"The Ego's Last Stand" as written by Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins....
One, two, three, four,
Oh, tender, once you see their faces
Oh, they're just like us
Tending their wants
Standing in their places
Oh, their ego is crushed

The only way out
Is to destroy all traces
Oh, destroy yourself
There's no way back
There's complete devastation
Oh, there's no way out
There's no way out
How can you destroy your ego?
Would you believe it?
There's no way out
How can I kill your ego?
Would you still believe it?

Oh, the red one's come
Don't shadow changes
Oh, the sparrow looks up
Red spots on the sun
Is there evil in nature?
Oh, the eagles spread claws
An invisible cloud
Makes invisible changes
Oh, an ant takes the crown
A man holds a gun
There's no explanation
Oh, he shoots at the sun

Lyrics submitted by romack

"The Ego's Last Stand" as written by Steven Gregory Drozd Wayne Michael Coyne

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Ego's Last Stand song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is amazing. In conjunction with the song preceding this on the album (powerless), I suspect the band may be going through addiction recovery. They still can, however, write in such a cryptic way that many listeners will have entirely different interpretations of these lyrics.

    The engineering of this album, the strange sounds weaving from right headphone to left, ebbing in, out, in out, are magical and wonderful, and this song exemplifies this effect.
    Johnde08on July 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI interpret this song as recovering from an ego death trip. when you're ego dies you see yourself for who you really are, and it can be one of the most devastating things a human can experience. "how can you believe what you believe" i feel like is referring to the feeling post ego death where everything seems fake, and all experiences seem surreal. also, the only way to recover is to reconstruct(or "destroy") yourself, to who you want to be and what you want in life. i love how ego death is a somewhat consistent theme in this album. it helped me through mine, knowing i wasn't alone.
    montyandtimmonon July 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the bass in this song
    slowparadeon October 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentand pretty much everything else in it
    slowparadeon October 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSlowparade, when you're right, goddamnit you're right.

    Everything in this song is amazing and everything the Flaming Lips do is amazing.

    SOOOOO obsessed since this album and DSotM cover....
    Synergisticon February 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation(Prepare for long winded song analysis!)
    This song reminds me of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” The story is that there’s a group of men being held captive inside a cave for their entire lives ever since birth, held down by chains so they move their bodies or even twist their heads, so they've faced towards a wall for their entire lives. Behind them is a large fire and a group of people in front of this fire projecting shadows against the wall of the cave using various objects to portray whatever scenes or symbols they choose. The chained men can only see the shadows, so essentially the images of the shadows become their entire realities because that’s all they’ve ever seen or known. Their subjective realities are at the whim of these people, and they know nothing other than shadowy illusions and know no truth beyond this.
    One day, one of the men is set free. He walks out of the cave into the sun, and his immediate reaction to seeing this enormous ball of light after seeing only dim shadows he’s struck with fear and physical pain because his eyes are not adjusted. Because his reaction to the sun was so negative, naturally he believes the sun is bad. He wishes to go back to the safe, dark cave because at this point that’s still his ultimate reality and the sun is (to him) the illusion here.
    However, over time he works his way towards looking at the sun and his eyes begin to adjust. After considerable thought, he learns that he’s finally seen the “light” and his whole life perspective changes. Now that he’s seen the light and an fully embrace it, he can never go back to his previous way of thinking. Those he once knew think of him as mad, and he pities those who can’t see past the shadows.
    This is all a fairly obvious allegory for living your live believing solely in illusions caused by a false sense of reality and self sustaining ego, and then suddenly seeing the light of the truth and the turmoil it can cause within someone. Seeing the truth can be painful and it can make you rethink your entire existence, but it’s ultimately for the best.
    This song reminds me of it because the shadow illusions stand as a person’s ego, the superficial identity one has of themselves which represent a certain concrete reality that they feel is true (the shadows). This ego, when manipulated by others (the people in the cave) and left to fester in the dark, can make you believe in false realities and reject the truth, drawing you away from the light. But it’s not only a creation of exterior forces, but also a construction of your own inner thought, encapsulating yourself in a cave of self deprivation and denial of the truth because it’s only human impulse to be in favor of what’s more immediately pleasant. The ego is the shadows projected against the wall, and the sunlight is the ultimate, and sometimes painful, truth of reality.
    This song discusses how by process of seeing the light of truth “the ego is crushed” and “the only way out is to destroy all traces”…of your once perceived reality. You have to walk out of the cave and finally step into the sun.
    "Dawn’s shadow changes" - This mention of shadows strengths the connection, and it discusses how when you see the light coming over the horizon and all of the pieces start to connect, the ‘shadows’ of your reality all begin to change.
    And once you learn this reality, there’s no going back. After living in the dark, the unbelievably bright sun is stamped into your brain. You may want to reject it and return to the comfortable dark home you’ve built, but it’ll never be the same. “Oh, destroy yourself, there’s no way back, there’s complete devastation.” - You WANT to destroy the ego, because you’re living a lie!
    This realization can inspire rage and confusion, promoting you to ask yourself why does it hurt to look at the sun? Why is the truth painful? “Oh, the sparrow looks up, Red spots on the sun. Is there evil in nature?” - Is the nature of this realization good or bad? The realization is painful because it counteracts all of your built up philosophy, and nobody wants to hear that everything they’ve ever known is fraudulent.
    This mention of a sparrow brings me back to the first song on Embryonic “The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine” - I think Wayne is comparing himself to a sparrow, or rather just humans in general as curious little animals trying to discern their place in the world. In this song he sings some really striking and simply verses which resonate with this same topic:
    What does it mean
    To dream what you dream
    To believe what you’ve seen?
    Why do we feel
    To try to find real
    Underneath a machine?”
    This is all almost self explanatory. The machine is the mechanical illusionary corporate device we all live under and seemed to be controlled by, the shadows that we all accept as our truth because that’s the way our heads have been pointing all our lives. We “try to feel real underneath the machine” because we want to seek purpose and comfort in it, like when the man wants to return to the safety of the cave once he’s seen the sun. We WANT it to be real even when the evidence points to something else. We have to question, what does it mean? Why do we feel this way? What really it the truth, do I believe what I’ve seen, and is this life I’m living it???
    Returning to the song at hand here: Similarly to the aforementioned lyrics, Wayne here sings “There’s no way out. How can you believe what you still believe?”
    Just near the end of the song, he says, “A man holds a gun, there’s no explanation. Oh, he shoots at the sun.” This discuses the fear we have of the truth, how the unknown terrifies us, and how we want to return to where it’s comfortable even if it’s all a lie, or just a shadow on a wall. Man becomes aggressive when faced with controversy and something that counteracts their beliefs, and this is the ultimate blow, essentially saying ‘your life is a lie, what are you going to do about it?’ It’s human nature to seek out the comfortable and the simple, but the truth is neither of these. The truth is hard hitting and scary, and it’s up to you to decide what you do with it. Do you step into the sun and never return, or do you stand your ground and defend the shadows on the wall? Or the images on the tv screen?
    This really is “The Ego’s Last Stand” - a showdown between what you’ve come to know, love, and trust vs. the ultimate, and often painful, truth of your ever existing reality.
    erineobon February 06, 2014   Link

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