Date: November, 2001
Billy Greene (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Billy Greene (email@example.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