This is a sweet article with maynard from Tool being interview by a university philosophy professor. Lots of neat ideas maynard expresses, Enjoy!
title: Interview About Philosophy
author: Prof. Christopher diCarlo
"There must be something in common with what we're doing
in Tool which has brought you and I to this point in our lives
where we are having this conversation," said Maynard James
Keenen in on the evening of October the 31st.
Every time I spoke about the commonality between
Maynard's lyrics and how I view the world, how my students
view the world, how other listeners view the world, Maynard
came back to this insightful statement. What follow's are
excerpts from our 75-minute conversation.
Prof.: I'll start with your first two albums, opiate and
undertow. The title of the first ablum is a referance to the
Marx and Engels line "Religion is the opiate of the masses"?
M.: Yes, that's right.
Prof: You seem to have a rather scathing view of Christianity.
M.: My views against Christianity or religion in general are
directed towards the 'middle men'-those who are in power
and use religion as a market force by which to manipulate
human beings for their own personal gain.
Prof: Were there personal experiances in your life in which
you witnessed first account cases of hypocrisy in Christianity?
M: I was raised a Southern Baptist. I witnessed first-hand the
hypocrisy of this particular form of Christianity. But it was a
gradual thing. As I got older, I began to see people claiming
one set of beliefs and acting in ways which directly opposed
Prof: In Jerk-Off you state: "Consequences dictate our course
of action and it doesn't matter what's right. It's only wrong if
you get caught. If consequences dictate my course of action,
I should play God and shoot myself." Consequentialism, one
of the main school's of thought in ethical theory, states that
human's need to focus on the effects of actions in order to
determine whether they are good or bad, right or wrong, etc.
Are you familier with this?
M: No, im not terribly literate. I like to look into things and
read up on them when I can.. Information itself is pure. Take
a knife, for example. You can use it to cut up vegetables,
meat, butter your bread, etc. Or you can use it as a weapon.
The way in which information exists in its many forms leaves
for us the decision as to how it is we wish to use it.
Information itself has a certain purity. Human's have
intetionality. it's humans who decide how it is they wish to
Prof: I have on my office door the lyrics to Stinkfist because I
think it is a very telling statement about what I have called
the "Age of Immdediacy". That is, we want
input/information/pleasure, etc., and we want it quicker,
bigger, faster. Do you think North Americans have finally
been reached in some way by the events of Sept 11? Has the
fist finally been shoved up deep enough to wake us up to
and make us realize that we are not watching a movie any
M: Yes, I would say the people who have been touched most
are the families of the victems. But i'm not sure about the
guys in Iowa, Montana or Arizona who get their information
filtered through CNN. Because to them, information is coming
in... thick with propaganda... all these media guys have hard-
ons because of this war. They can sell more papers,
magizines, keep us glued to the TV longer.
Prof: When I saw you perform at the Air Canada Centre in
Toronto, during your first song, "The Grudge" someone threw
an American flag onto the stage. Immediately, the bassist,
Justin Chancellor, kicked it off to the side where a roadie
grabbed it and took it off the stage.
M: Yea, I wanted to piss on it. The audacity that some
people would assume that we're going to wave the flag and
turn what we believe is a spiritual endeavour focusing on self-
reflection and discovery into some kind of cheesy American
propagandist movement, was the furthest thing from our
Prof: How should people avoid the slanted trappings of the
M: Start by turning off the television.
Prof: .. and then what?
M: Talk to eachother.. you don't have to turn off your
computers because that still allows you to talk to one and
Prof: In Parabola you state that we need to hold on to and
stay inside this holy reality. in contrast to your attacks on
Christianity, how should we interpret the use of the
term "holy" here?
M: Life is to be revered. Few people take the time to realize
how valuable their experiances are at any given time in their
life because we can be snuffed out in the next minute.. This
moment we are having is highly significant.
Prof: In Reflection you talk a good deal about losing or
getting rid of the ego in order to attain some further end.
What is it about the ego that prevents, or in some way,
blocks one from getting some greater end?
M: If you look at the cycles of the moon, it starts as a thin
crescent and then gradually waxes and becomes full; then i
gradually wanes back into another crescent and then is gone.
The moon reflects sunlight like humans reflect information.
We wax and wane and when we become full moons, are ego's
are full. We think we have this knowledge when in fact, the
information we have his pure. And it reflects or shines off of
us, is something we take credit for as though the moon could
take credit for the light it reflects from the sun. We have to
understand that we are ego-less just as the moon is without
light. It and we, are simply reflectors. The ego is not
respondsible for the information."
The members of tool, I was told, rarely take themselves
seriously in terms of their beliefs. They acknowledge a
complex world and are having fun looking at the various wasy
in which we can understand it. "I have very much enjoyed the
last ten years of my life and how much people enjoy what
Tool is doing," said Maynard. "If people can take something
positive from Tool's music and use this for self-reflection and
discovery, great. But im not going to preach to people about
what they ought to know."
Professor diCarlo teaches philosophy at University of Guelph
in Ontario, Canada and uses Tool's lyrics in his in-class