaring off between/and the circling is worth it/finding beauty in the dissonance". i ask why? as the bridge, i believe this has an integral meaning to the whole, but have not yet ventured to guess, and throw that out there as the next step in proper interpretation.... in anote, i may guess to say that squaring off is a metaphor for butting heads, where as the circling is, essentially, circumventing the argument or SCHISM and looking at it from outside ones own perspective/ego.....regarding the specific nature of the relationship, i have always seen it as the connection between man and man, which is a more important bond than between man and woman (because sex ties the latter two, where as man and man battle each other and attempt to connect on a "moral level", if you will...) maynard will always try to cut to the heart of the matter, and thus attempts to comment on NATURE, on the NATURAL COURSE of things.. and like jill scott and the roots declare in their hit, "things fall apart." Its a buddhistic stance, that all things are evanescent and fleeting..thus, TOOL, yet another TOOL of a world movement, that is, like JESUS to the Romans, yet another MOVEMENT OF EASTERN SPIRITUALISM BLASTING ITS LOGICAL JIZZ ALL OVER WESTERN THOUGHT'S FACE. What else is the progressivism and compassion leeching into Western consciousness but a reflection of the Buddhistic/Hinduistic dogma of ONEness, that we are CONNECTED?
    And, in reference to some peoples interpretation being our separation of God, just remember: GOD IS INSTINCT: as Jung pointed out, once we ate the apple of knowledge from the garden of Eden, we became conscience (not animals) and then made decisions for ourselves. The Bible explains the original schism of man. The catch 22 is....how were we able to decide to bite into the apple, as if God didn't wire us with anti-Satan instincts? LoL..I think the bible needed to polish that analogy a little better :) Of course, that was just propaganda, to show that women provoke men into stupidity, and therefore should not be the head of house.
    To wrap up all sides, I believe this song is about a real-world instance (here, the process of recording between maynard and the band): but it draws parallels with a greater trend in life, as do all our experiences generalize the vibe of, well, being here and living!! good night folks
  • Katelynn from Fort Wayne, InI like Dan's interpretation. "about a man trying to put together a puzzle while on LSD." Haha
  • Cody from St Joe, Moto go back to the first comments with dave. im not sure that maynard would use any kind of metaphors related to the bible
  • Alex from Beech Grove, InOk, I'm sorry.. But I am sick of people posting in here about complaining because people placing their own comment on the song or what it's about. They have their own opinions just like you have yours and complaining is not an opinion, it's annoying. Not all songs have difficult meanings, but even though a meaning seems so simple and right, it could be more deep than what you think. So maybe reading other's comments will help you realize that songs have very deep meanings, like, in my opinion, this one.
  • Rahul from Chennai, Indiaand michael...that was pretty deep...... you've definitely got it there....
  • Rahul from Chennai, Indiai have no i idea what this song is about...but do i care? absolutely not....enjoy it, guys..... instead of arguing bout what it means...... well yeah i know this site is about that..... but still....
  • Austin from Smallsville, New EnglandTool won a Grammy in 2002 for Best Metal Performance. The other nominee's were Slipknot's "Left Behind",System of a Down's "Chop Suey",Slayer's "Diciple",and Black Sabbath's "The Wizard. It is the second time they won the B.M.P award. The other being "Aenema" in '98. This was also there fourth nomination(at the time being schism was released).
  • Carlos from Coimbra, PortugalYou have to see that there are 3 characters in the vid and not 2, but 2 of them don't even meet.
  • Austin from Smallsville, New EnglandThe song has been featured on Guitar Hero:World Tour. By the way i liked this before them posers did.
  • Austin from Smallsville, New EnglandFor Tool, this was their most succesful song on radio.
  • Mike from Columbus, OhIn the Revolver magazine dedicated to Tool, Maynard makes some references to this song being on one level about human interaction but also goes on to say that this song is closer to the turmoil the band had when making the Lateralus album. They were having all kinds of problems as Maynard puts it "going down blind alleys" and not finding anything. Maynard was getting frustrated at the other members of the band and left to go on tour with A Perfect Circle so the other members could work out what they needed to do. The line "The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so. We cannot see to reach an end, crippling our communication." is about them not being able to see eye to eye in the studio and then the line "No fault, none to blame, it doesn't mean I don't desire. To point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over. To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication" is about the fact that Maynard wasn't with the other members when they were working on the album but he still feels that he can "point the finger" when he came back to things he didn't like. The temple toppling over is just a metaphor for the album being the temple and their inability to work together was causing it to not be completed or "toppling over". Lastly the line "The poetry that comes from the squarin' off between. And the circling is worth it, finding beauty in the dissonance" talks about how even though there was conflict and it took arguing to get to the end there is beauty made out of the dissonance which is a more eloquent way of saying conflict. Maynard had a great line in this article where he said there is no creativity without some pain. Anyway you cut it this is one of their more personal songs and having seen them 6 times on the Lateralus tour and 7 more on the 10,000 days tour, they always have played it and I think they will keep it on their set list in future tours. By the way, the "on the road mix" with the double time guitars and Carey's insane speed fills are the best way to hear this song. Later
  • Ryan from Oceanside , Cadoes anybody sense a reference to the Tower of Babel in the bible? all in all it's interesting to
    note that the God caused the tower of babel to come "crashing down" and it was God's attempt to divide humanity based on language...ie:communication
  • Nick from A City, OhI honestly beleive this song is about we are nothing if we don't work together,I also think that this song has nothing to do with religon but more of Maynard and how he left Tool for APC and how he and Tool dirffted apart.Brining me back to what I said at the start..... this song has more then one meaning ( In my oppion) Maynard used the word Temple as an example for humanity and how we are all starting to hate each other and turn on one another and if we don't work together the temple (Humanity) Will never be built up strong and fall apart.And now back to my second point ( This is getting annoying I know ) Maynard and Tool Maynard him self said that he had to leave A perfect Circle because he felt like one day he would leave Tool for good and how the Temple (Tool) would fall apart without that one piece (M.J.K.). Phew .... I don't know about you but I am beat from all that thunk ....
  • Ava from Po-dunk, Ali agree with "bob from tokyo" and "kellen from nova scotia" - i think the lyrics are meant to fit the music. i don't read or play music but in an interview keenan stated the group let's the music guide them and that especially with schism the lyrics are about the music itself (though i'm sure the lyrics are made loose for interpretation on purpose).
  • Tresdave from N Town, MaI believe that this song is about Maynard doing Tool and APC at the same time, but thats just me
  • Dan from Rocklin, Cathe song is about a man trying to put together a puzzle while on LSD.
  • Brandee from Wilmington, NcI think the song is vague enough yet complex enough to relate to.
  • Madison from Norway, MeI love the timing of the lyrics in the line "I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing".
  • Ryan from Wilmington, NcWonderful song, both musically and lyrically. I think it could be a metaphor for any relationship (between people, or between organizations) where communication and "give and take" break down. That's the brilliance of Tool songs, they are very poetic. They can be interpreted so they have a broader meaning than what they were intially written about. Tool are awesome.
  • Joel from Hartselle, Alschism means a difficulty or division in a relationship or group.. its just about a struggling relationship that has fallen apart that he has faith can be fixed.. "between supposed brothers, between supposed lovers" and "i know the pieces fit, cause i watched them fall away".. and that we can dwell on an argument or a petty little fact so much sometimes it can destroy something that really has no problems at all.. thanks
  • Mark from Mason City, IaI find it odd that so many people choose to draw parallels to religion in Tool songs with no particular reason to do so. Maynard has many times admitted he follows no particular doctrine of faith and finds organised religion distasteful. Lets not forget his April fools prank in which he professed finding Jesus.

    Schism is beautiful in it's simplicity. It speaks of striving to repair a relationship that fallen apart.
  • Iamthema! from Franklin, Ma"the light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us, so we cannot seem to reach an end, crippling our

    communication" - the "hole" refers to our desire to obtain non-essentials (listen to and watch a perfect circle's

    "weak & powerless"). "want" vs. "need" is one of our ultimate dualities created by lucifer.
  • Iamthema! from Franklin, Ma"the poetry that comes from the squaring off between, and the circling is worth it. finding beauty in the dissonance." this

    just screams to me how perfect our bodily proportions are (see: da vinci's "vitruvian man"), it's poetry - squares and

    circles... it makes too much sense to ignore. if someone where to tell you that our bodies are specific and mathematical,

    would you believe it? if you're not able to find the image, then try to visualize the following. with the arms and legs

    extended straight out, a square/cube will form around the body. the center of this square/cube is located at the base of the

    spine, where our first eight cells still exist (in yet another cube, see: "egg of life"). with the arms and legs spread, a

    circle/sphere forms with the center located at the navel. by moving this center to the base of our spine (overlapping the

    square) you'll notice a phi ratio, where the perimeter of the square is equal to the circumference of the circle. and it's

    not by coincidence, either. seems like we've been specifically synthesized.
  • Iamthema! from Franklin, Ma"the light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us, so we cannot seem to reach an end, crippling our communication" - "lucifer" literally means the "light-bearer". and here's our fire: in an experiment against god, lucifer (who couldn't seperate himself from god using an internal merkaba) created a way for merkabas to be performed externally and without the use of love. this, in turn, created an enormous sense for duality and transformed emotional understanding into calculated technologies. "once everything is dualized and running on motors, it becomes more and more difficult to perceive the One spirit that moves through everything" as it states in mr.frisell's book. sure, it's easy for us to imagine duality, infact, scientists having been using the dichotomous metheod to determine the identity of items in the natural world for years. but is there really a "good" or "evil"? maybe not. maybe we're reading too much into it, further calculating identities so to seperate.
  • Jimmy from Boone-ish, NcThe word schism (IPA: ['sɪzəm] or ['skɪzəm]), from the Greek σχίσμα, skhÃ?sma (from σχίζω, skhÃ?zō, "to split"), means a division or a split, usually in an organization or a movement

    Use within Music
    Other than its common use in Greek to refer to a crack in a wall or an egg, the original use of schisma (σχισμα) as a technical term was in ancient Greek music theory, and referred to a slight difference in pitch. The term is still used for that purpose in modern microtonal music and theoretical treatments of musical tuning. The term is used for a separation in pitch a few times less than a comma; usually a pitch difference of about 5 cents.

    The words schism and schismatic have found perhaps their heaviest usage in the history of Christianity, to denote splits within a church or religious body
  • Brandon from Henderson, Nvi assumed that it was a song about "two lovers souls in motion" set by the "pure intentions juxtaposed" like two peoples interests set the same way causing productivity in the relationship "strengthening our communication" communication not only verbal but physacle and emotional. the pieces fitting being two people right for eachother... its a very good song and well written... im probably wrong about what i think its about but this is all about sharing eachothers interpretations
  • Tracy from St Paul, Mnwoohoo ^5 Ryan and Treg and the MN connection. See what people dont know is that this song is written for minnesotans,,schism is scandinavian for "dont eat yellow snow". So if u wanna be cool ull have to move to MN, least thats what i heard.
  • Christine from Belmont, NhDamian from Dublin, Ireland that is wicked good... I never thought of it that way... I always figured thed song was about two "lovers" growing apart and one not being able to handle that it's over and is a stage of denial, because... "I know the pieces fit Cuz I watched them tumble down (broken relashionship) No fault none to blame (grew apart)It doesnt mean I don't desire To point the finger Blame the other (If it is someones 'fault' a problem can be fixed;the relashionship can be saved)Watch the temple topple over To bring the pieces back together
    Rediscover communication (fix it)" so Damian do you think what i think has the same meaning but not refrencing 'lovers' but Maynards two seperate projects?... To be honest when i first heard Maynard was working on an album with a different group i was a bit dissapointed myself but the music came out good and it was still Maynrd's way of art so i suppose i was satisfied but much releived when they finally gave us Lateralus
  • Michael from Dallas, Txhere's an essay i wrote for a class

    Tool is known throughout the music world as a band that has very powerful and thoughtful lyrics. Their songs have deep meanings that use many methods to bring about an important message. In "Schism", Maynard Keenan, the singer/lyricist, is talking about divisions inside the Church, which pushes man further away from God and he is also saying that to maintain any sort of relationship between two people there has to be good communication.
    Many Tool songs, especially on Lateralus, have to do with religion or how man is going further away from God. Maynard Keenan uses many methods to tell about a schism that divides a religious group. In particular, many of the themes can relate to the Great Schism that divided the All Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church into the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. One method he uses to convey this theme is synecdoche. When he sings, "watch the temple topple over" (9), he uses the word temple to represent Christianity, or more specifically the Church, as a whole. He is saying that the whole structure for the religious community will collapse if an agreement cannot be reached. Also, since both sides are arguing, the attention and respect towards God slowly gets smaller until he is completely ignored. Another example of synecdoche is "set two lovers" souls in motion" (30) and "Between supposed lovers/ Between supposed brothers" (19-20). Lovers and brothers stand for all the Christian people, mainly the ones that are in the Great Schism. Christians spiritually love everyone and treat everyone like their brother, no matter who they are. This is saying that even strong spiritual groups, who try to live to the best of their ability, can be divided over anything. Then the focus is put on the two sides and not on God. Because of this they tend to drift away from being very devout to just believing and nothing else. Another tool that Keenan uses is personification. He says, "strangled by our coveting" (15). This means that the desires for having more power and control made the church unbalanced and it ended up hurting both sides. As coveting is inanimate it cannot actually strangle anything but it is used because it does "choke" the Church. Another example is, "we cannot see to reach an end, crippling our communication" (6). In the Great Schism, there were eight Ecumenical Councils between the soon to be Catholics and soon to be Orthodox to settle various problems within the church. Since an agreement could not be reached, and various other conflicts arose as well, the Church lost hope and it divided. As time went on, the communication and interaction faded because it was "crippled." It was hit so hard that it could never recover and the Church became officially separated. The song's musical settings and parameters also played a role in delivering the theme. The time signature of the song has its own "schism" as it divides. As Tool is also known for abnormal or uncommon time signatures, this is important in "Schism." The song starts out at a 12/8 time signature but then goes to a 5/8 and then to a 7/8. All of them are very unusual time signatures, but they do make the music and the lyrics coexist which enhances the interpretation. Another musical trait in "Schism" is the change of the dynamics. The song starts out soft and gradually gets louder, while building tension. Then the guitar unleashes some hard, loud power chords creating a climatic sound with much drama. This is important because it draws attention to "the squaring off between" (11) and the rest of that stanza, making it full of action to help create an image depicting the two sides confronting each other. One final method that Keenan uses is metaphor. He says "fundamental differing/ Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lovers' souls in motion" (2-3) which is saying that one small conflict can amount to bigger problems which all add up and can ruin the relationship and can spark a huge battle. For example, a big reason for the Great Schism was just over three words. They were "and the Son" which the soon-to-be Catholic side wanted entered into the Nicene Creed, a prayer, but the soon-to-be Orthodox side objected because they wanted to acknowledge Jesus as both fully God and fully man and not have a distinct difference between the two. Another metaphor he used is "The poetry that comes from the squaring off between/ And the circling is worth it/ Finding beauty in the dissonance" (11-13). This is meaning that even though the Orthodox and the Catholics have a bitter relationship with each other, they both have the same objectives, they just go about it differently. They both worship and praise God. They just use different methods and in the end they are both Christians. Maynard Keenan effectively uses these different devices and many more to stress the importance on how divisions within the Church cause other faults to appear and cause separation from God. He wants to warn that if divisions keep occurring within religious groups that they would be so far away from their purpose that their existence would not even matter.
    Keenan also uses different devices to show how communication can either make or break a relationship between people. One device he uses to convey this theme is metaphor. He sings "The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so" (5) which compares the relationship to fire. The light is representing the communication. It is saying that the one thing that kept the relationship going turned and now is destroying it. This is true with communication and how it becomes bad when there is not enough. Another metaphor he uses is "The poetry"in the dissonance" (11-13). This is saying that maybe the division was meant to be (fate) and that it is part of life and they just have to move on. "Finding beauty" is being optimistic and saying that discovering something that does not work will motivate the person to find something that does work and to keep trying until they are successful. Maynard Keenan also uses symbolism to elaborate his theme. Throughout the song he says pieces, which is symbolic. It represents the idea of unity and how everything can fit together. The pieces are the different parts in a relationship that are glued together with communication. Just like a puzzle, though, they have to be arranged in the right order for it to work. Good communication enables both sides to find that right sequence and make the relationship prosper. Another symbol he uses is in, "I've done the math enough to know the dangers of a second guessing" (16). The math represents all the hard work and tough experiences that he has gone through. He is saying he has seen and heard enough to know the twists and turns. He also knows that to keep the relationship going, there can never be doubt inside the person. They can do whatever they want as long as they believe in themselves. The mood also plays a role into the overall understanding of the song. In "No fault, none to blame, it doesn't mean I don't desire to/ Point the finger, blame the other" (8-9) the mood is a little reluctant but also has a sense of responsibility to it. Keenan is saying that there is no way to move on and get over it if they do not admit their own mistakes. Even though it is human nature to blame it on someone else and find excuses, both people must take on responsibility. Another time the mood is important in the song is when he sings "And the circling is worth it/ Finding beauty in the dissonance" (14-15). The mood here is optimistic and hopeful. He is saying that if they keep their heads up and retrace their steps they might be able to find a way out and move on or find a way to fix the relationship. If they turn it around into something good they can remain hopeful that good things will come soon. The last major device Keenan uses in "Schism" is motif. All throughout the song he says the phrase "I know the pieces fit". He is saying that everything goes together and he knows that because of past experiences and saw what happens when the pieces are put together wrong. He knows that good communication stabilizes and holds pieces together and that bad communication causes them to break apart. Another example of motif he uses is "Mildewed and smoldering" (2&15). This means that over time a relationship will wear away because of minor conflicts. Good communication, though, stops the relationship from shriveling up and it nurtures the relationship until it is fully repaired and it continues to nurture it. The last motif he uses is how if the people in the relationship do a certain thing it will affect the communication, which then affects the relationship itself. Keenan does this because he wants to stress the importance of communication and how it is the foundation that holds the relationship together. Maynard Keenan uses many methods to capture this theme and makes it as clear as it can be by saying "Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion" (18).
    Maynard Keenan uses many devices to effectively stress important themes in "Schism". They are how man going further away from God because of feuds within the church and he also says how communication must be used in any type of relationship, good communication is needed to maintain it. Tool is very good at having the music and the lyrics fit and work together to communicate to the listener because of their powerful lyrics and amazing unique musical style. In "Schism" they are trying to tell the listeners important messages but the impressive thing is that each message can be different for each person and that the song could have a completely different meaning from one person to the next.
  • Michael from Dallas, Txthe line "strangled by our coveting" is referencing to the 4 noble truths in Buddhism. they are: life is full of pain in suffering, pain and suffering is caused by desires, eliminating desires will eliminate the pain and suffering, to eliminate you have to follow the path to enlightenment
  • Mic Hael from Dallas, Txa meaning of the line "fundamental differing" could be saying that major changes can be brought about over the smallest conflicts. An example is that one of the big reasons that there was the Great Schism between Orthodox and Catholics is that there was a dispute ofver the 3 words, "and the Son", in the prayer, the Nicene Creed
  • Peter from Ottawa, CanadaHave to agree with Nicola from Sydney. I love reading different people's interpretations of Tool's songs because they are so varied, and it's fascinating to share ideas given to us by their songs, but it's an exercise in futility to try to state any interpretation as fact.
  • Treg from Worthington, Mn"listen to it again and you can tell its about 'supposed lovers'"...Someone said that on here. I don't agree with that person, but I agree wholly with Dave from MA. I think that Tool is known to have that struggle between the idea of different religions that we have going on. The part in the song where Maynard is singing "between supposed lovers/brothers", take a gander at the Bible and see that those that are Christians love God which would mean that the devoute follower and God are lovers. For God loves us vice versa. Our fellow Christian followers are usually considered our "brothers".

    I don't know though. Maynard chose the words he did for the lyrics so that we'd all try to figure out what he's trying to talk about. All his songs are basically a tool for us to expand our minds to question humanity.

    Also, I don't think it's stupid to look up and do some research to figure out what Tool is saying in their music. I don't think one of us is going to automatically know what is going through Maynard's head without finding the source of his motivation.
  • Dan from Melbourne, AustraliaThe songs meaning to me, in as simple terms as I can put it, is that we need to keep the lines of communication open to allow any relationship to work.

    Whether the Schism is between a man & a woman or two religious groups, I think is unimportant.
  • Robert from Seattle, WaSchism

    A separation or division into factions.

    A formal breach of union within a Christian church.
    The offense of attempting to produce such a breach.
    Disunion; discord.
  • Dan from Santa Clarita, Cai have to say that i agree with the APC Theory, the schizophrenic theory... and more im portantly "Cyber Leo"'s theory of TETRIS...i have often been reminded of the game while listening to the song... maybe that was maynard's point... we are all debating on the song's meaning and its really just an old school video game... kind of like how DIE EIER VON SATAN sounds like a Hitler speech but is really a magic brownie recipe
  • Elliot from Madison, WiLike everyone said before, the great thing about Tool is that you can interept the songs in so many different ways. I think this one had something to do with religion. Someone before me said that Schism means divison. Schism also means "a separation, an alienation causing divisions among Christians, who ought to be
    united". (from dictionary.com) But thats just a thought.
  • Spencer from Vancouver, WaWell it could also be refering to the morman church and how they say things like they r the only church thats true all differnt churches r starting to argue and how wars in middle east have started wars over religion and how the world will come to an end over religion.
  • Josh from Levelland, VaMaynard is talking about the church. "Watch the temple topple over" what happened when jesus was cricified the temple "toppled" and was rebuilt "bring the pieces back together" rediscover communication" the prophets brought more people to jesus after he was gone cause he broke down barriers. If not all of you know search for maynard interviews and in many he says from his own lips that he BELIEVES IN GOD NOT MAN!And i am a christian and religon is not good but religon does not dictate chritians.
  • Prophet from East Haven, Vthave you seen the video? need i say more?
  • Rússeo from Estância, BrazilMan I think it's about man, as a divided being, strugles to become complete again. Man and woman were 1 only being. All the men were 1 only being united in God, with Him. Without God we lose communication and try to fix it by finding our soulmate thru love, sex whatever. Man can only be happy united with all the others, in God, after death (or in sex, which makes him "die" for a very short while). Watch the video. Man and woman trying to get united! People trying and finding their soulmate! It may sound a little sentimental, bun not in a larger, existencial perspective.
  • Ben from Lincolnshire, EnglandThe great thing about Tool's songs is that most of them are not *about* any one thing: this song, for example, describes a schism, which can occur in any object - it could describe, for instance, how one half of a toilet-roll holder cracks open and is seperated from the other half, and although the pieces fit together they have divided.

    ..But as usual, people will continue to search for meanings behind Tool's songs simply because they do not release them..
  • Luke from Delta , CoI read that it was about two friends that start drifting and fighting with each other.
  • Saki from Huntsville, Ali think schism is a song about how somebody had a good life and then their life falls apart and all they can do is watch the pieces of their life fall apart......
  • Jinjiro from Rochester, NyAnyone else find it ironic that the person who said religion destroys communication and is the bane of the human race is named Christian?
  • James from Victoria, CanadaI believe this song is about schizophrenia. I read online once that somebody said that schizophrenia is when how the brain communicates gets screwed up and you see hallucinations see voices, etc. "I know the pieces fit" os how that on schizophrenic person thinks that his brain is "broken" although that person thinks that "the temple" can be brought together.
  • Amanda from Mineral Ridge, OhGood ol' James Herbert Keenan.. You gotta love him. Hes a genius.
  • Cyberleo from Sheboygan, WiWasn't he playing Tetris when he came up with the lyrics?

    "I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them tumble down.. No fault, none to blame it doesn't mean I don't desire to point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over. To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication..."

    "There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away. Mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting.. I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing.. doomed to crumble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication."
  • Jim from Rogers, ArThis song in my opinioun is clearly about redicoverying communication of two ppl,"between supposing lovers/brothers",rediscoverying communication. One lyric "cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion" cleary is suggesting compassion can be lost by poor communication.
  • Joe from Somewhere, Ctit is about men and women and how the church drove us apart.
  • Gil from Olawa, PolandThe whole Lateralus album is a mathematical construct and Schism is its fundament and revelation. You have to "do the math" to "bring the pieces back togehter" because "the pieces fit" and they were intentionaly scattered.
    It's a kind of code, but if you solve it, you get one perfect over_70_minutes_long song.
    More about it at Lateralus...
  • Janie from Portland, OrBy far, one of the best songs that I have ever heard. It's not just the sounds of the song but the lyrics and Maynard's voice helps make the song. My favorite part in the whole song is the instrumental part and the part where Maynard sings "cold.... cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion" and with that one line from the song I in fact found it to be 110% true, for me that is. It's very true, has anyone else found that to be true? Such an awesome band with awesome lyrics, sounds, instrument playing, and vocals. I love the band Tool by far my favorite band. And this song Schism is pure genious, it's just awesome and I don't know if I will ever be able to fathom of all those awesome songs but I embrace them. Peace.
  • Mel from Sydney, Australiaah yes i found out it was all a joke a few days ago...i feel like such an idiot for believing it but of cousre maynard would do something like this.
  • Tim from Atlantic City, NjDUDE IT WAS AN APRIL FOOLS JOKE... MAYNARD CAME ACROSS A DRUNK "JESUS". The guy wanted maynard to help him spread holy water on to people... So he accepted it and joined him. I got this a Toolband.com
  • Mel from Sydney, AustraliaHave u ppl heard that maynard has left Tool bcaz hes "found jesus" please tell me im wrong but it says so at toolband.com...THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE.please someone feel the pain with me.......
  • Rowan from San Carlos, CaWhy does it have to be a song about religion, or any of that kind of thing? Why can't it just be more general than that?
    And for my two cents, I think this song is about human relationships.
    The song doesn't consider the "differing" negative enough to be about religion, liiiike:
    The poetry that comes from the squaring off between,
    And the circling is worth it.
    Finding beauty in the dissonance.
    that! that's talking about the positive aspects of such differences.
  • Mel from Sydney, AustraliaRyan from Rosemount,MN brings up an interesting point. this idea is ANOTHER way of trying to interpret the song.WILL THESE NEW CONCEPTS EVER STOP ARISING? its impossible to decide on what a TooL song is about
  • Indre from Wollongong, Australiaa bloody amazing song...i just think we should leave it to the music and stop trying to deconstruct it so much...interpret it how you will, that's what music's all about.
  • Jake from Miami, FlAlot of people don't really understand tool. Maynard makes songs so everyone can have their own interpretation, because theirs so many ways to explain a set of words. What I post is just what i think MAYNARD was thinking about when he wrote it.

    I believe that this song is about any faith or trust in "god", one part is achiving unity and the other is staying connected to "god" these two parts get seperated as a person grows older. A person who goes to church stays connected with "god" but they are two seprate beings. A person who is athiest is unified with "god" but they don't believe in it, so they don't stay connected. A newborn baby knows nothing of either but is perfectly connected AND unified with "god" because there is no difference between love and fear, and from the time your born, unless you realize "the pieces fit" then they will "fall away." This creates a barrier between you and "god" or achiving 40 six & 2. Between you and a brother, or a lover, or what ever you interpret it as. Music is only a TooL.
  • Jonathon from Monticello, FlSchism I think is about relationships in general.
    Its about how important it is to never take the other for granted and not to assume that they will always be there.
    The second meaning of this song is about Change and how we must stop trying to fight it and accept the fact that change happens everyday and there is no stopping it. That change is nessicary for growth and by admitting this to ourselves we can begin to mature.
  • Randall from Dallas, TxMaynard was quoted in an interview as saying they their lyrics have several levels, being several different interpretations. They leave the door open to interpretation, and by Maynard's own philosophy, whatever you take from it is correct... for yourself. Just like anyone's faithful beliefs are correct for themselves, there is no right and wrong. This misunderstanding, unfortunately, has caused several violent and bloody wars throughout history, and included such things as The Holocaust, The Spanish Inquisition, and just about everything that's happened in the middle-east. Until everyone realizes this, and incorporates it into themselves and their outlook on the world, this will not end.
  • Justine from Montreal, CanadaMy favorite song. The music is so complex, godly. A strike of genius from the band of TooL. It was also renamed the dirty banana by the band(Maynard said so in an interview but never fully explained why- sides a story of the backstreet boys getting a show at Amsterdam). And of course, the lyrics are incredible, poetic, deep. Schism does mean division.
  • Rebecca from Peoria, Azi love this song its so kool well as a song.
  • Eric from Madison, WiI think this song is talking about how we must continue with communication. If we don't all will be lost. This also is alot like the song "Lost For Words" by Pink Floyd. There is a mechanical voice that says, "it doesn't have to be like this......all we need to do...is keep....talking."
  • James from Wellington, New ZealandTo say that the song must be just about the church and nothing else just because it is called "Schism" is foolish. We all know Stink Fist is just a metaphore. To also say it must be about "suposed lovers" is also foolish. I think it is just a picture of seperation of all kinds. As we have seen it means something different to everyone, but ultimately it all boils down to seperation. This is also mirrored in the music as someone has explained
  • Topher from Chicago, Ilahh... the best thing about tool is that it's songs can mean so much to so many people.

    Well, this is my interpretation: it's about the separation of man and his true nature. we get caught up in all of modern life, basic human ideals and customs are lost. we lost our fundamental ability to even communicate with eachother.. insted of talking to one another, we post live journals and such... and no one is taking blame. education is not about discovery, but rather a day care system. before the modern times, families would sit together and talk... communicate with eachother... today we can only hope that families eat or even talk together
  • Anton from North Potomac, MdI'd like everyone to notice these lines:
    ...
    [S]o point the finger
    Blame the other
    ...
    Rediscover communication

    Communication is blame? Seems like it nowdays dosen't it?
  • Kellen from Nova Scotia, Canadaforgot the most crucial part of my argument! When you add the two signature (5/8 & 7/8) it re-appoints the entire 12/8 timing that the thought of the song structure is based on. I KNOW THE PIECES FIT CUZ I WATCHED THEM FALL AWAY
  • Kellen from Nova Scotia, CanadaSchism has no significant meaning about relationships. None at all. Bottom line. It is true that Danny presented this song without lyrics to Maynard...but he did help with the insperation. If you play drums, you will be familiar with the term geometric-drumming. There are two significant time signature changes throughout the course of the song. It represents the title...while schism can mean a division or seperation. In extensive research of the word (i had to do an english project on song lyrics) I discovered that it can be applied to any division...not just that of church relation. The song itself is arranged in 12/8 time, which is SPLIT twice through the course of the song. Once into 5/8 timing and once into 7/8 timing. The entire musicianship inspires and represents the meaning maynard was construing.
  • Jon from Frederick, MdI think everyone has it,possibly it is about the human race's relationship with God, and the denyial of this relationship
  • Cody from Little Rock, ArI feel that possibly the true meaning behind schism isn't about relegion or the relationship between a broken couple, but rather the relationship between the family as a whole. As a teenager I have seen things and experienced things so early in life just as most other teens. The funny thing is it is the experiences that tend to place a wedge between parent child bonds due to us, the teens of the world, feel that we have had so much put on us by the ripe ole age of 16 that our parents don't understand us at all and there lies the broken communication. And when they speak about how the pieces fit cause I watched them fall away, Maynard could be talking about how at early childhood and early marriage everything seems as though all is all right, but as time goes on the world breaks apart weak bonds and the family is no longer as tight as it once was. Mariages fail and teens become disonnected from their parents. Also during the whole song I believe it may be sang from the child looking at the failed marriage and broken communication and thinking to itself that "I know the pieces fit."
  • Kirk from Londonderry, NhI think this song has two meanings. One I think is about the Church seperating and the Tower of Babel, however I've seen a very convincing site which discusses something very interesting about Schisim. Throughout the entire CD of Lateralus, he discusses "spirals". One form of a spiral is formed by the Fibonacci Sequence (0,1,1,2,3,5,8...) The sprial also has the unique mathematical property of Phi (1.618...) between all the numbers which form it's proportions. Well if you listen to the end of Parabol into Parabola you'll notice these end and begin with the note. Schisim talks about "knowing the pieces fit, because I watched them fall away" or whatever the line is. Well that's because Schisim is also about refitting the pieces of the CD into a new order which is formed by some variation of the Fibonacci sequence. I'm sorry I don't have a link to the site but it's very interesting.
  • Ryan from Rosemount, MnThis song is about nothing, Maynard received this from danny with no lyrics...Maynard liked the song and wrote lyrics to it, the lyrics are his interpritation of the music
  • Raistlin from Middletown, OhWhether religious in nature or not, the song is obviously about some sort of a relationship (whether between church sects, people, or a man and a woman) with obvious communcation problems. Of course, that's not to say it doesn't say a lot of other things as well, that's just most noticable. Don't get angry and quabble over the meaning of Tool songs. Listen to Schism. That's exactly what it's talking about. I don't know why/what it does for you people, but Tool makes me feel peaceful. I wish we could all feel the same.
  • Ryan from Birmingham, Alit is about a relationship, prob. about Maynards. Some of you said Tool is too deep to write about stupid "normal relationship" stuff, but from what I see its deep enough to have us all argue whether its about the church or in fact a personal matter.
  • Jack from Bloomington, IlI think this is about relationships in general. I at one time looked at this song as a whole but now taking it piece by piece it really has an important message whether dealing between two individuals, groups, or religions. "Fundamental differing" simply means that the most basic, subtle difference can cause a relationship to breakdown. And I've definitely felt that before. Where I've met a girl that connected to me on so many levels, the basic differing of her using her mind and me using my heart to live caused it to end. "I've done the math to know the dangers of our second guessing." Think about this statement. How complicated was math for some of us to figure out? Yes math is nothing more then numbers placed in equations. Yet, our minds twist and bend those numbers in order to try to figure it out. Don't second guess yourself and don't rely on the mind. Take it from your heart and don't look back. Don't second guess yourself.
  • Christian from Boston, MaPlease people, don't be so naive. It's not one of those love stories every other song is about, Tool is better than that.

    It's quite obviously about the evils of religion. All religion does is cause segregation between human beings and this is exactly what this song is about. Everything is toppling, that proves that there is no place for it in this world. Religion just destroys communication, and causes voids in relationships.

    I know this first hand, I had someone I loved and looked up to but then he converted into a full out idiot obsessed with religiona and only religion.
  • Ben from Clemmons, Ndhaha no offense but did you guys look that up?
    the song i also read in an interview sopmewhere or another is about a break up between a guy and girlfriend. its plain and clear. The hamilton guy from new zealand was right. a schism isnt a formal definition as to represent a separations of a church. because first of all look at the bands "religious" views. i wouldnt say theyre outside of an exact belief but theyre not exactlt right wing christians, do you honestly think that they would write a song about the lutherans dividing from the catholics. again this album is about a spiritual nature and one of a good christian nature isnt way youd call a tool type song.
    a Schism can be any separation and you have to read into maynards meanings. when making aenema he didnt write about how to drain ur intestines with some mental concept . . . listen to it again and you can tell its about "supposed lovers"
  • Matt from Belfast, IrelandA schism is a separation between parts originally of the same group, so i believe this is more about the human race in general, and it uses religion to represent the separation
  • Chris from Washington, Wa I think the relationship that Maynard is talking about is that of Martin Luther and the catholic church. "Watch the temple topple over/To bring the pieces back together/Rediscover communication," this line talks about the tower of babble in the bible. Maynard belives that at one point we all belived in one god and that we need to go back to beliving in that one god to rediscover our communication together. "Coldsilence has/A tendancy to/Atrophy any/Sense of compassion," here, Maynard says that the "cold silence" or the distance that different relegions put between each other atrophy's there compassion for one another. Thats basically what the song means to me. Sory for the long essay but thanks for the time.
  • Zeroserj from Cambs, EnglandIt seems to not only be about the relationship between two people but between entire races and civilisations. It definetly has a biblical feel to it, but not in a 'the church has beened ruined' way. It seems to be saying that it never worked in the first place and that before religion,everything was fine. Religion causing the silence between supposed lovers/brothers.
  • Zac from Drexel, MoDave, that is a very good interpretation of this song. I had never looked at it that way.
  • Zac from Drexel, MoThis song is about how you can't have any kind of relationship with anyone if you don't communicate. I think it kind of sends a message to parents that if they don't communicate with their children then they will have no relationship with them.
  • Elliott from Seattle, WaYeah Maynard has stated in several interviews that almost all of the songs on Lateralus are metaphores for human relationships.
  • None from Savannah, Gathis song like most tool songs is ambigiuos in its meaning. It can (and does) talk about how communcation can help a hurt relationship, but it also alludes to and satirizes the Church and how the denominations broke about from each other over petty things like during the Great Schism which seperated the Roman Catholics from the Church of England.
  • Brian from Paoli, InDave you produced the best meaning I have ever heard for this song. I have no clue what it is actually about, but I totally agree with you.

    At first glance this song would appear to obviously be about a relationship probably between a man and woman. And the relationship is falling apart, and the man wants to put it back together. But we all know Tool songs are far more complicated than that, and I will refuse to beleive that is what it's about.
  • Dave from Wilmington, MaAlthough this song is obviously about a relationship breaking down, its not the only thing it is about. The story in the bible about the tower of babilion is about the people who built a tower up to heaven and God knocked the temple over and made everyone speak different languages so they could never do that again. So the "rediscover communication" is about learning to speak all the different languages and repairing a broken relationship.... but thats just my opinion
  • Richard from Hamilton, New ZealandI was under the impression that the song was more of a metaphor for the schism that erupted between Maynard and his fiance. It talks about how he could see it all happening, and how he knew that he and his fiance were compatible, but then communication broke down between them, and he attempted to re-establish it.
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