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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Ontarion

Date: November, 2001

Transcribed by
Billy Greene (thechicken@mindless.com)


  page: 14
 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 
those views.



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 
behave.


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 
more?


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 
minds.


Prof: How should people avoid the slanted trappings of the 
media?


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 
other.


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 
lectures. 

Posted to t.d.n: 11/18/01 02:21:28