"The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness" as written by and Bryce Dessner Matt Berninger....
Maybe I listen more than you think
And I can tell that somebody sold you
We said we’ve never let anyone in
We said we’d only die of lonely secrets

The system only dreams in total darkness
Why are you hiding from me?
We’re in a different kind of thing now
All night you’re talking to God

I thought that this would all work out after a while
Now you’re saying that I’m asking for too much attention
Also no other faith is light enough for this place
We said we’d only die of lonely secrets

The system only dreams in total darkness
Why are you hiding from me?
We’re in a different kind of thing now
All night you’re talking to God

And I cannot explain it
Oh, any other, any other way
I cannot explain it
Oh, any other, any other way

The system only dreams in total darkness
Why are you hiding from me?
We’re in a different kind of thing now
All night you’re talking to God

And I cannot explain it
Oh, any other, any other way
I cannot explain it
Oh, any other, any other way
I cannot explain it
Oh, any other, any other way
I cannot explain it
Oh, any other, any other way


Lyrics submitted by DarkwingDan

"The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness" as written by Bryce Dessner Matt Berninger

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentA system is a name for the group of identities/personalities who make up the whole person of someone who has dissociative identity (previously known as multiple personality) disorder. So I'm guessing that's what the song is about. Also, the system/whole person often refers to themself/selves as we, as crops up in the lyric. The various identities are sometimes in agreement and sometimes in conflict. Some might be awake while others sleep. Total darkness is when they all dream.
    ali1053051on June 24, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMatt Berringer was recently interviewed as saying the song speaks to the current dark state of affairs the US is experiencing politically with the rise of dark ethno-nationalistic elements selling people a twisted hate-based faith of sorts. He said the song is about the "darkness before the dawn" in that the system (our society) can only be motivated and inspired to break free and grow out of this divisive hatred, this dark faith, in the most trying, darkest of times (that inspiration being the "dreams" he alludes to). He says that he can tell that "somebody sold you (sic: on some terrible twisted ideology)", being taken aback because he thought we were impervious to the mistakes of history (i.e., "we said we wouldn't be fooled by nefarious elements of society...we wouldn't let them in...but you did."). He says the only cure for this new dark time we've found ourselves in is to eradicate this twisted dark faith many have become beholden to (i.e., "Loss of no other faith is light enough for this place").
    rog27on August 13, 2017   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationRog27 is correct. ‘The system’ is the political mindset or zeitgeist of the people.
    The song is about how the people have allowed evil to surface (Trump becoming president) and how there must be some kind of evil magic working in the darkness to allow this happen.

    Maybe I listen more than you think
    (I’m aware of this underbelly of evil)
    And I can tell that somebody sold you
    (You’ve been swayed toward the evil)
    We said we’ve never let anyone in
    (We thought we could contain the evil within us)
    We said we’d only die of lonely secrets

    The system only dreams in total darkness
    (The mindset of the people is influenced by a hidden evil)
    Why are you hiding from me?
    We’re in a different kind of thing now
    (The evil has risen to the surface)
    All night you’re talking to God
    (By some evil magic (god) that I can’t explain)

    I thought that this would all work out after a while
    (If I ignored this underbelly of evil it might just go away)
    Now you’re saying that I’m asking for too much attention
    (But now the evil have surfaced I’m speaking out now and nobody will listen)
    Also no other faith is light enough for this place
    (Being good isn’t strong enough to defeat this evil now the people have been ‘sold’)

    Evil has surfaced, the mindset of the people has switched in favour of the evil, and I’m so shocked that it has happened. It’s like some kind of evil magic. I can’t explain it any other way.
    hattonthegreaton October 02, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis band just gets better and better. Nobody will ever convince me tgatbthese are months greatest band on the planet.
    lawlessdanon May 20, 2017   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationHe is basically saying that he can tell that something is going on with his lover with the first 2 lines. Then with lines 3 and 4 he is referring to the social compact that they supposedly shared in that they wouldn't let anything or anyone come in between them, clearly implying that "she" has done just this. Saying that "we said we'd only die of lonely secrets" is saying that I thought we both understood that the only thing that could break our compact is keeping secrets from eachother.

    The line "the system only dreams in total darkness" the system is the relationship kind of like a "social system" and darkness is the lack of proper communication between them tying into the first lines and the "dreams" are the scattered failing line of proper communication between them. Causing the very nature of the relationship to decay and change into something that is unrecognizable from the original and something that cannot last. Also eluded to by the line 'we're in a different kind of thing now."

    He seems to make it clear that "she" has been evangelized by lines 2 and 8. But I doubt he would be so direct more likely that he is using "God" as a euphemism for something he sees and cultish or religious in nature that is coming between them and causing her to cut him off. She is "hiding" from him because she has put her new "faith" first and deflects to him saying he is wanting too much "attention."

    The most confusing line in the whole song is "Loss of no other faith is light enough for this place." As far as i can tell by "this place" he means the new corrupted, failing state of their relationship, and by the rest of the line he seems to mean that whatever dogma has infested her psyche that despite what ever kind of deflecting or blaming she may be doing in order to negate her responsibility in the situation that this thing, this dogma or religion or whatever it is is clearly a sufficient explanation for the new "system."
    alternateviewon June 23, 2017   Link

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