Song of the Day : Parabola by Tool

Sacred Cavern of Life by Trip-Artist

This is one of my favourite songs.

Parabola” is a song by the American rock band Tool, the song was released as the second single from their third studio album Lateralus. It was released in 2002 as a promo only, however, on December 20, 2005, the single was re-released, which includes the song and a DVD containing the music video and an optional “dual” audio commentary on the video by Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys fame. The dual commentary consists of two separate recordings of Biafra’s voice, one playing in each stereo channel. The DVD was released alongside a DVD single for “Schism” as well.

The song is featured on the video game Guitar Hero World Tour. The song was played onboard Space Shuttle mission STS-130, as a wake-up call for astronautRobert Behnken.


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.

Alive, I

In this holy reality, in 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.

Twirling 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.

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

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. (thanks, Tara – San Diego, CA)

Music video

In support of this promo single, a music video was released – clocking in at over ten minutes because of the inclusion of the 3-minute “Parabol” lead-in (a separate track on the album set right before “Parabola”). The last note in “Parabol” can also be heard at the beginning of “Parabola” in Guitar Hero: World Tour. It was directed by Adam Jones and, like other Tool videos, includes several abstract scenes (which can be seen on the single art). These include humanoids meeting and cutting pomaceous fruit, then vomiting a black liquid in a circle. Another scene features interactions between a small stop-motion creature and a human (played by English musician Tricky). The small creature calls out to the man for help but is crushed by The Berry. The man dissects the creature’s body, then wanders into a forest and encounters a leaf that turns into a flaming eye.

The man then sees himself as transparent, with all the internal functions of his body visible. Two flaming eyes appear and begin to fly around his body. As the eyes glide about, lotus flowers symbolizing the “Chakras”, begin to line up in the center of his body. The two flaming eyes then join together on his forehead to form a “third eye” and the man is assimilated into an endless, glowing pattern. The whole sequence could be a visual presentation of a mystical experience called “Kundalini awakening”, in which a mystical energy or force called Kundalini rises through two intertwined channels within the body. The glowing pattern at the end would present an experience of “oneness”, an idea referenced in the lyrics of the song “Reflection” from the same album (“And you will come to find that we are all one mind”).

Painter Alex Grey created the design and was deeply involved in the animation from the beginning of the flaming eye sequence through to the end of the video.

One song, so many interpretations, from the Fibonacci sequence to the Creation. What’s your?


Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Alternative metal, art rock,progressive metal, progressive rock
Years active 1990–present
Labels Tool Dissectional, Volcano, Zoo
Associated acts A Perfect Circle, Green Jellÿ
Members Danny Carey
Adam Jones
Maynard James Keenan
Justin Chancellor
Past members Paul D’Am

image by Trip-Artist

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