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Zero Zero

This song is by The Legendary Pink Dots and appears on the album Shadow Weaver (1992).

We checked out all the prophecies. We studied fat philosophies.
We made a graph... We chanted ooooommmmm
"Ommni Padhni Disney Iceman Acme leary Marx Illuminatus Christus Clarke..."
We'd watch for saucers in the dark. We'd hunt lost arks;
Tried splitting quarks - when all we wanted was a Mark.
Just a something proving something's out there.
Are you listening? No chance.

There never is a way without a why. Do we return after we die?
Is life a circle? Are we hurtled headfirst into space?
Will we wind up as the bunch of grapes that makes the wine...
That Christ exchanged for water. Are we blood? Are we lime? Do you live?
We need a sign - is anybody there? Are you listening?

And still the statues cry, the queen bee flies...
We try our damndest to explain the reasons why and how and when and where...
We're getting nowhere. No doors deep inside this corridor
Of space and time... if space and time exist.
Oh we'll persist, if we exist. Are you listening?

Annotations

We checked out all the prophecies. (1) We studied fat philosophies. (2) We made a graph... (3) We chanted ooooommmmm (4) "ommni Padhni (5) Disney (6) Iceman (7) Acme (8) Leary (9) Marx (10) Illuminatus (11) Christus (12) Clarke...(13) " We'd watch for saucers in the dark. (14) We'd hunt lost arks; (15) tried splitting quarks (16) - when all we wanted was a Mark. (17) Just a something proving something's out there. (18) Are you listening? (19) No chance. (20)

There never is a way without a why. (21) Do we return after we die? (22) Is life a circle? (23) Are we hurtled headfirst into space? (24) Will we wind up as the bunch of grapes that makes the wine... that Christ exchanged for water. (25) Are we blood? (26) Are we lime? (27) Do you live? (28) We need a sign - is anybody there? (29) Are you listening?

And still the statues cry, (30) the queen bee flies... (31) we try our damndest to explain the reasons why and how and when and where... we're getting nowhere. (32) No doors deep inside this corridor of space and time... (33) if space and time exist. (34) Oh we'll persist, if we exist. (35) Are you listening?


This mythographer has heard it cynically remarked that unless one plans on teaching philosophy there is no money in it, and thus not a discpline worth pursuing, yet bands like Gong and The Legendary Pink Dots illustrate the idea of active philosophic practice through the usage of it in the content of their art and daily lives. Their very existence seems to be founded on the act of being thought provoking. 1992 for the LPDs was an opening of a vast tract of ideas that would pick up on previous themes and develop throughout the 90's and beyond While the mythic connective structure is a constant throughout Edward's lyrics, this album in particular began with a summing up of certain questions in the wake of the death of former bandmember Bob Pistoor and explorations into the doubting of one's own being.

Zero Zero is the central point on a Cartesian Coordinate graph, denoted by a geometric point. A geometric point, it will be reminded, is a dimensionless geometric object having no properties except location, so that the mark one makes on a piece of paper is still a representation of said point no matter how large or small in scale. It can be thought of as a theoretical position of the self in time-and-space. Self Determination. A starting and ending point. A place to begin and begin over again if necessary. One philosophic search is for a point to everything - for meaning. This search can lead one to an attempt to discover how everything came to be as an explanation of why we are here, or why anything exists at all, and many theories try to prove or disprove the existence of a creator of everything. A symbol often employed is the Point-within-the Center-of-the-Circle, with the point representing man, or the self, and the circle representing God or Ultimate and Perfect Perception of Truth.

The first verse lists a number of "Ways" and proponents of Ways, all of which contain (and claim to contain) certain insights into the nature of reality. The second verse asks questions about the nature of why we are here by way of wondering what happens when we die. The last verse evokes questions about the doubts we have and our skeptical nature. The question of whether we exist or not may at first seem like a silly question. In the 1973 film "Space is the Place", Sun-Ra enters an inner city youth recreational center attempting to get the youth to understand him. At first they are skeptical of his spectalcular Egyptian robes and entourage of gold Jackal-headed guardians. He tells them he doesn't exist, that he's just a myth - just like they don't exist within society, because they have been unfairly left out and blocked from having any kind of decision making power by racial and financial oppression. What seems to make no sense at first is eventually revealed as a kind of truth. We only seem to exist to those who are aware of us, regardless of any existence seperate from this. This is the age old question " If a tree falls in the forest, will it make a sound if no one is there to percieve it making a sound?" Are you listening?

(1) Prophecy

(2) Philosophies

(3) Graphic

(4) http://www.thaiexotictreasures.com/chants_mantras.html

(5) Though this is usually the "Jewel in the Lotus" syllables (see the song "Jewel in the Crown" from the album "Island of Jewels") it is here pronounced "Omni", as from the latin "Omnis" meaning "all" - as opposed to Om Mani.

(6) http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1205.html, http://www.disneyinstitute.com/LE_SponsorshipOpportunities.cfm

(7) Though this might be in reference to an archeological find in an attempt to explain where we have come from as a culture, Ötzi the Iceman it might also be referring to a play: The Iceman Cometh Compare with Oogchu the Fire Baby here: http://www.legendarypinkdots.org/about-the-band and the song "Ice Baby Cometh" from the "Stained Glass Soma Fountains" release.

(8) Acme Corporation

(9) Timothy Leary

(10) Karl Marx

(11) Though this is probably a reference to the theories surrounding the continuing influence of the Bavarian Illuminati and subsequent theories of World-Ownership: Bavarian Illuminati, the actual term "Illuminatus" points to the famous trilogy of books by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea: Illuminatus

(12) Christus is latin for Christ.

(13) Arthur C. Clarke

(14) http://www.seti.org/Page.aspx?pid=1241

(15) Ark of the Covenant and, of course: Raiders of the Lost Ark

(16) At present, we consider the 6 quarks (and their 6 anti-quarks) to be fundamental particles in the standard model... we do not yet have an accelerator that could be capable of investigating whether quarks are or are not themselves composite objects. Quarks

(17) Some definitions of Mark:

1. A visible trace or impression, such as a line or spot.

2. A sign, such as a cross, made in lieu of a signature.

3. A written or printed symbol used for punctuation; a punctuation mark.

4. An inscription, name, stamp, label, or seal placed on an article to signify ownership, quality, manufacture, or origin.

5. A distinctive trait or property

6. An object or point that serves as a guide.

7. A type of currency.

(18) What "something out there" is referred to here? God? Alien beings? Or even another intelligence within humanity itself?

(19) Interesting use of dual address here: The "something that could be out there" as well as the listeners of this song.

(20) Is this a statement that there is no chance that someone is listening, or that the fact that someone IS listening is not a random event?

(21) Some definitions of Way:

1. A road, path, or highway affording passage from one place to another.

2. An opening affording passage: This door is the only way into the attic.

3. Opportunity to advance: opened the way to peace.

4. A course that is or may be used in going from one place to another: tried to find the shortest way home.

5. Progress or travel along a certain route or in a specific direction: on his way north.

6. A course of conduct or action: tried to take the easy way out.

7. A manner or method of doing: several ways of solving this problem; had no way to reach her.

8. A usual or habitual manner or mode of being, living, or acting: the American way of life.

9. An individual or personal manner of behaving, acting, or doing: Have it your own way.

Can none of these occur without a purpose, reason, cause; intention, justification, or motive?

(22) Ressurection

(23) Reincarnation, Eternal return

(24) http://www.answers.com/topic/space-advocacy, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13293390/, Cephalic presentation

(25) This questions one of the miracles of Jesus, asking that if life is a circle, would we be reborn as grapes that shouldn't, technically, exist: Turning water into wine

(26) This is probably a reference connected to the previous line, in which drinking the wine at communion is symbolicaly (and some who believe in miracles think literaly) equivalent to drinking the blood of Christ - and thus all are part of the "Body" of Christ. Body of Christ, Blood of Christ

(27) This use of Lime is puzzling. It could refer to the use of the mineral Lime in agriculture, and that once we die and feed the soil we just become another component of fertilizer. Lime itself was traditionally used in graves to hide the smell of decomposition. Also, when quicklime is heated to 4,300 degrees Fahrenheit, it emits an intense glow. This form of illumination is known as a limelight and was used broadly in theatrical productions prior to the invention of electric lighting. Tangentially, there is a fruit called a Blood Lime: Blood lime

(28) This could be a question for the hypothetical "someone out there", but it could equally apply in a slightly different way to all the listeners of this song. Do any of us actually live life to it's fullest potential? Compare with the line "If we'd never lived - if we'd ever..." from the song "Evolution" on the album "The Maria Dimension".

(29) Some definitions of Sign:

1. Something that suggests the presence or existence of a fact, condition, or quality.

2. An act or gesture used to convey an idea, a desire, information, or a command: gave the go-ahead sign.

3. An indicator, such as a footprint, of the trail of an animal as in: the term "worm-sign" from the story "Dune"

4. A trace or vestige: no sign of life.

5. A portentous incident or event; a presage: took the eclipse as a sign from God.

(30) Weeping statues, http://www.rotten.com/library/religion/weeping-statues/

(31) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060111082100.htm This might also be a reference to the musical group The BeeQueen, who's origins are tied to the LPDs. http://beequeen.nl/

(32) Many point to the things that have eluded scientific explanation for years as a lesson that some things will defy explanation. Many attempt to prove these people wrong. Some people find absolute belief that science is a load of poppycock. Some scientists find absolute proof that these people's beliefs are also a load of poppycock. We don't seem to be getting anywhere in the eternal battle of faith versus reason versus reason versus faith...

(33) This could be a reference to what will later become the concept of the Hallway of the Gods, from the 1997 album of the same name: The corridor that describes the singular path each individual travels from birth to death.

(34) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726391.500-is-time-an-illusion.html?full=true

An opening statement to a college physics textbook will read something like this: "For the purposes of this study it will be assumed [italics added] that time exists -events occur linearly in a space that contains matter and energy"

(35) A bit of philosophical humour. If the band doesn't exist, they sure have churned out a lot of music!

Edward Ka-Spel:

"Sitting in the van thinking of the bigger picture, staring at cows in fields and indulging in the beauty of it all. Just has to be a point really."

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