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Lyrical Techniques Conveying Mystic-State Phenomena



Rush lyrics that allude to heavy mystic experiencing and phenomena, and designed to resonate with situations associated with the exploration of LSD.

Rush lyrics as an active trigger designed to work together with LSD. These lyrics were written on the assumption that acid would be reasonably available and utilized, and understood. That has not turned out to be the case. But that is not Rush's fault. These lyrics do work, toward their higher function, in the right conditions. Studying these lyrics amounts to an inventory of altered-state phenomena and perspectives. I am not going to spell everything out in detail; this should be plenty to go on, if you invest a little energy. It is definitely enough to go on if you study your mind, alone, during the long night.

People who are tripping can use this explaination to blow their mind and discover philosophy, and fully develop the mind even beyond the egoic stage that is dominant at this stage in history.

Rush did not invent the acid lyric scheme -- if anyone, the Beatles did, with Rubber Soul way back in '65. Many top-notch innovative bands have used these techniques, including Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, U2 and Slayer. However, after comparing hundreds of songs on many albums through the lyric server, I've concluded that Rush has had the greatest commitment to pointing to the peaks of experiencing. Rush may have the most integrated lyrics of any band, emphasizing recurring themes that lie behind the surface themes. The surface themes cover broad ground, but there is a persistent underlying theme that is the most fascinating and serves a function beyond ordinary entertainment.

These are the most remarkable lyrics -- the ones that do something. They activate the high circuits.
Forget the context. These must be read as out of context as possible. You never saw these words. You have never heard these words.

Lyrics are from the Web Lyric Server http://vivarin.pc.cc.cmu.edu/lyrics.html - http://vivarin.res.cmu.edu/lyrics/r/rush/

The _Rush_ album is excluded from the comprehensive listing I began with to produce this list.

The lyricists are well aware when a word is used in one song, and appears later in another. The later occurrence takes meaning from the earlier usage. The songs are very closely interlinked thematically. Try searching for words such as dust, control, key, up, high, eye, light, rain, bow, pray, city, valley, mountain, river, drink/drank/wine, dawning, night, morning, and compare usages - force, pride, red, lonely, alone

Alternate hearings -- some are unverified, some are definite and crucial, such as "timeless old attraction" sung as "timeless soul attraction". The words actually sung may be different than these, or the utterances might deliberately support additional alternate hearings.

Double-meanings referring to heavy altered state mystic experiencing, the inner battle of reason and will and fate, slave to the truth, driven to sacrifice to worship truth above mortal morality.

This is metaphor and poetry, don't be a blockhead and read literally - penetrate the surface level of meaning.

There is an overlap between the experience of ego death/ego transcendence, and acid-oriented rock. This is where my interest in philosophy joins my interest in mind-blowing rock guitar and electric guitar processing.

People have fixated on narrowly defining "acid rock" as Hendrix and other electric guitar-driven bands of the late 60s. I am forced to come up with a broader term to cover the diverse songs that are "acid rock" in the literal sense -- not "acid rock" as the name of a limited style and genre that happened during only 3 years, but rather, rock songs, in a great variety of styles, in any era. Thus I have to define a new term, "LSD-oriented rock", rather than "acid rock", to mean the following broad category of rock songs. LSD-oriented rock refers to songs with the following typical attributes:

These themes are found not only in psychedelic-era Hendrix and Beatles, but also in many songs of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. I scanned lyrics online, looking for blatant, outstanding instances of combinations of these themes. My lyrics collections are stored away now, but off the top of my head, I found the following LSD-oriented rock songs and albums that are excluded from the nominal "psychedelic rock" or "acid rock" genres:

Albums with the most dense allusions to visionary-state phenomena

A few of the known rock/acid rock albums replete with double-entendres to mystic phenomena in the majority of songs:

Ozzy Osbourne _Diary of a Madman_
Beatles _Rubber Soul_
Metallica _Ride the Lightning_, _Master of Puppets_
Rush _Caress of Steel_, _2112_, _Signals_, _Permanent Waves_
Slayer _Divine Intervention_
Kansas _Point of Know Return_
Led Zeppelin _Physical Grafitti_

My musical preference cuts across the established genres, but with a specific pattern: I like LSD-oriented rock with electric guitar, because it is usually very creative and has a cerebral dimension, whether the groups are conventionally classified as alternative rock, acid rock, psychedelic rock, metal, or punk; and regardless of the era. I don't care too much for heroin rock (Trance, Grunge), Ecstasy rock (Rave), alcohol rock (MOR, Springsteen, Southern Rock), pot rock (Boogie, Reggae), cocaine rock (Eagles), crack rock (Rap, Rap-Metal), absinthe rock (Goth), or speed rock.

The LSD influence is a venerable tradition throughout rock and is not limited to the narrow, time-bound genres of "psychedelic rock" or "acid rock". How important is the pop, LSD-oriented rock tradition for a serious model of ego death, ego transcendence, and mystic altered-state phenomena? The LSD-oriented rock canon provides a Western, technological, modern, contemporary inventory of intense and repeated psychological and perceptual phenomena. This inventory is clearer and expressed in modern, practical language, unlike the previously available reports of mystic altered state phenomena, which suffer from the following limitations:

Rock music uses lights, sounds, and visual art (album covers) to create a rich sensory environment. Music is spread along the time axis, providing concrete material to grasp in order to think about the nature of time. The acid album is more noteworthy than the isolated song -- the album serves as a soundtrack for a trip or journey. Technology-oriented, multimedia rock highlights and elicits sensory distortion and unusual perceptual processes.

So, LSD-oriented rock provides a unique, modern, Western, inventory of reports of the mystic altered-state cognitive phenomena, phenomena which, due to 20th-century chemistry, are maximally intense and easily repeatable. The intense mystic altered state has been put on-tap for modern thinkers, and is especially expressed in the cultural context of intense rock, driven by electric guitar. That is why mere pop music -- LSD-oriented rock -- is important for a serious, rational explanation of the experience of ego death, ego transcendence, and mystic altered-state phenomena: this music genre provides a rich, consistent inventory of subjective psychological phenomena that are encountered regularly in the mystic altered state. Having a clear inventory of phenomena, we can construct a theory that explains and interrelates the observed phenomena.

Double-entendres are coded into rock lyrics so that they are revealed only during the visionary state.

Drug use is what you make of it. The great mind makes great use of drugs -- for example, the Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Rush. The feeble, average, uncultivated mind is unable to create anything with drugs except vague, incohate noises, and cannot fathom how a great mind could produce lofty coherence from the seemingly overwhelming depths of unformed possibilities, possibilities that restlessly recombine in the mystic altered state that some call 'vision-logic'.

Rush lyrics revolve around double-entendres that allude to the psychological phenomena encountered in the mystic or psychedelic altered state. To prove this for the Rush newsgroup, I would have to define what those phenomena are. When people in this newsgroup say "I don't recognize any allusions to LSD," that lack of recognition carries little or no weight, because they don't know what the cognitive effects of LSD are. So of course they can't recognize the allusions when the lyrics dwell obsessively on themes of loss of control, being taken over by another power, the pursuit of freedom in the face of challenges to it, warping and blurring and waving of the visual field, tingling fingers and nerves, and so forth. These allusions are coded such that they unfold before you if and only if you are in the mystic altered state. The lyrics are constructed so that they resonate with the cognitive phenomena unique to the mystic state.

"Bastille Day" is not only about the French Revolution. "The Necromancer" is not only an allusion to Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings."

In the mystic state of dissociative cognition, when the mental habits are suspended, you recognize the presence of another layer that alludes to a subject of immediate concern to the mid-70's audience. There is no dispute about the explicit, surface meaning. There is a deeper meaning, or another layer that is "hidden" in that it was encoded with altered-state meanings which come out with the listener receives the signals in the altered state. You recognize no such layer -- but you might lack the decoding state, or the theory that can be brought back to civilization from the frontier that is that encoding-and-decoding state. To crack the code, change the mode. Then will you find data overload.

"The Fountain of Lamneth" is not just about the search for meaning in life.

Now that you have climbed the highest, specific, mountain -- the peak experience described in "No One at the Bridge".

"Cask of 43" refers not just to "wine" as we know it. "Bacchus Plateau" -- Bacchus is Roman god of wine, or "wine". This means an attitude plateau having to do with ongoing LSD use. Wine was often mixed with herbs. Because water was often suspect, wine was drunk often. It was used as a general medium to deliver a great variety of substances. Inebriation does not necessarily refer to plain alcohol inebriation. Historically, "wine" can mean wine with psychoactive additives. Compare absinthe, which is essentially 151 alcohol combined with THC and other psychoactives.

The "pentagram" which appears for the first time in their _2112_ album cover is more than the symbol for the Red Star of the Solar Federation. It represents any collectivist mentality. It has an obvious implication for Communist totalitarianism, the ruthless crushing of the human spirit.

It can refer to the loss of the power of the individual in collectivism, and also the loss of power of the individual in the mystic encounter of transcendent unity.

"The Twilight Zone" is based on two t.v. episodes from that show, but refers to more.

At the Rush sites, you'll just find superficially accurate information on the meaning of many Rush songs based on interviews of the band members themselves as well as others. The band members are unreliable; they will only admit of mundane meanings. They deliberately obscured the psychedelic layer of meaning in the lyrics so that it would only unfold during an acid trip. Since they went to the trouble to hide the meaning in the lyrics, they are not about to reveal the meaning to anyone who asks in a public interview.

The best children's entertainment unfolds itself more for the adults in the audience than for the children. It entertains and edifies the various levels of sophistication in the audience, and speaks to their concerns. You can see this in _Alice and Wonderland_, _The Simpsons_, _The Wizard of Oz_, and The Beatles. Good art is that which keeps unfolding new meanings, the more you delve. Rush is great philosophical rock because if you are not yet looking for philosophy, you can rock out to it. But if you are concerned with the big questions and the highest encounters with the truth about our hidden inner nature, then you can rock out and philosophize with Peart, comparing your non-ordinary experiences as well as the more obvious, public concerns.

The cask of '43 is an acid double-entendre, an allusion to LSD. Albert Hofmann discovered and synthesized LSD in 1943 in Basil, Switzerland and Sandoz Labs. To "draw another goblet" is to conduct another LSD session of grappling with self-guidance power.

"Draw another goblet" is an acid allusion, , not an actual term used in the acid community.

It is not an actual allusion. Neither is it a coincidence. LSD reveals more meaning in anything, whether or not extra meaning was deliberately packed in so as to resonate with LSD. To determine if a piece of art is deliberately communicating in a special way to trippers, the trick in interpreting is to look for the density of such allusions. On nitrous oxide, you will find cosmic meaning in even a candy wrapper, or in an Elvis song about going to the preacher in the wedding chapel. Such potential meanings are indeed there to be unfolded by the mystic genius state of mind. However, it's all a matter of density. You must look at the number of double-entendre allusions to altered state phenomena contained in each verse, song, and album, to find the density of potential allusions. When the density of potential allusions in a song, album, or repertoire is very high, then you recognize an intelligent, deliberate signalling -- the allusions were deliberately encoded, awaiting the matching decoding algorithm. When you tune through the radio dial, you recognize the intelligible signals, rather than saying, "what a coincidence! That static happens to be arranged, by coincidence, into what would appear to be intelligible English!"

It's a matter of pattern recognition, when one pattern is superimposed on another.

"My gaze is caught and I am helpless; mesmerized"
-- an allusion to the loss of power of self-steering, and sense of being trapped in a vortex that leads inexorably to ego-death. This is the Zen feeling -- the controlling-ego homunculus is caught in its own trap of logic.

"Scream out desperation, but, no one cares to hear." Ego death is the most horrific and astonishing and marvellous experience. To fathom hell or soar angellic, just take a pinch of psychedelic.

Would Rush endorse taking anything which takes over the will, as being a good thing? Yes -- not a "good" thing, but a fascinating, most profound thing.

Thus, their emphasis and fascination with Rand, the promoter of ego power. While she is right, in certain realms, she promotes ego so absolutely that she is emotionally attached to it. She thinks that ego is a simple, absolute reality. But actually, ego is distorted -- partly false and illusory. Finding this out, in an actual encounter with that part of mysticism which is true, is rape and rapture of you insofar you identify yourself as identical with the ego and its power of will that it seems to directly command.

The sentiments expressed in Freewill and Roll the Bones - one of the themes Rush has explored is taking your destiny into your own hands and being guided by your own will. Acid gives exactly the opposite sensation, which is why it is fascinating.

Rush wrote the songs because they are obsessed with the problems of securing a solid foundation for the ego's power, against the awesome force of the experience of mystic cancellation of ego. Freewill is could hardly be louder in its ambivalence. "A planet of playthings, we dance on a string, of powers we cannot perceive." See the cover of _Farewell to Kings_ -- they pose a question: are we, too, puppets? Freewill is as much a question and a problem that is put to you, to us, to me. Do you believe in free will? Do you think that you are rather a puppet? What does your own personal experience.... and reason, tell you? It's your problem. Rush solves no problem for you, unless you take them as ones to do your thinking for you. Do you believe in free will, just because some stupid band told you that they have reached that conclusion? They have not supplied us with a hoped-for answer; all they have done is to point out a puzzle, and render freedom problematic. They bring a problem and a question, not a solution and an answer.

The entire story of the necromancer -- about being controlled externally and experiencing your will as being out of your own control. "Stripped of will and soul." This is a standard LSD experience. This theme would hardly occur to an unexperienced lyricist.

Most of us do not vividly and fully encounter this inability to act. But it especially occurs in the altered state: the experience of being a helpless player, a slave, and of being forced to submit some power above and beyond ourselves.

While "everyone has their own interpretation" sounds fine and democratic, I am the only person who has and puts forth a highly structured, explicit, and definite interpretation... I am the only one who claims that there is a single, definite, underlying theme: Rush lyrics are, above all, double-entendres and allusions to the highest human experiences: the standard, mystic altered-state phenomena, that naturally connect to the core of religion, philosophy, and psychology.

In the common state of consciousness or cognition, the theme of control occurs merely in a weak and degraded form.

If a theme is found only in the altered state, it is a pretty "useless" theme for real life. If altered states start up new themes that are totally separate from what is found in real life, would that not be the antithesis of being connected to "the core of religion, philosophy and psychology"? Yes -- enlightenment is useless and the most profound realization.

A timeless theme of mystic philosophy is that the common mode of experiencing is "less real" than the encounter with the Higher, the One, the True Self that is everything. The lower world is asleep in the dream of separateness and the isolated, self-powered autonomous ego who defines its own fate.

Mystic experiencing is "esoteric" (personal, inner, and hidden) religion. Worship and ritual is "exoteric" (social, external, and visible) religion. You could make similar distinctions for philosophy and psychology. Psychologists including Charles Tart propose "state-specific psychology". Established psychology and cognitive science are half-conscious minds studying how the half-conscious mind works.

Acid rock is concerned with individual pride of self-determination, a modern, egoic mode of psyche that we didn't have back in the days of divine kings. The soaring eye, flying by night, leaving yourself behind. Unreality, mental similacrum of freedom and responsible agency. Terror, apprehension, fear of realization of powerlessness, as the will threatens to turn against itself. Loss of control as personal sovereign will is perceived as a product of the universe rather than some inner ego entity. Taken over by the higher hand outside the train of time. Eating humble pie. Hero loses pride but wins higher understanding by surrendering to almighty fate. Slave of truth. Predetermination. Pride before the fall. Individual free power raised up fully, to be dashed into the dust, as the sense of freedom is revealed to be an epiphenomenon projected by the predetermined block universe. Yet life, and semblance of personal sovereign power of will, remains. Commitment to teaching what has been taught. After this revelation, motivation and joy is lost; epiphany brings despair. Despair is worked through and fully experienced. Open receptiveness to the future, rigged as it must be. Universal fatal Fake freedom, for the sake of separation between creatures, and to make love and the human adventure possible. Woe, as fun becomes terror and deepest regret, but it's too late to win against fate. Sorrow, regret; love and nonduality, continued support of individual freedom, such as it is. Commitment to both The Enlightenment from king to ego, and Enlightenment from ego to Truth. Helplessly frozen and emprisoned in spacetime, all is prearranged. Guilt, morality, and judgement are logically incoherent; morality is itself the sin and the lie that goes along with the sense of inner freedom to be your own self-steersman, captain of your ship. Loss of self-control and responsibility. Surrender, cry out to be saved from transgressing your will, accept the mode of illusion and logical incoherence, thus narrowly avoiding having to raise the sacrificial blade as a slave of conscious predetermination. Everything is rigged, including your surrender. This is truth and fact, like it or not, but only a personal confrontation with these things through appropriate technologies of poetry and cognition can show a person this and prove it in action, forcing a show of kneeling prayer and contrite submission to Truth, the master of all time in which you are caught, caught in the ticking trap, laughed at by time.

Got you in a stranglehold, baby; there's gonna be a showdown, tonight, the longest night; there's a killer on the road his brain is squirming like a toad; the killer is you and the killer is me, and it's making me feel like I've never been born. Sorry, but - the news is out, they've finally found me I'm a wanted man - hang man is coming down from the gallows and I don't have very long. Now I'm swinging -- swinging from the gallows pole. Mama, I just killed a man - put a gun against his head, pulled the trigger now he's dead -- too late, everybody, life has just begun, and now you've gone and thrown it all away. He's just a poor boy from a poor family; spare him his life from this monstrosity - LET HIM GO! Meet me, Jesus, meet me in the middle of the air, and if my wings should fail me Lord please meet me with another pair: Oh Saint Peter at the gates of heaven, won't you let me in - I never did no harm, I never did no wrong, I never thought I'd do anybody no wrong, no not once, oh lord deliver me - all the wrong I've done, you can deliver me, Lord, I only wanted to have some fun! There's an angel on my shoulder, in my hand a SWORD of gold, let the music be YOUR MASTER, will you HEED THE MASTER'S CALL?- oh Satan and man - it will only only DRIVE YOU MAD

Key themes of lyrical allusions to mystic dissociative phenomena

New morning

morning, new day, sunrise, dawn, all things are new, sky grow pale, rising sun, brighter than the sun that's rising, when all the world's asleep, dreams turn to nightmares, good morning

Time stoppage

time, stopped, still, slow, stand still, freeze, suspended animation, permanent, forever and ever, frozen in time, somewhere in time, no time, 25 o'clock, time stands still, each watch I smash, time has come today

Prayer for help

pray, prayer, supplication, cry out, call out, knees, bow, save me, stop me, help me, too far, too much, SOS, it's more than I can take, dire straits, flirting with disaster


see, eyes, awareness, light, vision, shine, 3rd eye, look through, see through you, flash, blinded, swallowing colors of the sound I feel, see by a different light, in the light, your gold dress is all I can see, seek the gold, in the camera eye


shaking, shivering, trembling, shake, shook, vibrations, electricity

Plastic time-frame perception

reeling by on celluloid

Speech disruption

tongue-tied, speechless, dumb, communication breakdown, confusion, fool on the hill, don't even know my own name, now that you know who you are, the killer who, feeling like I'm dying, tell me who I am

Blurred/wavy vision

see through the haze, blur, fog, embryo, crystal spectacles, obscured by clouds, obscured, blurry vision, mist, misty, see through your blurry sight, drip right down in your eyes, underwater, seas, in the sea, under the sea, sea of madness, under the ocean, watch the sun rise from the bottom of the sea, looking through glass, behind the waterfall, my watering eyes, beneath the waves, prism eyes, out of focus, belladonnic haze


revelation, revealed, secret, hidden


These four walls are closing in, inside these walls, listening to the walls inside


smashed, broken, fragmented, split, in two, making love with his ego, in pieces, apart, cell of awareness, tide pools, breaking, my body below, my wandering body, shatter the illusion of integrity, waves, twisted, squirming, bend, rubber, plastic, the shape you've put me in, changes, going through changes, strange changes, living in a wiggly world, rearrange me, garden starts to rearrange, mountains move before my eyes, moving pictures, imagination like a bird on the wing, physical graffiti


steel, blade, sword, cut


empty, hollow, hole, echo, vacant, missing, take you/me away, let the sound take you away, spaced without a trace, silence so loud, there's no one there, there's nobody home, wish you were here, fixing a hole, so easily called away

Unity of self and world

melt, unity, together, disappear into the crowd, all together

Going away

farewell, the end, go away, bye, gone, disappear, goodbye, lost, lost inside the mind, sucked up into his mind, hello/goodbye, vanishing girl


death, dead, all dead, die, dying, hangman, hanged, gallows, guillotine, killed, killer, showdown, no one knows I'm alive, you're killing yourself, the killer in me/you, don't fear the reaper, the reaper is you/me, I don't live today, now it's time to die, farewell to kings, is this not dying

End of the world

the end, Armageddon, planet earth is through, Gabriel blow your horn

Fate, freedom, and determinism

will, free, freedom, choice, fate, destiny, luck, superstition, sign, destiny planned out

Spacetime freezing

frozen, petrified, stoned, solid, trapped under ice

Loss of control

helpless, control, loss of control, losing control, 5150 [police code for psychotic crime], taking over, take control, assumed control, caught, held, toy, puppet, voodoo, doll, trapped, no one there to steer, no place to hide, no way out, where to hide, there's no choice, no escape, prisoners, on the run, paranoid, hypnotized, mesmerized, no stopping, nothing can stop me, train off tracks, runaway train, too late, heart attack, panic, racing, can't control my fingers/rain

Revolution of government

revolution, king, salvation, la guillotine, farewell to kings, kingly guise

Breaking the rules

breaking the chains, flirting with disaster, rebellion rules tonight, freedom, out to be free, let the kingdom rise, breaking all the rules


sleep, awake, feel so tired I feel so drained


heaven, drink the milk of paradise, utopia, tickets to paradise


spirit, rise, sky, fly, flying, flew too high, flight, wings, float(ing), soar(ing), high, higher, astral, elevate, elevator, close(r) to God, riding high, flying high, never coming down, carpet, sky pilot, stone temple pilots, astral, rocket, airplane, ship(s), starship, spaceship, magic bus, mystery tour, balloon, ride the tier, bike ride to the moon, back in the saddle, psilocybic pony, see-saw, crazy train, strapped in the electric chair, ride the lightning, climbing the stairway, over the mountain, catch a saucer, climb the hill, how high can you fly, interstellar overdrive

Above the head

hat, top, head, up, hair, halo, rise


fall, down, crash, led zeppelin


fountain, float down the river, flow, stream, float downstream, path, track, walking down that lonesome road, you're on your own, loneliness of the long-distance runner, journey, trip, sail, ride, travellers, take a rise, free ride, up and away on the open road, ride the tiger


captain, ship, steer, guide, guidance, direction, show me, lead me, helm, helmsman


champion(s), prince, hero(es), victor(y), triumph(ant)


depressed, depression, suicide, manic depression, enjoy/end-your life, the only way out, living at the bottom of a grave


vortex, whirlpool, maelstrom, black hole, round, circle, loop, ring, merry-go-round, spinning, whirling, circling skies, calliope freezing and crashing, spinning wheel, spiral stairs, magic ride goes round and round, spiral architect, ring of stupidity, see the world spinning round

Mind as puzzle

puzzles that are built in my head, life is just a puzzle


insane, insanity, piece of mind, mad, madness, madman, crazy, lunatic, confusion, mind, (no) reason, (no) logic, blow my mind, lose your mind, you drive me mad, don't understand, break down, nervous breakdown, out of my head, fever, burning in my brain, Alladin Sane


inside, deep within, inner, soul, through you, center, middle, core, enemy within, look inside girl, demons in my head, center of the mind


Yesterday seems unreal/as though it never existed, mind, memory, memories flashing quickly by, deja vu, tomorrow, today, this moment, life has just begun, born, birthday, the hour of my rebirth, feel like I've never been born

Truth vs illusion

truth, lie(s), reality, false world, illusion, never-never land, unreal, nothing is real, the grand illusion, the royal scam, now truth is false


flame, flames, fire, burn, burning, firework(s)


spell, witch, cast, magic, wizard, sin, evil


get older, innocent, simple youth, innocence, naivete, no longer a child lost in never never land

Lyric lines about control and the helpless doll phenomenon

The album name _Master of Puppets_, by Metallica.
The cover of _Farewell to Kings_ by Rush, which shows an immobile king puppet on slack strings.
Rush: _2112_: "The Twilight Zone", about the experience of becoming the toy of a huge controlling agent.
Ozzy Osbourne: _Diary of a Madman_: "Little Dolls".

It is likely that Metallica, Rush, and Ozzy consciously established a language of LSD allusions among themselves. They extending the existing language of acid allusion and brought it to its full realization. This language has deep roots in rock music, including the Beatles and Hendrix. Sab Feel your spirit rise with the breeze
See your body fall-ing to its knees <--

-- Black Sabbath

U2 Before you learn to fly
You gotta learn how to kneel --
On your knees, boy <--

-- U2 Rush

Scream out desperation
for the maelstrom is near
Cry out supplication but <--
There's no one there to hear

-- Rush Ozzy

Can I
Ask a question <--
To help me save me from myself

-- Ozzy

Metallica Guilty as charged [moral agency problematic]
But damn it, it ain't right
There's someone else controlling me [removal of control]

Death in the air
Strapped in the electric chair [locked into spacetime, w/ dissoc. cog.]
This can't be happening to me

Who made you God to say
"I'll take your life from you!"
Flash before my eyes
Now it's time to die
Burning in my brain
I can feel the flames

Wait for the sign
To flick the switch of death [ego death]
It's the beginning of the end

Sweat, chilling cold
As I watch death unfold
Consciousness my only friend

My fingers grip with fear
What I am doing here?

Someone help me
Oh please God help me <--
They're trying to take it all away
I don't want to die

Acid-rock mysticism; self-control cybernetics

The essence of cybernetics is not "computers and information technology", but rather, communication and control in man and machine. I am highlighting the psychology of self-control, or self-steering, in humans, and the ultimately fascinating phenomena that happen when the mind becomes extremely aware of its own self-control processes. Acid has a million effects, but the highest and most sacred effect is the deconstruction of self-control -- the self-cancellation of self control as it strives to grasp itself ever tighter. It's the engine that drives itself, though there seems to be faulty logic in this mad machinery. Alan Watts wrote about this, way ahead of its time, in _The Way of Zen_. He showed the connection between cybernetics, self-control, and Zen enlightenment. You can hear about this in the Rush song "The Body Electric". Unit One is you on acid struggling to get a grip on self-control; you end up in prayer to the god of fateful tragic apprehension of predetermination.

The most interesting aspect of the ego, as cognitive structure, is the ego as the inner self-controlling homunculus, the personal steersman, helmsman, or pilot, who resides inside the mind. Roughly, ego = self-controller. In the mystic state, you are forced to confront the shaky logical foundation of this self-control -- "he's got to walk a fine line, and keep his self-control". Predetermination or eternal fate is more logically consistent than metaphysical freedom. But such a denial of metaphysical freedom does not directly impact political freedom. Only when we have political freedom are we externally free to explore metaphysical unfreedom. Confronting metaphysical predetermination has no immediate effect on practical freedom, except for the moment of Truth when you lose the sense of freedom at your core. After this ultimate realization, however, the monk returns to ordinary life in the marketplace, and life continues. The passing of this peak experience can bring despair at the finitude of life, but that seems to pass, and, politics permitting, you can look forward to more such experiencing -- "Like old Sol behind the mountain, I'll be coming up again."

I have basically followed through Watts' work fully. Zen was originally amenable to logic, but the hippies and new agers have wrongly turned it into something hostile to rationality. Enlightenment is fully and adequately rationally explainable.

Many people have concluded that mysticism is a cognitive state of consciousness, and that this same state is triggered with relatively perfect efficiency by that modern scientific discovery, the lysergic acid molecule. This molecule is not itself the point; the fascinating psychological phenomena are the point and a gushing fountain of philosophical inspiration. There are several distinct aspects of the entire mystic experience:

Enlightenment is not identical with the activity of meditation, nor are these identical with the experiences one undergoes during intense meditation.

Metal definition

The label "Heavy Metal" connotes drug use. Heavy Metal was born tripping on LSD and stoned on pot, just after psychedelic rock peaked. The term "heavy metal" can refer to motorcycles; the lyrical phrase "heavy metal thunder" is associated with "Magic Carpet Ride" -- bikers on acid. The arguably first "heavy metal" band was Blue Cheer -- a band named after a certain batch of acid, and using Hendrix instrumentation. "Heavy Metal" is closely related to "acid rock", but with greater use of distorted power chords, and darker sound.

Iron Maiden, Metallica, Rush, and Ozzy all heavily refer to acid experiences on some of their best albums, including Somewhere in Time, Ride the Lightning, Caress of Steel, and Diary of a Madman.

Early Rush is a good example in between acid-rock style and heavy-metal style -- for example, the great furry-chording amp tone on Bastille Day. That song warns that the ego as inner commander is as doomed as the French aristocracy which fell and gave its power over to it, forming the modern rational ego with its confused perception of its power of control. This fall of the ego as a power-wielding agent occurs through the mystic altered state of cognition, such as through repeated heavy tripping.

>I thought bassist Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics to "Over the Mountain"?

My liner notes are in the other room. I think all songs on this album are credited to all four band members.

One practical advantage with listing so many writers is that it hides who had enough tripping experience to write such acid-oriented lyrics.

Album interpetation

>Wasn't "Ride the Lightning" written by Dave Mustaine?

If so, I should take a good look at Mustaine's other lyrics. In the liner notes, the song is credited to: Hetfield, Ulrich, Burton, Mustaine.

>Ride the Lightning is about a kid wrongfully sentenced to die in an electric chair: "Guilty as charged, but damn it ain't right...," "Who made you God to say I'll take your life from you?"

That is merely the obvious, surface level. The higher meaning is the electric chair as a metaphor for loss-of-control in the mystic altered state, and the classic mystic feeling of one's control being taken away from oneself, so that the mystic perceives themselves as a helpless puppet completely manipulated and determined by God, the ground of being, or the unchanging, timeless block universe. Usually we feel that we pull our own strings. During mystic ego death, we feel that we do not pull our own strings and never have; we perceive being a helpless puppet steered by God, with all our actions pre-established from before the beginning of time.

>These are both instances where the band members--the writers--have SAID what the song is about. The argument could be made that they're just not telling their actual meaning,

>the argument could also be made the the LSD theory is just a wild speculation or a drug proponent's seizure of somebody else's words for his own purposes.

It could be made, but that position can be effectively refuted. Looking at various songs from various bands, a common language of lyrical allusion is clearly visible, with some 20 categories of metaphors and allusions. When these metaphors and double-entendres occur very densely, too densely for coincidence, deliberate signaling is revealed. It's a specific system of encoding, and requires a specific system of decoding. The mind on LSD will notice and respond to such deliberate encoding. That mind will also tend to see coding in other places where there is no such deliberate coding -- but the coding will be perceived especially densely in those songs which really do include deliberate coding.

Analyzing just a few songs in isolation is unlikely to persuade those who mistakenly believe that acid is rare in Metal lyrics and culture.

>I'm talking about early/mid-era Metallica. Whoever is the lyricist of Ride the Lightning was intimately familiar with intense LSD tripping. A close analysis of the lyrics in comparison with scholarly knowledge about mysticism reveals this closely. But to firmly establish that any particular

>If you don't know who the lyricist is, how can you claim to know where the lyricist is coming from?

The acid-rock lyricist expresses their acid allusions in the form of lyrics. When lyricists interview, they do not talk openly about their highly illegal drug use. LSD penalties are extremely severe compared to pot penalties, which are plenty bad enough. Acid has been driven way underground, and it is only safe to speak about it in encoded forms. It's not really a deep encoding; it's not hard to break, especially when on acid.

You have to take an overall look at the band's entire lyrical output, and it is necessary to have a lot of scholarly knowledge about religious experiencing, philosophy, and psychedelics.

If you don't know a lot about religious experiencing, philosophy, and psychedelics, I would have to teach you these in order to persuade you that LSD, rock lyrics, rock playing, and rock listening are intimately connected in many of the most important rock groups. You need to read about perceptual phenomena in schizophrenia, ego death experiences in classic mystic writings, Zen as portrayed by Alan Watts (as a control struggle leading to insight about oneself as an agent who wields power), and most of "contemporary metaphysics" (a newly thriving area of Philosophy), for starters. Familiarity with the space-time block from around 1900 is helpful. Ken Wilber is essential for his explanation of what it means to transcend the ego as a cognitive structure: you master that structure, dis-identify with it, but still maintain its main integrity. These topics are found in acid-rock lyrics, shown to the writers by the Teacher, which is the LSD state of mind. "When I teach -- what I've been taught -- and I've been taught" (from 2112).

>If a substance was going to influence their music, it would most likely be beer.

Alcohol is currently legal, and acid is highly illegal. There are many good reasons why alcohol use is more prevalent and visible than LSD use.

>It hasn't stopped "Lords of Acid," "Blue Cheer" or many, many other musicians from talking openly about drug use. Tori Amos, for example, said in Portland "I like mushrooms. If you have mushrooms, this would be a good time to take them because you'll relate to these songs." Or, Floater, "This song is about acid." Or, Pantera in Seattle, talking about acid last week, or in Portland saying "Oregon has the best weed in the world." All but inviting the police to monitor them.
That kind of talking is minor, and safer. Most artists do not talk openly about their acid use in interviews when asked about the meaning of their acid-oriented lyrics. That would be going too far.

>Taking LSD does not make you play in a stylized trippy way. It explodes into a great cornucopia of creative paths. To look for LSD orientation you

>Metal fans suffered through years of religious "experts" finding obscure references and twisting words to accuse metal of being devil music or, in Ozzy case, condoning suicide.

There are hidden meanings in some Metal lyrics. There is some deliberate ambiguity in some Metal lyrics. Some anti-Metal authorities have made mistakes in decoding some of the hidden meanings. But it is not bullshit that there are hidden meanings in some lyrics. The task is to identify where there are hidden meanings, and identify what the hidden meanings are. There is little doubt that some Metal songs have some hidden meanings.

>It's dangerous and, as a songwriter, I hate thinking that somebody might twist my words around sometime or claim to be experts about the meanings to my words. I don't know how many times people have said "I used to listen to that stuff but it made me want to kill myself and stuff." Or "That's all about the devil. If you really understood satanism and rock and roll, you'd understand that."

There is little chance that you could encode LSD-like meanings without intending to, with the intensity of the main acid-oriented Metallica, Ozzy, Maiden, or Rush lyrics. If someone understands my system of decoding deliberate acid allusions in lyrics, there is little chance that they would see your lyrics and think that they used acid-encoding, if you didn't deliberately concentrate on packing your lyrics full of such allusions.

>Ozzy's capable of anything. Randy Rhoads avoided drugs altogether. Hypothesizing that Randy used LSD is legally akin to saying "Randy Rhoads was a child molester" without actual, hard proof or witnesses.

So many rock stars have made that claim, you can't trust anything but in-depth research into the facts, as opposed to accepting the claims at face

>I know a former drug user who is a FRIEND of Randy's family and was a FRIEND of Randy Rhoads. Who talks to me openly about drugs, who talks about other musicians who used them, and who said flat out that Randy Rhoads did not do them because he didn't like doing them. Had Gerald--who partied with Rhoads and Ozzy--said "Yeah, man, Randy used to party like the rest of us" it wouldn't have changed a thing about how I feel. He said "Man...Randy said that he could get the band to play at my fiance's 21er, but only if there were no drugs. Because if there were, Ozzy would have destroyed the place because he did more drugs than all of us combined."

Why was Rhoads is so vehemently anti-drugs? Did Ozzy go crazy on LSD around Randy? There is still some room for interpretation below. Randy could have been a heavy tripper who prefers to trip alone. Parties are a poor place to trip -- there's a pretty strong concensus about this in the LSD books and online conversations. Rhoads did not want to play at a party where there were drugs -- that says little about his private drug use.

Ride the Lightning is credited ambiguously, in the liner notes, to four people. I would like to know what exact person wrote it, and each of the heavily acid-oriented Metal songs. With Rush, it's easy: Peart writes the Rush lyrics, and when he joined the band, it largely became his band. So I can say "Peart's lyrics" or the "Rush lyrics", pretty synonymously. We again reach an obscure point: did Alex Lifeson play guitar while on LSD? We can be pretty sure that Peart was accustomed to playing drums on acid.

>Ozzy's lyrics may have had a psychedelic layer, but it's not likely that Rhoads' guitar playing was in any way influenced.

It certainly could be Ozzy who wrote the lyrics -- in fact I think it is. I don't know whether Randy used LSD to color and expand his guitar playing, but it's likely that Ozzy wrote lyrics about grappling with his mind due to combining the control-struggle of his alcoholism with LSD as a mental reprogramming tool.

>I wasn't deceived when they said Van Halen and Aerosmith were devil worshippers and instruments of satan, and I'm not deceived now.

If you think that Metal lyrics have nothing to do with acid, you are deceived and blind to the encoding. You cannot be certain that there are no hidden encodings in any Metal songs, though that seems to be your absolutely skeptical position. You need to understand deliberate ambiguity, a main technique of acid lyrics. "I tell you to end your life." "I tell you to enjoy life." Suicide Solution is deliberately ambiguous. "Is this voyage coming to an end" is ambiguous - a tragic, or successful end?

>In Fairies Wear Boots, Ozzy sings of smoking pot and tripping on LSD all the time. Pantera's last and completely clear words before clearing the stage for Sabbath 1/12/99: "Drop acid." Heavy metal and Ozzy Osbourne and Sabbath

>So if Diary of A Madman was about acid, I have no doubt that he'd have come right out and said it. After singing about pot, cocaine, LSD and everything else openly, why would he hide it for Diary of a Madman?

He did not hide it very deeply. "I've got to tell you now: the ship is ready waiting on the shelf." I don't know if you caught my recent posting of the full lyrics of about 5 of the Diary of a Madman songs, with detailed annotations to point out the allusions to acid phenomena. I don't know why Diary, Caress, and Lightning albums use veiled rather than explicit references to LSD, but such subtlety could be a mark of art. Personally, as far as me alone as one who understands these albums, I'm glad they are not explicit about LSD -- I enjoy the subtlety -- such subtlety is often seen in art as opposed to technical writing.

In addition to the legal penalties, there are other reasons to hide or encode acid references. If anywhere on Diary it said out and out, "tripping" or "acid", there would be less of a surprise as the tripper absorbs the album. One of the themes of Diary is coding, occluded meaning -- look at the occult symbols around the vinyl album's liner notes.

Further discussion needs to cover theories of encoding more.

>are drenched in LSD, and I would be skeptical upon hearing the claim that anyone in that circle did not use drugs, especially given the seriousness of the Drug Inquisition. Until proven otherwise, it's reasonable to assume that Randy Rhoads was probably familiar with playing guitar on LSD.

The intensity of Metal goes hand-in-hand with the intensity of LSD.

Lyrical mumbling for double-entendres

I looked in "the mirror" today
My I just didn't seem so bright

Have I left my lie behind?

Could be, deliberate mealy-mouthing to say 3 things at once, like that wonderful line by Rush in "Subdivisions":

That timeless old attraction

sung as that, but simultaneously sung:

That timeless soul attraction

Peart and Lee probably know that it is possible to mis-hear the lyrics in these meaningful ways.

Rock lyrics about lysergic acid causing synthetic manic depression

Psychedelic peaks of mania are often followed by despair. This peak-then-crash also is reported in western mystic contemplation -- soaring to the sun, you crash into hell. There is no shortage of despairing songs on acid rock albums.

Beatles: yer blues "feel so suidical, even hate my rock and roll".

Iron Maiden: Sea of Madness (there ain't no wind to fill your sails...)

Metallica -- "Yesterday feels as though it never existed, now I will just say goodbye" (on Ride the Lightning).

Jimi -- Manic Depression "Will I live tomorrow, well I just can't say, but I know one thing for sure, I don't live today. No sun coming through my windows; feel like I'm living in the bottom of a grave; I wish you'd hurry up and just-kill/rescue me, so I can be on my miserable way".

Rush -- _Caress of Steel_ -- "Fountain of Lamneth" -- now at last I fall before the fountain of Lamneth, I thought I would be singing, but I'm tired, out of breath"

Cheap Trick -- not only "Hello Kiddies, hello kiddies, whacha gonna do when your head's exploding; well you skipped some school, you thought you'd be real cool, turns out you've been a FOOL!!" - but also "Suicide" (I'm looking up the lyrics on the web server).

Scorpions -- _Lonesome Crow_ -- "I'm going mad" (one of the gloomiest albums ever recorded, 1970)

Ozzy - _Blizzard of Ozz_ - "Suicide Solution" -- "The reaper's you and the reaper is me, breaking locks/laws knocking doors but there's nobody home [mystic emptiness/nonduality], don't you know what it's really about, now you live inside a bottle [double-entendre of acid-fishbowl vision], reaper's travelling at full throttle"

NIN has good examples too.
Another song connecting drug influenced experiences and feelings, and suicide.
A later song on the album says
"So I went to my doctor, see what he could give me
He said son, son, you've gone too far
Cause smokin' and trippin' is all that you do

See also my lyrics comments for Paranoid by Black Sabbath [link].

Rock mysticism and ego death

A bong hit at t=3 hours can throw you into rubber land, trapped behind the waterfall, frozen into stone.

There's no swimming in the heavy water
No singing in the acid rain
Red alert! -- Rush

Eye to I, reaction burning ["p"] hotter
Reflection on the water
Seems to me it's chemistry -- Rush

"It takes dynamite to get me high
Too much is just enough" -- Grateful Dead

Feel your spirit rise with the breeze
See your body fall-ing to its knees -- Black Sabbath

Groups that used LSD a lot

(based on lyric analysis):

Iron Maiden
Ozzy Osbourne

Jeff Beck (trails on Wired, "wired" = tripping, "scatterbrain" = tripping)

I also suspect Van Halen, due to the trails (like Wired) on the cover of Van Halen I, and the straightjackets on 5150 (police code for crimes of insanity).

Playing Guitar while Tripping

>Nobody can play serious music while tripping. It all comes out as a bunch of out of time, out of key noise.

I would like to hear Neil Peart's response to this, as a drummer I am sure has often played on LSD.

Your generalization is invalid. It is possible to play serious music while tripping, without it being out of time, out of key, and noisy. Hendrix reportedly played while tripping, with good-sounding results. If you are accustomed to tripping and accustomed to playing well, there is nothing stopping you from combining the two.

The Dead claim to not play on LSD, because they want to make sure they are alert and in-tune and in-time. Still, it is possible to play well, as well as super-creatively, while on LSD.

Music-listening as a standard backdrop for the visionary state

Things to heighten the experience, to make the best out of the trip: Listen to music and play guitar.

The rock music that I respect the most is that which is enlightened about peak experiencing -- an entire higher layer of meaning and communication is opened up.

Have you ever played a rubber guitar neck, bending and shifting all over, while you are an insanely creative improviser? Many of the greatest rock guitarists are so experienced.

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The Doors - The End - vs. Greek meaning of Oedipus

The Doors The End uses the now-discredited Freudian interpretation of the Oedipus myth. In the book "Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece" by Jean-Pierre Vernant et al, it explains that Oedipus was actually about the tension between the reality of fatalism vs. the new city-state legal code which actually held people personally accountable for their actions. People's actions in the future are already existant and pre-set, so that we just play out the lives that the gods or higher plane has already created for us -- so how can people be held personally accountable? Fate, not the ego-illusion, is the only real agent and the only possible culpable entity that can be blamed and punished. Oedipus presents the trembling of one who experiences this clash between the way things really are (fatedness and the ego as a pre-set puppet) and the way things are presented in the new legal codes of the city-state (pretending that ego's power of steersmanship is genuine and legitimate). So I dislike certain parts of "The End" as much as I loathe Freud and enjoy watching his free-fall from credibility.

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