Tool - Parabol & Parabola (Lyrics and Meaning)

EDIT (about "all this, it is an illusion" vs. "all this pain is an illusion"): This website has uploaded the "official lyrics" (i.e. the lyrics provided by Maynard) for all of Tool's music -- -- -- -- Please note what the text on that page says... "Some Tool songs undergo slight lyrical variations in each performance; Maynard's own typed versions are shown here, uncorrected, to provide you with a straight-from-the-source guide to what he has said / might say next time." "Most of these transcriptions came straight from the Man's computer. How he writes his lyrics/poetry and then translates that into music is up to him. Think of them as photographs; you don't look exactly the same in every picture, but it is still you." ...It's important to understand that even the "official lyrics" are not always 100% accurate depictions of what Maynard sings/sang. Now, in this video, I wrote "all this pain is an illusion" the first time the phrase in question comes up ( 2:58 ). However, as many of you have pointed out, the three subsequent times the phrase comes up, I wrote "all this, it is an illusion". I have to admit that I (foolishly) didn't check the official lyrics to these two songs before I created & posted this video; if I had done that, I might have written "pain" every time (and not written "it" at all) -- but not necessarily. I wrote "it" instead of "pain" the latter 3 times the phrase is said because to my ears, that's what it *sounds like* Maynard is saying. This *may* be due, in part, to my initial understanding of those lyrics being what I've transcribed in the video (i.e. "all this, it is an illusion" x 3). So, while it's quite possible (*potentially* probable) that I'm wrong & that the phrase is "all this pain is an illusion" all four times throughout the song, I maintain that it's also quite possible (*potentially* less possible) that AT LEAST one of the four times, the phrase is "all this, it is an illusion". That's still what I hear. But equally importantly (if not more so), I would strongly argue that the difference between the lyrics I've written (with "pain" x 1 & "it" x 3) and the "official lyrics" (with "pain" x 4) is not meaningfully significant, regarding its effect on the message(s) suggested by the lyrics. And if I'm wrong about that, too, then... Um... I don't know.. dishonor is upon me, and I would take this video down & reupload a corrected version if it were a more drastic mistake. --- --- --- *HERE IS THE ANALYSIS/MEANING* --- All of the lyrics in Parabol and Parabola seem to be talking about the nature of being a human, experiencing this reality we have found ourselves in. Many of the lyrics are straight-forward, once you understand this general theme. In these songs, Maynard (singer) depicts a hopeful and enlightened view of the nature of humanity and existence. He describes reality and this general, bizarre experience of existence as "holy". He describes his (or possibly our) current state as "so familiar and overwhelmingly warm", as well as "wide-eyed" (I would argue meaning "open to and curious about this experience we are having"). When the lyrics refer to "this body" (as in "this body makes me feel eternal"), it appears that they're referring to a sort of "collective consciousness" or "holy being" that the speaker is part of. The lyrics urge the listener to "hold on", and "stay inside" this body - I'm not entirely sure how to interpret this. Knowing the theme of the song is a broad one of enlightenment and heightened awareness, I would argue that the "body" to which Maynard is referring is one of enlightenment specifically, and not a more inclusive "body" that all humans are part of. The lyrics imply that it is possible to be outside of the body. In telling the listener to "stay inside", Maynard is urging them to retain that sense of holiness and divinity in this reality that we're experiencing, rather than becoming lost in any of the fleeting or menial occupations of our lives. The lyrics encourage the listener to recognize their very strange opportunity to merely "be alive and breathing" as a "holy gift". A "parabola" is a relatively common shape. Google image search "parabola" to see one, as the image is hard to explain. Or, alternatively, graph the function y=x² to get a basic, upward-facing parabola. Definition of "parable" -- a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson Feel free to ask questions or give other input!

Experience Music
Hi everyone. I just want to make a comment here to respond to a specific sentiment many of you express, on this video as well as all my other Tool videos. This is the general sentiment: *"There is no one meaning to the song. The point of the music is for you to interpret it in your own way."* If I were to go back in time to when I first started making these videos, I would have tried to avoid using the word "meaning" in the titles -- maybe replace it with something like, "analysis". Because I'm fairly certain the point of contention here is what people think I'm claiming to be doing when I provide lyrical analyses for these songs. My objective when I analyze the lyrics of a song and do a write up is to figure out what Maynard meant with the lyrics he wrote -- and I think almost all of us can agree that people write lyrics/poetry/prose with specific ideas & intents in mind. In fact, that's the very function language serves -- conveying ideas. Very, very few people write songs like this one without having concepts in their head to begin with, which they then use to write words, phrases, etc. in order to convey those concepts. That's what I'm doing right now, as I write this comment. That's what I do when I write poetry/prose/etc. That's what you do when you write your comments, and whatever else you write. So when I suggest that I'm providing a sort of objective analysis of the lyrics, what I'm trying to do is come up with an educated guess as to what Maynard _meant_ with the lyrics he wrote -- an educated guess as to what general themes Maynard was writing about when he developed the lyrics. Does that mean I'm right? No. But if you admit that we agree about the function of language, & we agree that Maynard had specific ideas he was trying to express when he was writing his lyrics, then we agree that a "correct"/"accurate"/whatever analysis of the lyrics is something that _can be completed_, and that it's possible for an analysis to have varying degrees of accuracy/correctness (a 100% "accurate"/"correct" analysis being one that perfectly describes the ideas Maynard was attempting to express through his words). That is what I have attempted to do in the descriptions of my Tool videos. Now, does that mean you can't connect with the song in a way that's completely different than what some sort of semi-'scientifically-conducted' logical analysis leads us to believe the song is about? *Absolutely not.* What you take from the song is genuine, and nobody can take that from you. Quite literally. Music (especially music that can touch us so deeply) is something we bond to. We take it, we incorporate it into our lives -- and in a very real way, it becomes something new when that happens. Maybe that "something new" has a different meaning/significance to you than Maynard had for it -- in fact, that's almost certainly the case for most people (to varying degrees). I know pure objectivity is a virtually impossible state for humans to be in when they're taking in information of any kind, and I'm not saying that I've achieved that feat. But that's what I have _tried_ to do, when writing up the lyrical analyses on my videos (I know my own views inevitably seep into my analyses to some degree). The way I (aim to) perform these lyrical analyses is purely logic-based, using only the words themselves to formulate arguments for or against certain potential ideas/concepts Maynard was conveying with a song as a whole, or with some specific portion of a song. If some bit of a song's lyrics appears to be a reference, I'll do a little digging into the potential reference being made. I read other people's interpretations of these songs, and I look at how well the lyrics themselves serve as evidence to back up various things people suggest the songs are about. I also sometimes find that certain pieces of a song's lyrics can basically be logically incompatible with certain suggested "meanings". This has been a little harder to explain clearly than I'd thought it would be (I didn't intend to write this much lol... sorry guys). I feel like what I've written is at least a decent explanation. I might be back later to edit this comment... or just make a new one instead. I hope this explanation eases some frustrations. I know many of you have been through the comment sections on my Tool videos more than once, so you may well have seen, but there have always been - and there continue to be - a whole lot of people upset about this issue. I've responded to a handful of those comments in the past, but I've never written anything as comprehensive as this. And few people ever saw the responses I gave to those comments in the past. I'm gonna pin my comment here to the top of the comment section. Hopefully this wall of text does some good. :) Love you guys. Side note: another Tool video may be happening soon. But also maybe not. Who knows, really? Not me.
Swapnil Pathak
over thinking over analysing separates the body from the mind.
These songs have such a strong spiritual meaning. I think you all might be missing it. You must look into the metaphysical to understand. That pain and fear are an illusion in a reality that is an illusion brought out by the physical dimension. We are all light and sound. We exist in infinity. Just look at the art work. And pay close attention to lyrics. It will be hard to perceive the true meaning without first understanding who you are and where you came from. The answer can only be found inside of you. You must travil Inwards into the mind and unlock the The consciousness connection between the brain and the heart. When you can do this the things you will perceive will be astonishing
all this PAIN is an illusion
4:31 eargasm of the year
Cristian Sosa
Dude I love how you edited the video. Truly awesome, perfect to explain what's being said in this amazing song.
Timothy Janes
the basic premise of these songs are simple. parabol has to do with the spirit we are, the divine One, taking a form it has many times, a physical body. Parabola expands upon this theme. this reality result of divine creation. it is holy, and experiencing it is a holy experience. life is a holy experience. our spirit chooses to be here and now. we know we are an eternal spirit and the pain of life is an illusion. Parabola also describes the process we take of weaving the tapestry our lives around each experience we have one line sums up the meaning the best: "Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing"
epilepsy warning
The meaning of this song is really simple. He's just saying that his body reminds him that he's not going to live forever, so he needs to embrace his time on earth and make the best of it.
The lyrics make perfect sense if you are familiar with The eastern esp Hindu concept of birth and rebirth. we are a brief period of consciousness between the darkness and the darkness. We make sure to erase our memories of being alive upon each death so as to experience life a new each time just as we erase the memory of our spirits whilst "In this holy reality, in this holy experience". We are all God acting out different parts in a great play. We often get a feeling that there is more to life the universe and everything. Thats the remnants of memories that we are all actually God.
Ben Spruce
'The body' in the lyrics is very much the individual human body. 'All this pain is an illusion': illusory physical and mental pain suffered by the body and mind which can be overcome (thru opiate use/spiritual enlightenment). The song is an exploration of Gnostic principles: the noisy bit at the end is an abstraction of the Lateralus album art... as the layers of the physical and spiritual body are peeled away by Gnostic enlightenment then God is at the centre. By God, I mean the driving force of the universe, not the evil God of Abraham as defined in Gnosticism. Anyway... that's just one interpretation; your mileage may vary.
Respect for the work put into the video. The transitions and timing are awesome
jimmy wolfy
Excellent song and you're close. He's referring to the soul being eternal. And barely remembering who or what came before aka what the soul occupied before this precious moment choosing to be here right now. And it is up for debate but when you become very enlightened by studying all this stuff and then you find an inkling that you're just going to be incarnated again it makes it very tempting to leave. But you have to hold on stay inside and recognize it as a holy gift none of this has anything to do with orthodox religion it's all esoteric ancient knowledge. A lot of Maynards it songs are like this deeply ingrained with ancient knowledge he's obviously a lover of philosophy
grewn d
I once heard Maynard talk about the healing power of music. I'd like to think that regardless of what evils have been committed while veiled in religion, Maynard has come to accept spiritually. Much more than any one theology has tried to explain and we are eternal but we should relish this moment in this form. I'm doing so more and more
Kevin Simmerman
I'm sorry cardinalbaseballer but you did such a fucking amazing job on all these lyric videos. Good work and thanks!
correct me if I am wrong but I always thought it was, "feeling eternal all this pain is an illusion" not "feeling eternal all this is an illusion"
jarvis knight
everytime I listen to this song I take something new from it...but your lyrics ..sighs...brought me to a new level.
Jeremy Clark
One Love, One Fate, One Destiny. Consciousness has but one purpose. Unity.
Hamburger Dungon
Based on what I know, this song goes hand-in-hand with the overall theme of this album. Referring back to the song Lateralus, Maynard talks about swinging and spiraling. An upward Parabola is in a swinging motion. The song(s) are talking about the first stages of reaching out, expanding your body and mind. This is partially why this song comes first in the re-ordered arrangement of this album "The Holy Gift", it's because in the journey to the spiritual pinnacle, this is the first step. P.S. I'm word stupid today, so this is a very simple way of half describing what I mean.
Locust Dawn
Love the video, but you might want to put a warning for those with epilepsy. Spiral in, spiral out. Cheers
alia gilmore
Tool makes me cry hahaha
Lucas Janiak
I love the outro in this song.
ling ling
It was amazing how he made this.
Paintball Martyr
I think we should just listen to these songs and not overthink them... If we give them a meaning, it probably won't even be the intended meaning. I just like to listen to the music and think about awesome stuff.
Fred Ottley
The deep meaning behind everything Maynard writes makes me wonder if hes an enlightened being.
Brian Griffin
OMG ....this comment thread. Typical youtube bullshit. guys, life is short, things are getting bad for people. People are still starving in a country where all "food" slowly being patented. (monsanto pfizer etc.) there is enough pain in life for us to be tearing each other up on a music video thread, where the message is to love yourself and others. cmon guys ... peace and love
Müge Yıldız
i think it's a DMT experience what he all sings about... amazing music, amazing lyrics.
negate hate increase peace
this song always gives me tingles even everyday for the last 15 or so years. I shamelessly play air drums and lead sing in my car everywhere. It's a pretty great show if you happen to be at the stop light with me😂
Theriver Jordan
I love how you presented the lyrics. Do you think you could do one for Jambi?Amazing. Thank you
You do absolutely fantastic editing for these lyric videos, i was just expecting the words to come up like usual, but NOPE. And the transition from the calm voice into the guitar and the bass and the drums was perfect. Keep up the good work.
lyrics are wrong. "Pain" is an illusion. "Not it is"
Berealzalot Dosays
I don't want to wait anymore for the new Tool record. I'm owed it from them. I'm an original fan from 92 and I feel I should be one of the first to get it when its released. I hope I GET a t-shirt too. I am an original charter member of their fan club. hope to be President of the fan club soon. Maynard is a genius, Danny is the best drummer alive Jones and chancellor just bring more high iqs into the band. I wanna be like them when I grow up....ok, please every tool fan read this. too many of ya sound like this in way or the other. don't get me wrong, I love their music but these guys don't owe me or you shit. if they never make another record just enjoy what they already gave us.
Maca Man
I use to not like tool..... NOW I DO! :)
Juliesunshine 333
This is my Funeral song. I love it. Thank you Friend, for making it even more meaningful than it already was. You rock.
Mar Motas
excellent work. thanks bro. A great fan for a great band.
This is the song that got me interested in listening to Tool . I played this song 3 times a day for three years. It is a great wake up and shower song. Rusty Cage by Soundgarden is my other shower song. Parabola is my second favorite song of all time. It reveals a lot about the band (or so it would seem) . I try to only listen to bands with conscious lyrics. It sucks for me to know the lyrics and not have any tool fans to talk to about them with (even at concerts) . I would consider Tool fans "as stupid as they come" . I have only known them to be the most drunk and drugged out idiots I have ever known. Maybe society has become drunk as a whole. I do live in a cave.
Cristian Maripangue
the best song of all is exciting You have a new sub
For me, I've often in life neglected mortality as a burden and desired frequently to end it myself. This song, makes me regret the night spent doing blow, the nights spent with some one worthless, the time wasted in my time here as a living mortal being. By living on Eternal, I am bound between the energy we create continuing here whether anyone remembers our name or not or the belief of a continued reincarnation/single being that we progress through many version of a life/consciousness.
Jeff Karabinchak
Im 47 and a huge fan, will always be, but latley, after jmk became a wine snob, ( i sell wine and liqour for a living) he needs to keep h I s mouth shut and get back ti what there great at!! Controversey is good press and keeps u relevant. But you dont need that, you wkll always be rekevant ti your fans And, maynard. Stop treating your fa s like were idiots, youve gitten smug my old freind!! Please stop
love the soft intro and then we GET IT ON!!
Lady Bella Holmes
l<3 much time & energy was given,ThankYou
Thank you so much that there's no blip or break when Parabol segues into Parabola I love you man
Sai Harsha
These people rock. i've got a different view of life
Norville Rogers
I sang this intro to my twins for the first 3 years of their life. Amazing bedtime song lol
Night Al
Great job, but I swear that he says " all this pain is an illusion " throughout the song
Viktor Orlov
Nice work with lyrics! I'm waiting for more :)
Its all about his Momma..Truthfully. She had a lot of health issues Maynard Loved her deeply..her passing broke his heart..
Lyrics are wrong buddy. its "all this pain is an illusion." 
craneinsane USA
I might seem like a tinfoil hat wearing mutherfukker, but is is possible that the great Maynard, holds secrets and is trying to tell us, "the fans" what we're not supposed to learn for ourselves, in his lyrics? Perhaps Illuminati secrets.... They've spent more time in court than the studio with the label trying to suppress their music. It wasn't a fucking management or producer dispute or whatever either. That's bullshit! Maynard is extremely intelligent, (He did attend West Point) and will not be a puppet for anyone! Tool is my favorite band. Their lyrics have meaning and I believe those lyrics are for us to decrypt, decipher, and analyze (I just said anal). There's a lot going on in this world and I believe there are people trying to open our eyes to the truth out there.... Or did I take way too many drugs in my younger years?....
Ertan Saygi
Thanks for these awesome videos man :) I really appreciate it.
Aj Bála
Amazing job on this channel! You rock!
i think the 1st "So familiar and overwhelmingly warm" and "We barely remember what came before this precious moment," could be a reference to birth, right? you don't remember birth ("precious moment") etc.
Jesse Allard
I never post comments, but I'd like to let you know that I've seen a lot of your lyric videos, and I absolutely love the way you make them. Keep it up!!!
Jewle Heck
Is this an art project or a lyric video ?
Spaded Spaded
Eevee XD
Next of u haven't done this yet, you should do (my favorite) Jambi
Kaleb Peffers
I'm very impressed by your videos. You do a great job interpreting the lyrics in your descriptions and illustrate the lyrics on screen in a very appealing matter. You've without question earned my subscription to your videos. Thanks, man.
I think Maynard is trying to get across the concept that reality is holy (in that it is the only thing we have to hold onto).
ahmed hadded
if only that guitar solo from 3min was longer it would've been my favorite eveeeeer
Kyle Joel
The only reality is now
the parabola is the symbol associated with "ein sof or ayn sof in kabalah, is understood as god prior to his self manifestation in the production of any spiritual realm....".
Adrian Massey
Genius. The whole band. Geniuses
What program did you use to edit this ? Great job, btw ;)
The way you visualize the lyrics is perfect. Thank you
Kevin Brown
Follow the pattern of Tool Sequence: tracks 6, 7, 5, 8, 4, 9, 13, 1, 12, 2, 11, 3, and 10 for a different experience.
Chandler Rogers
Parabol, I believe and many others, basically describes, cuddling.
Topher N
+cardinalbaseballer I'd be interested in you doing a video and lyric meaning to Puscifer's 'The Humbling River'
Yusuf Kaya
Put 4:02 - 4:22 in infinite loop ! And say "feeling eternal All this, it is an illusion"
JD Blatz
Beautiful and heartbreaking message all in one!!! Love Tool!!!! 👍👍👈
your lyric videos are best I've seen, I love how you add visuals almost to the lyrics it really ads to the experience to tools music. Good job.
Rick Hernandez
+experience [official]
I fcking LOVE this song :] Thx for great work with lyrics and stuff:)
Colombian 34
this video is so fucking good, thanks so much
Dylan Mencer
I think he is speaking of being in the womb
some of what the song is describing atleast in my opinion is the step we take right before we are brought here into this reality. known as lives between lives. doc micheal newton first discovered this while working with patients under hypnosis. there was book written my richard martini on this subject called flipside. thousands of people remember after death being in a place right before their next lives and having to make a choice on what kinda life and experience they will have. hence when maynard sings about the choice to be here , off topic but some say consciousness needs experience. and what better way than a vessel like humans playing out all types of experiences in life . whether it be growing up in africa with hardly nothing to eat , or being bill gates with all the money in the world .. to being a care giver to a murderer. its all experience and when our current story is over , we start another .. good or bad . cause in the end its all experience.
Ktm Alpha
In 50 years from now , maybe we will understand this masterpiece!!
Ginna Garza
My friend passed away 2 years ago and yesterday was his 2nd birthday since he passes. He was a giant tool fan, tattoo, saw them live every time he could. He introduced me to tool and regularly communicated with me only in tool lyrics. After a dream with him in it last night, I spent the day grieving and contemplating death, my own and the death of everyone I love, the whole time I had parabola stuck in my head all day. It has new meaning to me now. Rip bub
36 weeks pregnant and bawling while listening to this song. Whole new meaning for me. <3
Francis Aguilera
I always thought, that the body is a prison cell, to the soul.
Great video man...I appreciate it
This song just hits me like a freight train everytime I hear it. So epic!
Stacie Digby
I agree:) pretty awesome.
Sahab Mas
to my ears it's always "all this PAIN is an illusion" and never "all this IT is an illusion"... although I can see that the second way would also make sense.
Lotus Algorithm
"Over analyzing separates the body from the Mind"
your awesome. i know tool is meant to be individually interpreted but its always nice to see a (very) intelligent other opinion. subd
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Goddamn perfect channel and great visuals, just make sure to have epilepsy warnings when u need them, just in case.
Chills 4:30
Shaun Frost
First few lyrics gave me goosebumps
sky kole
all this pain is an illusion* good job btw
very "Buddhist" tone to this relaxing
hate the font love the music
YinMn Keenan
great job!! <3
I love that music is subjective and all these interpretations are equally valid. But as a transplant patient... holy SHIT. The lyrics take on a completely different meaning for me, that I get to keep to myself.
Elkin Cardona
Great analysis, I'm agree. But (from my inner convictions) this lyrics will be not accurate as it deserves to be, if we don' explains from two basic concepts. First: re encarnation, and second: God (universal consciousness) are everything, we, it... everything. So, if God is inside we, we are experiencing divinity, or if you please, God. Maybe thats why lyrics says "reminds me thet I am not alone in this body" Thanks for this great and lucid analysis, and for keeping opened comment section. 🙏
Great job on the video, but I feel your meaning is a little bit off. I believe Maynard is describing one of he experiences with DMT. I speak from experience, and I know this song made much more sense to me after I had a DMT experience. The Parabola refers to the "dimension" DMT projects your mind to while under the influence. Read or listen to the words of Terrence McKenna and this shall put some of this into perspective. Good job anyways dude, thoroughly enjoyed! Keep it up, enjoying your series!
I've been waiting years for this moment...
Melvin Sanders
Tool rocks
Harrison Halicki
Damn. Every new tool song I hear its like a new mental awakening XD