Nobody knows everything
We know this to be true
Everything is difficult
Except what's in front of you
But it's complicated even under your nose
Bullshit math equations
And your highs and your lows
And your manic depression
It comes and it goes
Your parasympathetic nervous system reacts
And you're in fight-or-flight mode

How's the world so small when the world is so large?
And what made the world, could I please speak to who's in charge?
Everything is real but it's also just as fake
From your daughter's birthday party to your grandmother's wake
And your bi-polar illness, it comes and it goes
You parasympathetic nervous system reacts
And you're in fight or flight
You're in fight or flight
You're in fight or flight mode

I've tried to know which words to sing so many times
And I've tried to know which chords to play
And I've tried to make it rhyme
And I've tried to find the key that all good songs are in
And I've tried to find the notes to make that great resounding din

But there's a bad man in everyone
No matter who we are
There's a rapist and a Nazi living in our tiny hearts
Child pornographers and cannibals, and politicians too
There's someone in your head waiting to fucking strangle you

So here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
People love you more, oh nevermind, oh nevermind
In fucking fact, Mrs. Robinson
The world won't care whether you live or die, live or die
In fucking fact, Mrs. Robinson,
They probably hate to see your stupid face, your stupid face
So here's to you, Mrs. Robinson,
You live in an unforgiving place.


Lyrics submitted by airtank


People II: The Reckoning song meanings
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  • +6
    My InterpretationI think there's a few things people might be confused about. First of all this song is obviously about bipolar disorder, as it's mentioned in the song multiple times, or (if you do not have bipolar disorder) you can interpret it as a feeling of bipolar disorder instead, either way, it concentrates on that feeling. Having bipolar disorder I can strongly relate to the entire, if not every single verse, of the song.


    -"Nobody knows everything, we know this to be true. Everything is difficult, except what's in front of you" = We accept that no one posses any real knowledge on what's what in this world and we all have to figure it out as we go along. Our entire world and society and life as a whole is too complicated (war, famine, corruption, climate change, etc.) and difficult to concentrate on, so you have to deal with what's in front of you.

    -"But it's complicated even under your nose, bullshit math equations and your highs and your lows" = even what's in front of you, the "little" thing (relationships, jobs, friends, etc.) are complicated. It all feels like meaningless and trivial "math equations" that you have to complete as well as deal with your highs and lows.

    -"And your manic depression, it comes and it goes" = That feeling of mania or depression that bipolar people deal with seems to come and go. When you're in a high it doesn't really feel like there's anything wrong with you and then your mood shifts and all of a sudden you start to realize something might be wrong with you after all. Your moods keep violently shifting.

    -"Your parasympathetic nervous system reacts, and you're in fight-or-flight mode" = The parasympathetic system deals with your body's response to things like relaxation. I do find it strange that he talks about the parasympathetic system and not the sympathetic system, so it must more of a comparison, not a causation between the two lines. Your body's own response is what puts you in that fight or flight mode, you have no option over how your body reacts.

    -"How's the world so small, when the world is so large" = Why does it all feel so cluttered and trivial when our society and world seem to be so much grander than just the basic motions we go through every day.

    -"And what made the world, could I please speak to who's in charge?" = For some reason this line seems to be said more jokingly than the others to me. He changes tone slightly from the previous line and then changed it back again after this line. He's asking jokingly "who" made the world be what it currently is, as if he could change it or scold "whoever's in charge" over it, but he knows the answer is simply "people".

    -"Everything is real but it's also just as fake, from your daughter's birthday party to your grandmother's wake" = Frustration over events and actions and traditions in our lives that he finds fake and trivial on certain levels. He believes things like birthdays and wakes are really just fake traditions used to mask or help people deal with their personal emotions. This, however, because people make the world what is also makes these things real, as the nature of our world is decided through our own actions. He however interprets it all as a delusion.

    -"And your bi-polar illness, it comes and it goes" - Again, same thing as the first line. He switches to calling it its new name "bipolar disorder" rather than its old name, "manic depression", and accepts it as an illness.

    -"I've tried to know which words to sing so many times, and I've tried to know which chords to play, and I've tried to make it rhyme, and I've tried to find the key that all good songs are in, and I've tried to find the notes to make that great resounding din" = He tries desperately to understand how to live and what to do and how to achieve happiness and how to fulfill himself.

    -"But there's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are" = We all have that side in us that tries to hurt ourselves and bring us down or make us feel inferior or insecure.

    -"There's a rapist and a Nazi living in our tiny hearts, child pornographers and cannibals, and politicians too, there's someone in your head waiting to fucking strangle you" = Same as before basically. We all have a side that we view as awful and try to hide it from everyone and keep it to ourselves in fear of hurting anyone and it'll always be there to try to "strangle" us and work to try to bring us down. "There's someone in my head, but it's not me" ala pink floyd

    -"So here's to you, Mrs. Robinson, people love you more, oh nevermind, oh nevermind" = Mrs. Robinson is an archetype created by Simon and Garfunkel to represent the new generation that tries to overthrow the false and delusional image the older generation. In this case however, contrary to Simon and Garfunkel's song, he's saying this new generation is no longer loved by anyone and people are becoming more isolated.

    -"In fucking fact, Mrs. Robinson, the world won't care whether you live or die, live or die, in fucking fact, Mrs. Robinson, they probably hate to see your stupid face, your stupid face" = The world doesn't care about the new generation or its troubles and problems and would rather just see it die. No one cares about anyone else anymore and we're all bitter and unconcerned with each other. But note that Mrs. Robinson is again used throughout these lines to try to represent the individual this song is about, and try to show that the individual this song is about is actually a much larger group that has come together.

    -"So here's to you, Mrs. Robinson, you live in an unforgiving place." = This last line is sort of a "hang in there" for everyone in our times and an acknowledgement to the growing isolation we all face.
    MrBigCheeson January 27, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is absolutely amazing. It (and the Mrs. Robertson part in particular) really struck me as a general statement about the world, and the people living in it.
    Glass Hammeron April 02, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentParasympathetics =/= fight or flight.
    I <3 this song.
    voldermaniaon June 12, 2009   Link
  • +3
    Song ComparisonIf those last few lines aren't a reference to Simon and Garfunkle's "Mrs. Robinson," I'll eat my hat.
    Glightningon August 10, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMrs. Robinson is most likely a reference to The Graduate, rather than the Simon & Garfunkel track.
    prepostmortemon August 23, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlol bi-polar elvis...yeah def illness
    AtlDynasty25on March 20, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwow this song contains somme of the best lyrics I have ever heard and/or read, extremely to the point about how no one will give a shit about you
    topicalrushon June 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhy does he say the parasympathetic nervous system reacts? It should be autonomic. The ANS activates the fight or flight response...

    Did he do this on purpose?
    Swojguyon June 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationSeems to be about the Tao (not everyone is completely good or evil) and humanism. "People I" is definitely a humanistic anthem, and I think this is just the darker side of that.
    buggie92on November 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm guessing it's:

    your grandmother's wake
    your bi-polar illness
    notes to make that great resounding din
    ThreexOveron January 19, 2008   Link

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