"The Riddle" as written by and John Ondrasik....
There was a man back in '95
Whose heart ran out of summers
But before he died, I asked him
Wait, what's the sense in life?
Come over me, come over me

He said
Son, why you got to sing that tune?
Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
Let an angel swing and make you swoon
Then you will see, you will see

Then he said
Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I

Picked up my kid from school today
Did you learn anything causin' the world today
You can't live in a castle far away
Now talk to me, come talk to me

He said
Dad, I'm big, but we're smaller than small
In the scheme of things, well, we're nothing at all
Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
So play with me, come play with me

And, hey, dad
Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I

I said
Son, for all I've told you
When you get right down to the
Reason for the world
Who am I?

There are secrets that we still have left to find
There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
There are answers we're not wise enough to see

He said
You looking for a clue
I love you free

The batter swings and the summer flies
As I look into my angel's eyes
A song plays on while the moon is high over me
Something comes over me

I guess we're big, and I guess we're small
If you think about it, man, you know we got it all
'Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
And I love you free
I love you freely

Here's a riddle for you
Find the answer
There's a reason for the world
You and I


Lyrics submitted by phil_FFF

"The Riddle" as written by John Ondrasik

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Riddle song meanings
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  • +5
    My Interpretation--Here's my take. The reason is embedded in the riddle. "You and I". The connections and love between people and the universe.




    There was a man back in '95
    Whose heart ran out of summers (amazing lyric!)
    But before he died, I asked him
    Wait, what's the sense in life?
    Come over me, come over me

    He said
    Son, why you got to sing that tune?
    Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon (awesome!)
    Let an angel swing and make you swoon
    Then you will see, you will see

    Then he said
    Here's a riddle for you
    Find the answer
    There's a reason for the world
    You and I

    --His dad is telling him to stop over-thinking the meaning of life and enjoy it. A Dylan song, a lunar eclipse, or being present and enjoying the last minutes of life with his father. Meaningful connections to the people and world around you.







    Picked up my kid from school today
    Did you learn anything causin' the world today
    You can't live in a castle far away
    Now talk to me, come talk to me

    He said
    Dad, I'm big, but we're smaller than small (my son would say this :-))
    In the scheme of things, well, we're nothing at all
    Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
    So play with me, come play with me

    And, hey, dad
    Here's a riddle for you
    Find the answer
    There's a reason for the world
    You and I

    - His son is repeating his fathers sentiments. Life seems complicated, but clearly it's about us being connected and together. Play with me dad. Stop overthinking life, and let's enjoy it.





    I said
    Son, for all I've told you
    When you get right down to the
    Reason for the world
    Who am I?

    There are secrets that we still have left to find
    There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
    There are answers we're not wise enough to see

    --The author/singer is still not getting it. Life is so complex, who am i? what's the reason for life? This riddle is complicated. I can't figure it out!




    He said
    You looking for a clue
    I love you free (bring on the tears)

    - The son is pleading with his dad to get it. I love you FREE. No strings attached. I'm here right now. Enjoy life. Enjoy love. Enjoy your connection to me!




    The batter swings and the summer flies
    As I look into my angel's eyes
    A song plays on while the moon is high over me
    Something comes over me

    I guess we're big, and I guess we're small
    If you think about it, man, you know we got it all
    'Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
    And I love you free
    I love you freely

    - The author finally feels it. He finally gets it because he's not over-thinking anymore and he's moved by his "angel" on a summer evening to a different state of pure love and connectedness. Something "comes over" him, and he finally gets what his father and his son were trying to teach him through the riddle.




    Here's a riddle for you
    Find the answer
    There's a reason for the world
    You and I

    -- Now the author is repeating the riddle. Challenging us to understand. The world is here for us to enjoy and connect with each other in deep meaningful ways. The deep loving connection we make, whether it's to a Dylan song, a Five for Fighting song, a child, a parent, a partner, or a stranger are the reason for the world, the universe, and for existence.
    ferb1234on August 10, 2014   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt's about a father teaching his child about love before he dies. The answer to the riddle is that love is the meaning of the world.
    destinytomorrowon July 20, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe song starts off with a man with his dying father. Just before he dies, the son asks him, what is the meaning of this world. His father tells him when he listens to a great song, sees an eclipse of the moon, or looks into a beatiful person's eyes and falls in love, he won't need to ask that question ever again.

    Years later when he picks up his son from school, his son asks him about the meaning of life, and how they are so small. His father tells him a hint to the riddle, and that is, I love you for free.

    His wife or "angel" is there with him and he realizes his relationship with people, his life, and all that is wonderful that he experiences is good in life.

    Good song.
    Occams_Harmonyon September 15, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe answer to the riddle is so simple it can so easily be overlooked. NOW is all we have. The past is just a dream and the future is a fantasy filled with hope and fear. It doesn't take much to realize that memories of the past and expectations of the future take place in the one eternal moment .Future and past are just concepts we create to PLAY this game of life. "Who am I?" is a question that can never be answered because our sense of who we are is constantly changing. In Zen the question is answered with silence. Roaring echoes of silence. That is why I think in the song You and I are followed by ...
    kneoton September 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is amazing... pure and simple.

    for those of you that asked what the riddle was, i believe it is one of two things.

    the lyrics
    When you get right down to the
    Reason for the world...
    Who am I?
    can be interpreted into two questions, what is the reason for the world? or who am i?

    this song really struck a chord with me because any listener could take and ask himself those questions every day and never come up with an answer. and throughout the song the old man, the child, and the middleaged man are all looking for answer to the same question, and none of them have it.
    shadowfox2160on August 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBeautiful, beautiful song! We ask ourselves important philosophical questions at certain times in our lives - when a parent dies we ask, what was it all worth? Why are we here? My beloved mother died, and did all of the love that was stored up between us mean anything? When we have children we ask, why? It is a lot easier not to have them, but they teach us to question the reason we are here, and they teach us to love unconditionally. The philosopher in this song asks two questions: "What is the reason for the world?", and "who am I in the world?". Those are important questions to ask, and I think the whole reason we are in this world is to answer them. If we rely on schools and science, we deal with hard facts, but we feel much more than that "we are big and we are smaller than small". Things like songs, friendships, and other wonderful things that happen to us give us feelings (like love, wonder) that open a window to another dimension that we can't see with our eyes, but we feel with our hearts. For me, the answer to the question, "what is the reason for the world?" is that we are placed here to learn to love each other, and ultimately learn to love God. My own answer to the question, "who am I?" is that I am here to help reflect God's love for all of humanity by loving and caring for others. Just my opinion:)
    diagd1on February 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWow... this is inexplicable... so strong and meaningful... so beautiful... it's truly amazing. Obviously, I just have to solve this 'riddle' about the meaning of life. It's a complicated and there is surely more than one answer- but here is a definite view of this riddle.

    "Dad I'm big but we're smaller than small
    In the scheme of things, well we're nothing at all."

    Well, I think he's talking about view and perspective. Maybe he means compared to other we're big- but compared to what's out in the world we are very small.

    "Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
    So play with me, come play with me"

    Every mother's child sings a lonely song... hmm... hard to say. I believe it may be that at one point, we are all lonely deep down. So play with me, this means that I'm not lonely by you. I think...?

    "Son for all I've told you
    When you get right down to the
    Reason for the world...
    Who am I?"

    Basically, a reason for the world- a purpose of life- is who are you? Finding an identity of your own and not being of sameness but being unique in your own way.

    "There are secrets that we still have left to find
    There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
    There are answers we're not wise enough to see."

    This defines much of the song, actually. What he's saying is- no matter how much we dig down- no matter how much we believe we understand, there will always be more, and there will always be something bigger than you and more secrets and discoveries to find.

    "The batter swings and the summer flies
    As I look into my angel's eyes
    A song plays on while the moon is hiding over me
    Something comes over me."

    Alright, first- the batter swings and the summer flies. This merely represents the passing of time and chronological succession. In essence- nothing stays in place, everything changes. By "his angel" he means a daughter or a wife. As he looks into her eyes, something comes over me. I believe this may mean-
    a.) Death. He's pleased by the last sight of his true love and passes on.
    b.) He looks into her eyes and he feels the greatest feeling of intense serenity and joy.

    "I guess we're big and I guess we're small
    If you think about it man you know we got it all
    Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
    And I love you free
    I love you freely."

    Hmm... big and small. This means- we are- everything. We can be good, bad. Brave, cowardly. Smart, dumb. Strong, weak. Serene, violent, everything. Humans in nature- can be anything, it's determined by how life works and their experiences. And this big bouncing ball- is our Earth, our home. And I love you free- it means that- love happens. It isn't decided, it isn't controlled. It happens, and when it does, it's true miracle.

    So- the question is, what is the answer? Personally, I believe the answer is nothing, because it is everything. It tells about every aspect of life and your time with it. It tells how you may be big but our universe is much bigger. How life is a search for an identity- something that everybody has and needs- a uniqueness, it tells of love and it's strength and passion, and the miracles that cause and are produced from it. It tells of humans' variety of races and personality, and how each one is, even by a little bit, different than any other. It tells of time, its passing- and its indefeasibly. And so much more- the answer to riddle is everything.

    It's a beautiful song and among the true greatest song of our fabric of time and history. I want it to play at my own wedding.

    ProfWon November 01, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThere was a man back in '95
    Whose heart ran out of summers
    But before he died, I asked him
    Wait, what's the sense in life?
    Come over me, come over me

    -- The narrator is talking about likely about his father, who is about to leave him. The though of losing someone we've had all our life makes the narrator question what the purpose of life is.

    He said
    Son, why you got to sing that tune?
    Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon
    Let an angel swing and make you swoon
    Then you will see, you will see

    -- The father reassures the narrator that all is okay, and suggests that he go see a miracle of nature or fall in love to understand how special life is. This will help answer his question.

    Then he said
    Here's a riddle for you
    Find the answer
    There's a reason for the world
    You and I

    -- The father challenges the narrator to think about why they are here. The riddle is the answer, the father is telling him that the bond between them (Love) is the answer.

    Picked up my kid from school today
    Did you learn anything causin' the world today
    You can't live in a castle far away
    Now talk to me, come talk to me

    --Now the Narrator is in his fathers position with with his child looking up to him. His question to his child suggests that he is a logical man and may have trouble understanding/believing the meaning of life

    He said
    Dad, I'm big, but we're smaller than small
    In the scheme of things, well, we're nothing at all
    Still every mother's child sings a lonely song
    So play with me, come play with me

    -- The child, like his grandfather, understands the meaning of life. However the narrator still doesn't. The child knows were tiny in this world, but we can make it count. The last two lines refer to the fact that everyone will face a time when their parents are no longer there, "so play with me" and take advantage of this time now.

    And, hey, dad
    Here's a riddle for you
    Find the answer
    There's a reason for the world
    You and I

    -- Again, the child understands the purpose. He attempts to also explain to his father.

    I said
    Son, for all I've told you
    When you get right down to the
    Reason for the world
    Who am I?

    - The father can't understand what his meaning in this world is. Like most humans he wants to feel like there is a reason for him on earth, he is searching for destiny.

    There are secrets that we still have left to find
    There have been mysteries from the beginning of time
    There are answers we're not wise enough to see

    -- This is likely the son telling the father that there will never be a perfect answer to the meaning of life, and there probably never will be. "God" isn't going to come and tell you. Humans have always struggled with this and always will. The father just needs to appreciate life and love.

    He said
    You looking for a clue
    I love you free

    -- The son attempts to explain to his father. "i love you free" Instead of simply "I love you" probably suggests that love isn't destiny, and can not be controlled, it is a beautiful miracle.

    The batter swings and the summer flies
    As I look into my angel's eyes
    A song plays on while the moon is high over me
    Something comes over me

    -- as he stares at the love of his life (likely meaning wife), he suddenly understands.

    I guess we're big, and I guess we're small
    If you think about it, man, you know we got it all
    'Cause we're all we got on this bouncing ball
    And I love you free
    I love you freely

    -- He understands that in this universe we are tiny, but to each other they are everything. Because they love each other they have everything they could ever want.

    Here's a riddle for you
    Find the answer
    There's a reason for the world
    You and I

    -- The narrator has solved the riddle
    ed4everon April 08, 2016   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThere's a reason for the world,
    This is the actual riddle, not the next part
    You and I
    This is the answer, meaning that the only reason and meaning to the world is
    the love you share with those close to you.
    RuffSwamion June 16, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is off his new album, 'Two Lights', to be released on august 1st 2006. Can't wait. It's a fantastic song about the meaning of life with good generation links
    phil_FFFon June 01, 2006   Link

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