I don't want to be hostile.
I don't want to be dismal.
And I don't wanna rot in apathetic existence.
See I want to believe you,
And I wanted to trust
And I want to have faith to put away the dagger.

But you lie, cheat, and steal (3 times)
And yet I tolerate you.

Veil of virtue hung to hide your method
While I smile and laugh and dance
And sing your praise and glory.
Shroud of virtue hung to mask your stigma
As I smile and laugh and dance
And sing your glory
While you lie, cheat, and steal.
How can I tolerate you.

Our guilt, our blame,
I've been far too sympathetic.
Our blood, our fault.
I've been far too sympathetic.
I'm not innocent.
You're not innocent.
No one is innocent.

You lie, cheat and steal (15 times)
I cannot tolerate

I will not tolerate you
I will grow down inside you
I must grow down beside you
No one is innocent

Lyrics submitted by dank, edited by mr stuff

Intolerance song meanings
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  • +7
    General Comment

    I woulda thought it'd be making a point of how (Western) society abd culture indocrinate people to endure and be silent, to never be offensive, to always be silent and take things in good humour and faih and not to rock the boat.

    "I don't want to be hostile. I don't want to be dismal. But I don't want to rot in an apathetic existance either."

    In most of our ulture, to not be WIT somone is to be against them. I don't want to be your enemy, but I don'rt wanna have to shut down just to survive you. No longer will anything be tolerated because it just adds to it all.

    anankeon April 18, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    Personally, I don't this song has anything to do with the military, although I would not be surprised at all if Maynard got the whole "lie, cheat, and steal" part from when he studied at West Point Prep School, as the Cadet Honor Code does state that "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal nor tolerate those who do". Other than that, I see no reference to the military at all throughout the song. Instead I think the song is about people in general and Maynard's inability to tolerate human nature (or his anger at the fact that he DOES tolerate it). It seems that at the beginning of the song, he still has some tolerance, but by the end, it just seems that he's completely fed up with people and their bullshit. Although people may try to hide it behind a "veil of virtue", it's inescapable; not even Maynard is excluded, as he clearly states in the song ("I am not innocent"). I have to say though, I'm sure I can come up with quite a few more flaws in human nature than just lying, cheating, and stealing... haha.

    I don't claim that this is the "right answer", as I can't be COMPLETELY sure what point Maynard intended to get across with the song, nor can anybody else. Even if one were able to ask Maynard himself, they'd be lucky to get a straight-answer, as Tool encourages listeners to come up with their own interpretations of the band's songs and hopefully make some kind of personal connections to them. This is in response to a comment that was left almost 5 years ago... so I guess it's somewhat pointless, but I just think it's really arrogant to claim that your interpretation is the one that is right.

    Back to the song, I can connect to the it, as I find it extremely difficult to see the best in people (or what little there is of it) and extremely easy to see the worst (of which there is much more). Noone is innocent.

    Sharengeon September 03, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    So you're saying that just because violence got us where we are today then we shouldn't try to stop it? War also produced bloody regimes, much more of those than free-speech democracies.

    ic_assasainon September 15, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    You couldn't be more right stayhuman, which is why even though I am a pacifist I realize that this violence has been necessary or we would not be where we are now. And I do believe that this world is only going to get worse before it gets better. This is the contradictory world we live in, love it and hate it but never become it. Never forget that there is more to this world than we can see

    joshthackon June 07, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I reckon it could be about a general dislike and distrust of the human race.'i must go down beside you',and 'im not innocent' well thats saying being a human,doing things like lying,cheating,stealing like the rest of them,hes like them,hes not innocent. And ToolRulz your an ass .what have you got against hipppies anyway

    EYEBAWon March 14, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    thats sick.. u have maynards email.... im deff jealous dude

    Enjoi353on April 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think that Maynard believes American/Bristish action to invade Iraq symbolizes a desperate attempt to hold power in the middle East and that in some respects America holds similarities to the Roman Empire- trying to educate and control the planet in an expansionist fashion. As saudi Arabia is the worlds largest exporter of oil in the world and its Royal family who hold sovereignity of power are in direct threat from rebellious factions, the Americans need a foothold in the middle east and Iraq was the perfect excuse. Even though Sadamn is indeed a murderer and a tyrant, the intelligence on his supposed nuclear capability were not just grossly but completely fabricated. Now for simple morons like ToolRulz, this means that the CIA are liars.

    As for the song, this intolerance that Maynard feels is being predominantly directed at the elite(the army being linked to the elite of course.) It is today evident that the elite in most countries, particularly America are responsible for murder(war), lying to the public perpetually as a way of surviving, cheating( look at the last American election) and stealing( creaping towards health care, invading countries and plundering and certainly manipulating the economics in the world to Americas advantage. All these actions are being shrouded by virtue and people still sing and praise their glory. Maynard is saying that even though he like all of us tries to stay in line(and we have to whether we like it or not) he will not tolerate these people who lie, cheat and steal. The way in which he defies what he disagrees with is through his music and everyday choices. The very fact that this song exists is a such a great benefit for all those interested in it. Refering to "no one is innocent" , i think this can be put in context when we look at the mentallity of the elite and the military who believe because of their status and "nessesity" that they are innocent. I think maynard is trying to say that we are all capable of doing bad things however the elite and the military are the only ones who are not subject to the same punishment that we all are. They create the laws but do not obide them and he in his own way will not tolerate this, whether he can do anything about it is another story. But writing a song like this is a bloody good start. Lastly,if you choose to interpret this as intolerance of an individual, you need to remember that the predominant focus of Maynerd;s self expression is being human and being part of humanity. I think we should interpret it both ways and leave the possibilty open, as we can learn how to make choices based on personal relationships, as well as views on the status quo.

    Mediumon June 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I smell bullshit Floyd! Anyway, how can people make such sweeping statements, for example Medium - "I think that Maynard believes American/Bristish action to invade Iraq symbolizes a desperate attempt to hold power..."

    How the HELL could you even begin to guess what someone thinks? It's so arrogant and pointless to assume you can guess other people's thoughts.

    lukeshepon August 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i know this song is mocking the military but holy shit look at your life how many people did you want to trust enough to put away the dagger. While you laugh dance and praise them they lie cheat and steal from you. Keep the dagger out at all times for your own good. As well as others.

    Poonardon April 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think the song is pretty ambiguous and I'm not sure what it means, but hot damn is this in a crazy time signature!

    Alternating 13/16 with 4/4 = awesome.

    priest_of_syrinxon December 26, 2007   Link

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