Out of the Silent Planet

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Infinite Dreamer
Hi everyone, If you are a constant visitor of this site you may have noticed that on the commentary on Out of the Silent Planet, Maverik states that the line "The killing fields, the grinding wheels crushed by equilibrium" is open for interpretation. Where here goes a minor take on the entire song and a long explanation for this one particular line.
I think the only "sci-fi" element in the song is the fact that they say "out of the silent planet we are". Aside from that they seem to describe very human topics and problems. The song seems to describe a war...pure and simple. "The killing fields" are a clear picture of that. Even clear is the first stanza "withered hand and withered bodies begging for salvation" Who in agony doesn't cry out for help (supernatural or otherwise)? Nations cry under decaying skies above- I agree that this may refer to polution, yet keeping it in the context of war it could mean darkened skies from bomb explosions and/or rubble. Now to explain what "equilibrium" they are talking about.... there are three major Sociological theories but pertaining to the quote we will only use two: Functionalism and Conflict theory. Functionalism sees society as this huge "body" that is able to function thanks to its "organs" or institutions and citizens working harmoniously. It keeps the status quo. Conflict Theory obviously says that the powerful are powerful at the expense of the weak. So......  The grinding wheels are "society" seen as a well oiled machine through functionalism, however they are crushed by equilibrium.... a revolution brought forth by those who believe in conflict theory, that there is huge inequality and are asking for their piece of the pie. And it fits the theme of war potrayed throughout the song.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Hey Onhell. You present an interesting turn on the lyrics of "Out of the Silent Planet". However I disagree. I see this song as a continuation of 2 Minutes to Midnight. In a post-nuclear conflict world we would see the skies darkened by nuclear fallout. The line "no more second chances" suggests that our nuclear holocaust has eliminated mankind almost totally. Silent planet would then suggest that our race has fallen silent.

Other lines such as "killing fields" describe the actual war, while "I accuse you" may refer to the beginning of the war, or perhaps it is the remnants of humanity unable to resolve their differences even after we have been pushed to the brink of extinction.

Not that I'm saying your interpretation is wrong. Just not the way I see it. I think my political science prof would love you, though.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Well LooseCannon, I agree with you. Nuclear warfare would in fact make us "Silent".
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Out of the silent planet was not about aliens invading our planet. The silent planet was earth, the three earthlings journeyed to Mars. We were the silent planet because the evil one had entered our planet and thus earth was no longer in communication with the good dieties of the other planets.

The devine goodness differentiated between the two "evil" earthlings, one as broken, and thus was eliminated, the other was bent, and thus not eliminated because there was salvation available to him.

Of course, if Bruce said this song was based on the "forbidden plante" then we might as well be discussing 'the witch, the lion, and the wardrobe' for all the C.S. lewis books. I had wondered if the soing was based on C.S. lewis book ' Out of the silent Planet'. For me it is, I really don't worry about the literal meanings of the lyrics as it is such a kick ass song!!
'out Of The Silent Planet'

I just read the commentary on this song, and I think it's really well-done -- to me it spells out quite well what issues the song is digging at (as I see it). The one line in particular that I read differently, though is the "I accuse you..." bit. I've always thought of this as being in the voice of that "haggard wisdom spitting out the bitter taste of hate." I imagine the "haggard wisdom" being in control -- say in the form of a council of elders, or the US Senate, for instance -- and here accusing some decent person of some heresy against the state. It's a moment straight out of Kafka's The Trial, as I see it: you don't know what you've done wrong, and no one will tell you or bother with any evidence against you, but you're going to suffer for it anyway....
'out Of The Silent Planet'

That is a very good point, and I never really saw it until now. The fact that leaders (political and religious) become corrupt, narrow minded and paranoid happens all the time (The church of the Middle Ages, The USSR and even the U.S today are good examples). I haven't heard the song in a while (the cd is stuck in my aunt's car) but as soon as I give it another listen I'll take this into consideration.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

I must agree here with the 'War' interpretation, specifically that of a nuclear war.

When Oppenheimer heard of the first successful use of the Atomic Bomb, he is retorted to have quoted from the Vedas (Hindu Holy Texts) "Lo, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
The power unleashed by the splitting of atoms is so great that a less secular civilisation would believe them to be Gods. All life on Earth is in danger of being "deserted by the hands of Gods of our own creation." Indeed, all peoples of all nations would "cry underneath decaying skies" in the event of such an awe- and fearsome force.

The second verse only reaffirms this view. During the Cold War the only thing keeping the USSR and America from bombing each other into oblivion was the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD - a fitting acronym). Under this principle, neither side was willing to strike the other first, the reason being that while they could easily destroy the enemy, it could not be done before the enemy had launched a counter-attack equal in scale. There were no "second chances", and "before you know the crime it's all too late", that is to say that once the bombers were in the air (or, later, missiles launched) there was no recalling them.

Scared yet?

Our planet will be silent (dead, burnt, nuked, use whatever word you like) in the event of a conflict of this scale, and these "demons of creation" are responsible.

As I opened this post with Oppenheimer, it is fitting that I close with Einstein, his comrade in the Manhattan Project:
"I know not with what weapons World War III shall be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

Iron Duke
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Funny you should mention the Vedas. I was thinking right now, would total distruction really be so bad? After all after death there is rebirth. After every dead Winter there is a fertile Spring. And in Hinduism Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva mae up the Trimurthies. Brahma is the creator of the universe, Vishnu is its preserver and Shiva is the one who will ultimately destroy it. But Hinduism isn't Linear, it's circular, therefore the destruction is only metaphorical for a new beginning. So if WWIV is fought with sticks and stones that signifies some (if not all humans died) survived or some new life form has discovered the horrible art of warfare. After all the extintion of the dinasours gave way to mammels and eventually us. So if we are the cause of our own demise....Let's hope the next "superior" species does a better job.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Great post, Iron Duke. That's a very convincing interpretation. The one teensy bit I would quibble with is that I still think the "hands of Gods of our own creation" refers to something other than the bombs themselves -- probably to actual gods who fail to intervene against the nuclear holocaust, or else to elected world leaders who set it off. It's just that the word "deserted" doesn't work if they're bombs. If the bombs deserted us, then we'd still have our blue skies and flowering meadows and unwithered hands and bodies.

As for this, Onhell:
[!--QuoteBegin--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]So if we are the cause of our own demise....Let's hope the next "superior" species does a better job.[/quote]
Screw the superior species. I'd still like to avoid making way for them... [!--emo&;)--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/wink.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'wink.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
'out Of The Silent Planet'

HAHAHAHA. True, but remember that it is highly unlikely this "Apocalypse" will occur in our life-time. As for the hands of gods.... This just occured to me, but i warn you that my great mythology is a little rusty. There are Three types of gods, Benign, Benevolent and Personal. A Benign god creates the universe and does little else. A Benevolent god not only creates the universe but intervense in human affairs if he feels like it and of course a personal god cares about YOU and is intimately related to you. Greco-Roman gods were Benevolent, intervening whenever they felt like it and with no reason (the Iliad comes to mind, I'll post specific refrences to this later...that is if anyone actually cares) and they seem like the gods who would abandon creatures of their own creation, leaving them to their own divises just cause they felt like it.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Now you can read other visitors' comments on 'Out Of The Silent Planet' as well as post your own. Any contribution to the commentary will be much appreciated, may it be cultural references relevant to the song (links to related websites, interpretations that may have been overlooked in the Commentary, and the like) or personal essays related to the topic of the song. Just be aware that messages that are either off-topic or too wacky may be deleted.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Could someone explain this line:
"The killing fields, the grinding wheels crushed by equilibrium"
What exactly should that mean?

And, an explanation of "equilibrium" in the dictionary:
A condition in which all acting influences are canceled by others, resulting in a stable, balanced, or unchanging system.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

Somehow I don't know what to think about this song. It's a good song and it fits perfectly on the album. But I just don't get it why they edited it down and released it as a single. Did they ever play this song live at all? I only know that the "live" video to this song was a fake, and a rather bad one.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

They played it at Shepherd's Bush in London on both nights and once or twice on the South American tour. At all these gigs they did Fallen Angel as well.

Unfortunately they only played the single version.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

[!--QuoteBegin-Onhell+Feb 24 2004, 07:36 AM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Onhell @ Feb 24 2004, 07:36 AM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--] True, but remember that it is highly unlikely this "Apocalypse" will occur in our life-time.

Don't be so sure. Maybe not a nuclear Holocaust, but due to Global Warming, and pollution by 2050, 5 billion people may live in countries without a proper water supply,thus leading to masss migration, whcih in turn would turn to riots, and a global scale war.That means that our generation may as well be the last. Weird, Omega just started, whcih to me carries a similar message
[!--QuoteBegin-ZadrraS+Jun 1 2004, 07:50 AM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(ZadrraS @ Jun 1 2004, 07:50 AM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]Oh, sorry, i missed that somwhow.
And, an explanation of "equilibrium" in dictionar:
A condition in which all acting influences are canceled by others, resulting in a stable, balanced, or unchanging system.

This would work fine in the context of the nuclear war, and Muttual Adssured Destruction, as with the nukes,it would all end, remaining an "stable, balanced, or unchanging system."
'out Of The Silent Planet'

[!--QuoteBegin-Uwe+Aug 30 2004, 12:59 PM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(Uwe @ Aug 30 2004, 12:59 PM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]Somehow I don't know what to think about this song. It's a good song and it fits perfectly on the album. But I just don't get it why they edited it down and released it as a single. Did they ever play this song live at all? I only know that the "live" video to this song was a fake, and a rather bad one.

the one on Visions is really annoying. as far as i know they didn't play it live.
'out Of The Silent Planet'

First i didn't like this song, but with the video (on the ehanced single - I never seen Vision of the Beast) I like it a bit more.

I give it 2,5/5

I think it's the first single which isn't in the regular setlist. (With 'Women in Uniform', of course...)
'out Of The Silent Planet'

[!--QuoteBegin-dogigniter+Sep 3 2004, 11:25 AM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(dogigniter @ Sep 3 2004, 11:25 AM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]as far as i know they didn't play it live.
You can find it on the Sheperd's Bush Arena, 1st Night - 06-01-2001 bootleg ;)
'out Of The Silent Planet'

You can currently download it [a href=\'http://www.bootlegsandbsides.co.uk/audio.html\' target=\'_blank\']here[/a].
And don't worry if you missed the first files, the owner of the website use to upload the whole bootleg after finished to upload files 5 by 5. Never could understand why [!--emo&:lol:--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/lol[1].gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'lol[1].gif\' /][!--endemo--]

(Sorry for the quality of my english [!--emo&:blush:--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/blush.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'blush.gif\' /][!--endemo--] )