"Cannibal Resource" as written by and David Donnell Longstreth....
Look around at everyone
Everyone looks alive and waiting
The wind is up, the stars out
The sun is calm, the light is fading
But we are

Still counting on cannibal resource
OK, open your eyes
I think you're more than a terrified witness
Behind the arbitrary line

Can it ask a question?
Can it sing a melody?
Can it be interpreted?
But is it more than what the eye can see?
Maybe not

Still counting on cannibal resource
OK, open your eyes
I think you're more than a terrified witness
Behind the arbitrary line

I'm cryin', I'm cryin'

Still counting on cannibal resource
OK, open your eyes
I think you're more than a terrified witness
Behind the arbitrary line
The arbitrary line
The arbitrary line
The arbitrary line


Lyrics submitted by themorningbell4

"Cannibal Resource" as written by David Donnell Longstreth

Lyrics © DOMINO PUBLISHING COMPANY

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Cannibal Resource song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commenti think you can interpret this in a number of ways, greens v. meat etc. I believe this song is an allegory of our current battle with our dependence on fossil fuels. It is a resource for our society but it's a cannibal resource because we are destroying ourselves with it. The non-involvement of most civilians is the terrified witness aspect and there is also a reference to greenhouse gases with "the light is fading".
    shoofaon September 07, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI disagree with any specific interpretation of the lyrics, I think it is more abstract and philosophical.

    I think this is a song about how we, as Americans take for granted, or forget, the consequences of all the things we need in life. I think the word resource in this song literally refers to ALL resources, it seems that all resources we, and all living things on this planet use, be it, food, materials, fuel, etc... requires us to destroy something in order to obtain it, be it plant life, animal life, other people (figuratively or in some cases literally), or the environment. We ignore that basic fact so much in our day to day lives that we forget that we are active participants in it, so when we are confronted by it, we fail to recognize we are part of it.
    sarcasmagasmon June 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentObviously a song dealing with the enduring conflict of man's herbivore v. carnivore instincts. It seems that Longstreth sees humans as overall good ("Everyone looks alive and waiting") but when it comes down to fill their stomachs they glutton over meat, not greens. The "Cannibal resource" of a man is not the fact that he/she dines on the flesh of another human, but that the animals we choose to slaughter and process are also, according to Longstreth, man-like. "Can it ask a question? / Can it sing a a melody? / Can it be interpreted? / Or is it more than what the eye can see? / Maybe not." This is the pure example of Longstreth's view of humanity: we are merely aloof, are just "terrified witnesses" to our own demise. The "arbitrary line" is just the line of thought between PETA and KFC.
    prspcthmmron June 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlargely agree with Shoofa's interpretation of the lyrics - I believe Dave Longstreth is commenting on the human race's lack of foresight in regards to the sustainability of our lifestyles, and our propensity to use and abuse the natural world around us.
    I recently read *something, somewhere* that brought to mind the 'cannibal resource' mentioned in the lyrics - the writer put forward the assertion that once we have used up all our natural resources we will eventually be forced to consume ourselves ...

    of course the line "I think you're more than a terrified witness" is an accusation that we all play a part in this destructive way of living.

    cool song too huh ?
    ChemistrySet1on August 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAn amazing song. Candidate for album of the year, edged out by "Merriweather Post Pavilion." Really stunning, though.
    petrosbasileuson June 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor some reason I get the feeling this song is sort of about the war in Iraq, and other wars.
    "You're more than a witness" is like saying you could do more to stop things like the war from happening, but you don't, so you're like a participant. The cannibal resource is oil.

    But that's just the feeling I got...
    SilverAuon June 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd be hesitant to say that this is "obviously" about any particular thing, though maybe you know something I don't... The vegetarian stance is an interesting idea (btw, herbivore v. carnivore - "v." = omnivore), as is the Iraq war slant. It seems to me that specifics like this are usually reflections of the opinions of those doing the interpreting. My own personal interpretation is looser than those. I hear it as being about the general thoughtlessness and fear and anxiety that pervades human behavior. Which includes inhumane treatment of animals, and war, but also more mundane things like road rage, boring jobs, gossip... Ultimately, it seems hopeful and empowering. We're all trying to get along in the world.
    Sylvaniaon June 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell the way i always viewed it was that "cannibal resource" would be humans, since the main source of energy for cannibals is human flesh. . .expanding from that i took this song as meaning more like "still counting on human kind" type deal. . . especially the "can it ask a question part" seems to be about technology and though we rely on these modern things more heavily, when it comes down to it humans are uniquely capable of performing certain tasks, at least for now
    Tyrannosauruson September 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIncredible song. Very abstract. I think this song is about multiple levels of consciousness and our shared collective experience. Everyone is alive and waiting... for what? Some breakthrough that allows us to transcend to another level, to cross the arbitrary line that we're currently at. It's scary to think about that and what it means for our physical bodies, but we "are more than a terrified witness / behind the arbitrary line"!
    deepersonalizedon April 28, 2012   Link

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