"Backwater" as written by and Brian Eno....
Backwater
We're sailing at the edges of time
Backwater
We're drifting at the waterline
Oh we're floating in the coastal waters
You and me and the porter's daughters
Ooh what to do not a sausage to do
And the shorter of the porter's daughters
Dips her hand in the deadly waters
Ooh what to do in a tiny canoe

Black water
There were six of us but now we are five
We're all talking
To keep the conversation alive
There was a senator from Ecuador
Who talked about a meteor
That crashed on a hill in the south of Peru
And was found by a conquistador
Who took it to the emperor
And he passed it on to a Turkish guru

His daughter
Was slated for becoming divine
He taught her
He taught her how to split and define
But if you study the logistics
And heuristics of the mystics
You will find that their minds rarely move in a line
So it's much more realistic
To abandon such ballistics
And resign to be trapped on a leaf in a vine


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"Backwater" as written by Brian Eno

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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  • +1
    General CommentThe first verse establishes the material, for no reason, since the others will soon demolish it. Apart from the edges of time bit, very charming in its inexplicability, there is not much to say.
    The second one is a typical Eno raving (cf. e.g. the last stanza of The Fat Lady of Limbourg or the last one of Driving Me Backwards), not of the worst kind. Consistently enoesque (and, I would add, with no more meaning that the meaning of using language) is also the subtle shift from backwater to black water.

    The last verse sums up the whole before and after science problematic as a direct and dense comparison, or maybe juxtaposition, of two paradigms, both in a way close to Eno's thought: mysticism and science.
    Divinity is here reached by conquering math, which is an axiomatic system (*the* axiomatic system), therefore moving in a line -even if producing arboreal structures. Here lies the first problem: if divinity is reached this way, why would the mystics have a problem with that? I guess it is the wrong kind of divinity, the one involving the subjugation of nature and man (possibly conquered, let me remind you, through a meteor that traveled from Peru to Turkey). Studying the logistics (in some anachronistic manner, evidently) and heuristics (accurate) of the mystics will reveal that they don't work axiomatically (interesting to note here that historically mysticism has always kept a cordial relationship with math, e.g. Pythagoreans, Kabbalah, Plotinus).
    While the stanza is one of his best, his argument is faulty: why would it be more *realistic*, of all things, to leave ballistics (part of physics, the birthplace of modern science) behind because of the above? First of all, linking mysticism to some sort of utilitarianism, connoted by realism, doesn't sound right. Even if this could stand, why would it be realistic for anyone apart from an already convinced follower of mysticism (whatever this entity is)? Realism could also be evoking philosophical realism, of course, in which case things could get more complicated, but it is already quite late (3 a.m.!) to delve into that.
    Resigning to be trapped in god, in fate, is where we are finally lead. One could prefer, though, surpassing both fatalism and positivism and link necessity to freedom, being sovereign of nothing but entering a thousand small worlds at each glance...
    bVon October 10, 2015   Link

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