"Happiness in Slavery" as written by and Trent Reznor....
Slave screams he thinks he knows what he wants
Slave screams thinks he has something to say
Slave screams he hears but doesn't want to listen
Slave screams he's being beat into submission
Don't open your eyes you won't like what you see
The devils of truth steal the souls of the free
Don't open your eyes take it from me
I have found
You can find
Happiness is slavery
Slave screams he spends his life learning conformity
Slave screams he claims he has his own identity
Slave screams he's going to cause the system to fall
Slave screams but he's glad to be chained to that wall
Don't open your eyes you won't like what you see
The blind have been blessed with security
Don't open your eyes take it from me
I have found
You can find
Happiness is slavery
I don't know what I am I don't know where I've been
Human junk just words and so much skin
Stick my hands through the cage of this endless routine
Just some flesh caught in this big broken machine


Lyrics submitted by trills, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Happiness in Slavery" as written by Trent Reznor

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Happiness in Slavery song meanings
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64 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentWhat makes Trent's songs cool is that he DOESN'T have any answers. His music is his own dialogue with himself. Should we give into happiness and become a slave, or remain free but cursed to never being happy? Slavery can indeed lead to happiness. It's what society was founded on. Does a slave mentality lead to happiness or does happiness lead to a slave mentality? Does unhappiness lead to being independent or does independence lead to unhappiness? This unanswered paradox is Trent's, and our, plight.
    entity994on September 14, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis was written when going through an ongoing legal battle with a record company.

    tvt inspired hate.

    sorry
    daxdreyon March 05, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti see it totally differently. this song is a warning about government (and religion, which the 2 go hand in hand). its about being a slave to the system. Gov. controls us, with television and stuff. we're constantly conditioned with comercial advertisement...government even convinces millions of people that they are depressed so they can hand out "happy pills" which fuck with our minds so we will all become slaves. many more things but im not gonna get into my views here.
    basically, the song is about slavery in government, and hes writing about some "anarchist" guy who thinks hes rebelling (he claims he has his own identity, hes gonna cause the system to fall). but trent realizes that this anarchist is really a sheep just like the rest, and he is saying how he (trent) realizes the truth, and so its hard for him to get by in the world. but the peopel (such as this supposed anarchist) who dont realize it, they just go about in their routine life and are "happy" (the blind have been blessed with security)
    and thats how it goes along with the video...think about it...the guy tortured in the video is the slave because he doesnt realize. trent is saying how people lead themselves into it because of their own ignorance.
    did that make sense at all? it does in my mind... theres so much more i could have said about the government and the genius of this song but now is neither the time nor the place. trent is GOD. later
    lamb of godon May 05, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI just scanned through some of these comments and I could only see one place where Bob Flanagan's name came up...and just as Bob. Someone did mention they thought it was an S&M actor which he was but not just limited to that. I think anyone who really loves this song and video or just finds BDSM interesting should really read up on Bob Flanagan. He was an interesting man. And it might make you appreciate the video a bit more. Plus, one of many interesting facts about him that you would find is that he wasn't nearly as old as he looks in the video. He looks older because of cystic fibrosis. He died when he was 43 not even two years after being in the video. Anyway, this isn't about the meaning of the song but I guess if you read up on him you might be able to see it from a different view which I think any artist, especially Trent, would appreciate so the song isn't left so 2 dimensional. Not to mention added respect for the man's life which I'm sure Trent Reznor shares as well since he asked him to be in it.
    sublimeliveon March 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyea it means not so much that "anarchists" are slaves, but rather... our society, governments, and religious institutions. People who have a loan for school, and their car, and their house, and a mortgage and all that other shit that is controlled by David Rockefeller or related banking cartel individuals like the Bloomberg Group. We ARE slaves. If you think this is a cool song but all this government-conspiracy theory stuff is wrong.. guess what???? you're a poser... listen to trent's new cd, listen to his interviews, he's just as concerned as MANY others about this. if you think everyone who put comments here is "crazy" maybe you should be watching the O.C or American Idol or something rather than pretending to understand.
    anarchriston September 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentnot enough states actually even ratified the ammendment saying that every american CITIZEN MUST pay income tax. So therefore, the IRS is an illegal crime racket operating from within the government. People have won cases against the IRS when they bring this out... NOT ENOUGH STATES RATIFIED IT. IT DIDN'T PASS BUT THEY CONTINUE TO CITE IT BECAUSE THEY KNOW YOU WON'T CHECK. If this happens to you ask the judge to find the section that states it. It says corporations MUST, however it does not say you as an individual have to pay your taxes. But they will intimidate you with everything possible because again, they are a criminal racket and we are the slaves. Many former IRS agents who quit once they realized this now do not pay taxes and it is said that 20 million American citizens do not pay. That money is used on "defense" or attack as it should be called... education, which you see how much they spend on education, its not by accident, they want us stupid! you get as much out of a system as you put into it. and of course the reason the crime racket isn't stopped is because it pays for an illegal imperial war by a shadow dictatorship
    anarchriston September 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHonestly, to me, I think it's about simply being a slave to capitalism.
    Supaphly65on May 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe label, yeah but it also applies to real life. Ignorance is bliss. People can be happy if they conform and shit, do exactly what people expect them too, but if they open their eyes and see what they are doing... realizing they are slaves to society, they won't be happy with it anymore.
    DJgifon February 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is about the delusion of freedom we suffer in the modern world, while the vast majority of the (first) world is confined to a small set of possibilities from birth, we are taught to love it and want it.

    Slave screams he thinks he knows what he wants
    [<>] Thinking we can really choose anything we want, when what we want usually just coincides with what we're allowed.
    Slave screams thinks he has something to say
    [<>]
    Slave screams he hears but doesn't want to listen
    Slave screams he's being beat into submission
    Don't open your eyes you won't like what you see
    [<>] Keep believing the lie, realising that you're not truly free is a frightening and painful experience.
    The devils of truth steal the souls of the free
    [<>] The people at the top of the "food" chain as it were, contributing to the delusion.
    Don't open your eyes take it from me
    I have found
    You can find
    Happiness is slavery
    [<>] Speaking from the position of someone that has made the realisation and were wholly content with their life until that point.
    Slave screams he spends his life learning conformity
    [<>]
    Slave screams he claims he has his own identity
    [<>] Further delusion of the freedom we think we possess
    Slave screams he's going to cause the system to fall
    [<>] Lying to ourselves that we (anyone) can really change the world
    Slave screams but he's glad to be chained to that wall
    [<>] Not admitting that he's happy that life is set out and made so easy.
    Don't open your eyes you won't like what you see
    The blind have been blessed with security
    [<>] Those who stay on the road meant for them live a secure life
    I don't know what I am I don't know where I've been
    Human junk just words and so much skin
    [<>]
    Stick my hands through the cage of this endless routine
    Just some flesh caught in this big broken machine
    [<>] Trying to escape the reality he has realised, only to make the further realisation that he means nothing in the grand scheme.
    Echoplexiaon October 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit means great part of the lyrics author life in the time he wrote this. it seems he feels as a slave in slavery in the endless routine of life.
    he feels that way because he did not solve the puzzle of life yet " i don t know who i am i don t know where i ve been". i relate a lot with this too so i found easy to figure it out. this slavery means the fight between good and evil inside the soul and the evil is the slave condition he wants to be free of.
    sonofdoomon May 10, 2002   Link

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