The other side of the mirror, the naked truth, a warped reality, the thing you want to be, the thing that watches, a blatant lie, your other self, your dark side, your better side.

Either that, or a moment of self-study.

Whichever it is, a reflection is yourself turned around and therefore unreliable.

Reflection

It was Fall, the leaves everywhere changing; bright bursts of red and yellow and orange dashing through the established green of the trees. And lately the temperature had really started to dip. Snow had even tried to visit two days ago, with rich gray clouds streaming in from the West and North and the color bands of the weather map becoming mellow and dipping deep into the heartlands. It made him almost wish he lived in some strange and exotic land near the Equator filled with jungles sounds and smells and frost was inconceivable, and he wouldn't have to stack firewood beside his house just in order to maintain some semblance of comfort or romanticism in the coming months.

It was his birthday.

He was laying on his back next to his dad's truck, an old red Chevy 4x4. It made some racket while accelerating; but, thanks to regular work-ups by dad in the garage, it still ran pretty well. Too bad it was all he was allowed to drive. He really wanted to get his hands on mom's Volvo, but she was a little too up-tight for that.

The wind rolled up the low rise he was on and whispered over him and back down the other side. Even in his coat, with the hood up, and his gloves on he could feel it - cold, Winter coming.

But, it was beautiful outside; hardly a cloud in the sky today which was so frighteningly blue and clear and crisp that he doubted everything they taught him in school about meteorology, and he wanted to believe in magic.

It was his birthday.

What the hell did that mean? What did it mean last year? What would it mean next year?

For that matter, where would he be next year? Not here, certainly, because there was no way he was going stay in this backwater community once high school was over. Not a chance. He wasn't going to keep helping dad with all his little part-time, handy-man jobs: mechanic, wood-cutter, plumber, snow plower, or whatever else anybody needed. Already, everyone would ask him questions when they had a simple problem, something broken or needed done, as if he were his father, like he was just supposed to know, as if it were in his blood or something. Well, it wasn't. Why couldn't they ask him about medical things and expect him to know that? Mom was a doctor, why didn't they figure he'd follow in her footsteps?

Stupid hick-town. Why did mom have to come set up practice in such a worthless town, that was so small that her fix-it-husband could instantly feel right at home, because they didn't have anybody to manage their trappings of civilization if they had problems? Guess before dad they had to call somebody in from the city, half an hour away. Damn shame, that.

It was his birthday.

And he didn't know what he was going to do about it, or about anything.

College was out of the question. Didn't have the grades. Didn't that just make mom beam with joy? Harder and harder to get her attention. Which left him more and more with dad, running errands and handling jobs he didn't have time for. "Fix-It-Man and Son." What a life.

The crooning breeze rippled over him again, but this time it wasn't so cold; in fact, it was almost comfortable. Cozy, like sitting at home under a quilt and reading a book, not warm like that, but right like that. Proper. He belonged here at this moment, laying on this hill staring at this sky and listening to the leaves of the tree rustle in the soothing breeze.

He knew what he'd see if he stood up, he was on the only high ground for miles and even that was just a few feet above the plain, hardly noticeable, unless you'd suffered your entire life without a proper hill. Jameson's Hill, it was called. Once a pioneer had settled here and placed his house on this hill, and maybe even planted the lonely tree that stood just a dozen or so feet away with its leaves a contrast of bright yellows and oranges and rich greens, Oscar Jameson. But his house was gone now, and he all but forgotten.

And Jack Beldan, who owned all this land and whose house and barn were away North across the recently plowed and harvested fields, wanted this tree removed so he could plan to plant here next year, had to expand the acreage. So, he had called dad, Want To Come Cut Down My Tree For Me - Free Firewood.

And now here he was, on his birthday, even more in the middle of it all then he was normally, out doing this chore for dad so he could go fix Mrs. Harrelson's leaky drainpipe.

But, just now, before the tree came down and the landscape became even more monotonous and crushing in its simplicity, he was going to lay here and think about his birthday.

He sifted through it all absently, with a loose focus that seemed to bring it all right up in front of his nose with a shimmering pseudo-clarity that punctuated its detail and lied about the smudged edges and uncertainty. It was one of those rare and precious moments that made him feel alive, energetic with the force of approaching death.

He could feel it, could feel that he was dying the slow death of the painfully mortal; but, for the moment he was only feeling it, he wasn't living or dying it. Feeling, but not experiencing.

And it was just these sorts of moments, rare and breathtaking like a golden sunset over a desperately rocky mountain seen from a wide open prairie, that seemed to draw in all the aspects of his environment and outline them with a thick black splotchy line, a black crayon drawn in fierce circles again and again to make sure the water colors kept to their proper areas, to stop the bleeding. A distant near moment of focal energy that extended his life, and left him just a bit closer to nothingness in a forgotten kind of way.

It happened so rarely. This sort of Epiphany. This moment of ecstatic lonely insight. This wonder. This thing that swept down and lifted him up and into the deified stratosphere at the same time that it dragged him down through the stratified crowds of beggars and scoundrels.

As a result, he reached an understanding. He knew his place in the order of life and death, he knew his place in the order of logic and forgetfulness. He knew where that tree over there should have really grown, if Jameson hadn't played with nature, and when its existence would be put to an end. He knew exactly.

He didn't have a word for it. Didn't know what it was called, but it had to be something like meditation. A Nirvana-approaching state of focused mental energies, bound and released at the same time. And the beautiful thing was that he didn't have to sit, legs painfully crossed, and mumble and chant and smell foul incense for hours on end until such a state entered his soul. No, he just sort of smiled and relaxed and stared at the world and listened, and then it all sort of snapped into place and then he saw and knew the fates.

He climbed to his feet, picked up his chainsaw, and walked over to cut the damn tree down.

It was his birthday.

He didn't know what that meant exactly, but he did know that it meant that he wouldn't be here when the next one rolled around on the calender. He didn't know where he'd be, but it would be somewhere. Maybe somewhere warm.

The roar of the saw smacked into his ears and its angry vibrations coursed along his arms, and he smiled as he leaned to place the saw into the trunk. But, another gust of wind blew around him and sang with the saw, a wind from the West this time not the North. He paused.

It was his birthday and he knew that no matter where he was when the next one came, no matter how warm it was, only a brisk fall day like this one would ever feel like home, would feel right, because that was his kind of day.

It was his birthday, and it was Fall.

Track 11 on Tool's 2001 album Lateralus. The second song of a three-part epic. See Disposition and Triad.

This song, like the other two in the trilogy, features at least one Indian instrument; in this case, the tabla. The song's working title was "Resolution".

I have come curiously close to the end, though,
beneath my self-indulgent pitiful hole.
Defeated, I concede and move closer. I may find comfort here.
I may find peace within the emptiness. How pitiful.

It's calling me.
It's calling me.
It's calling me.
It's calling me.

And in my darkest moment, fetal and weeping,
the moon tells me a secret. My confidant.
As full and bright as I am.
This light is not my own and
a million light reflections pass over me.
The source is bright and endless.
She resuscitates the hopeless.
Without her, we are lifeless satellites drifting.
And as I pull my head out I am without one doubt.
Don't wanna peer down here, survey my narcissism.
I must crucify the ego before it's far too late.
I pray the light lifts me out before I pine away.
Before I pine away.
Before I pine away.
Before I pine away.

So crucify the ego, before it's far too late,
and leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical.
And you will come to find we are all one mind
capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable.
So let the light touch you so that the words spill through.
And let them pass right through bringing out our hope and reason.

Before we pine away.
Before we pine away.
Before we pine away.
Before we pine away.

Thematically, this song seems very similar to Forty Six & 2; take a look at artemis entreri's very informative writeup there for some clues as to what's going on. Given those definitions, it's not hard to figure out what's being said.

To really break it down for you, I personally think that this song is about destroying yourself (or rather, your "self") to move on, and become a part of something greater.

Do I agree with this? I don't know. But it's definitely something to think about.


Been doing some reading. Some other people have interesting takes on the meaning of this song. While most seem to agree with me on the Forty Six & 2 connection, there are a few other ideas worth noting.

Narcissus is a character in classical mythology (whose name forms the root of the word narcissism). In his story, he is so beautiful that he falls in love with his reflection when he stops at a stream for water. He eventually dies of thirst because he is so taken with his image that he cannot bear to shatter it to take a drink.


Many have suggested a connection between the album Lateralus and the Qabalah. The moon has several points of significance within this mythology; finding and interpreting them is left as an excercise for the reader.


A quote from a Usenet post to alt.music.tool by "Ellen":

In Reflection, the first part of the song looks at the past, the middle part looks at the present, and the final part begs for the future (even though it is all sung in the present tense...this is what happens when you 'reflect' upon (relive) your life).


Bringing a couple of these theories together: the mystical ideas directly referred to in Forty Six & 2 are part of a 'teaching' called Flower of Life. In addition to the chromosomal concepts discussed in that song, Flower of Life also focuses on the idea that we are all light, and connected to the one Holy Source. The moon reflecting the sun's light is used as an analogy for our own reflection of the Source. There's a good deal more, try a Google search on "Flower of Life".

Oddly enough, after Narcissus pines away, he is turned into a flower.

As to what all this means, your guess is almost as good as mine.


Hey look, there's more. From an interview with MJK by Prof. Christopher diCarlo in the publication Ontarion:

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 it 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, our egos are full. We think we have this knowledge when, in fact, the information we have is 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 egoless, just as the moon is without light. It and we are simply reflectors. The ego is not responsible for the information.

Thanks to toolshed.down.net for the article.

So there is that. I think you can figure it out from here.

In the Java programming language, a mechanism by which Java programs can interrogate the Java Virtual Machine about classes, interfaces and objects. Details can be obtained about the methods and properties of the objects or classes at runtime, allowing dynamic binding of objects not known at compile time. Properties can be accessed or methods invoked, subject to regular JVM security considerations. Reflection has been part of core Java since version 1.1, and is a natural extension of capabilities in other object-oriented languages such as C++'s RTTI.

The capabilities offered by reflection saw the onset of maturity in the Java programming language, allowing Java application software to cleanly support extensible mechanisms such as plugins. Perhaps more importantly, it became viable for Java development tools such as the debugger and IDE to themselves be effectively written in Java, further strengthening the language's cross-platform stance.

Reflection is the foundation for further Java API facilities, such as introspection and dynamic proxies, and is used extensively in other Java technologies, particularly the J2EE platform.

The day I realized I am dead inside.
I lay on the floor empty, emotionless, alone.
Nothing this world brings me is unique.

Time is just the vessel, taking us… every tick by tick.

4 months alone.
a blur of days into weeks.
each as bare is the one prior.

a smile is nothing but a thing of the past.
an emotion I’ve forgotten how to express.
trying to hold onto a memory, it slips through my fingers
and before I know it, it is gone.

I’m never going to be an innocent child any longer.
The world I once knew and loved never existed.
Masked by the lies and deceptions of others.
All for nothing.

Time is just a vessel, killing us… every tick by tick.

4 years alone.
A blur of months into years.
Each as unmemorable as the one prior.

How you can pretend everything is going to be ok will forever be a mystery to me.
You tricked yourself into only believing what you wished was true.
Only to be disappointed, but no one will ever know.

A false ideology runs your life.
Tricking you weekly that everything is going to be alright.
How you can’t see through the lies will always baffle me.
All for nothing.

Time is just a vessel, lying to us… every tick by tick.

One life alone.
a blur of confusion and misdirection.
a pitied hope of resurrection.
you find yourself six feet under.

.U fo noitcelfer a si V neht ,V fo noitcelfer a si U fI---lacirtemmys si noitcelfeR

                  CBA                             F
                                        D         O
                   X                    O    R    O
                                        O         D
                  ABC                   F

.X ssorca CBA htiw esiwekiL .FOOD teg ot R ssorca DOOF tcelfeR---noitcelfeR tnioP-tnioP

                            \
     GOD                     \      N                   |
                              \     O                   |
-------------                  \    D              BAR  |  RAB
                                \   E                   |
     GOD                         \                      |
                          NODE    \

.GOD htiw esiwekiL .EDON htiw esiwekiL .BAR teg ot enil a ssorca RAB tcelfeR---noitcelfeR eniL-tnioP

Point-Line Reflection---Reflect BAR across a line to get RAB. Likewise with NODE. Likewise with DOG.

                                  /
      |                   N      /                     DOG
      |                   O     /
 BAR  |  RAB              D    /                  -------------
      |                   E   /
      |                      /                         DOG
                            /    EDON

Point-Point Reflection---Reflect FOOD across R to get DOOF. Likewise with ABC across X.

            F                             ABC
            O         D
            O    R    O                    X
            D         O
                      F                   CBA

Reflection is symmetrical---If U is a reflection of V, then V is a reflection of U.

Re*flec"tion (r?*fl?k"sh?n), n. [L. reflexio: cf. F. r'eflexion. See Riflect.]

>[Written also reflexion.]

1.

The act of reflecting, or turning or sending back, or the state of being reflected.

Specifically: (a)

The return of rays, beams, sound, or the like, from a surface

. See Angle of reflection, below.

The eye sees not itself, But by reflection, by some other things. Shak.

(b)

The reverting of the mind to that which has already occupied it; continued consideration; meditation; contemplation; hence, also, that operation or power of the mind by which it is conscious of its own acts or states; the capacity for judging rationally, especially in view of a moral rule or standard

.

By reflection, . . . I would be understood to mean, that notice which the mind takes of its own operations, and the manner of them, by reason whereof there come to be ideas of these operations in the understanding. Locke.

This delight grows and improves under thought and reflection. South.

2.

Shining; brightness, as of the sun.

[Obs.]

Shak.

3.

That which is produced by reflection.

Specifically: (a)

An image given back from a reflecting surface; a reflected counterpart.

As the sun water we can bear, Yet not the sun, but his reflection, there. Dryden.

(b)

A part reflected, or turned back, at an angle; as, the reflection of a membrane

. (c)

Result of meditation; thought or opinion after attentive consideration or contemplation; especially, thoughts suggested by truth

.

Job's reflections on his once flourishing estate did at the same time afflict and encourage him. Atterbury.

4.

Censure; reproach cast.

He died; and oh! may no reflection shed Its poisonous venom on the royal dead. Prior.

5. Physiol.

The transference of an excitement from one nerve fiber to another by means of the nerve cells, as in reflex action. See Reflex action, under Reflex.

Angle of reflection, the angle which anything, as a ray of light, on leaving a reflecting surface, makes with the perpendicular to the surface. -- Angle of total reflection. Opt. Same as Critical angle, under Critical.

Syn. -- Meditation; contemplation; rumination; cogitation; consideration; musing; thinking.

 

© Webster 1913.

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