i wanted to live the life of a prince
because I thought saints were born saints
so indeed we didn't stand a chance
insalubrious offshoots of nature
with heart and mind of our own
all the daughters all the sons
taking centuries to unearth the creature
heralding a stage
where consciousness is higher
taken through a costly process
of success and failure
i thought saints were born saints
i looked in the dirt
and found wisdom is learnt
through a costly process
of success and failure


Lyrics submitted by ADmatteo

Quick Canal song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThanks for posting these lyrics, I've been dying to know exactly what she was singing.

    To claim brain-shattering profundity for rock music lyrics is probably a fool's project but I'm with aytchohelelwhy: GOOD GOD. What this song evokes to me--and it evokes it so hard it has brought me to joyful tears on more than one occasion--is the painful process whereby we outgrow our most childish notions of morality, some morally innocent (and incorrect) idea of our own innate, untried goodness...this storybook idea that living a good life, being good, is and will continue to be as simple for us as following the straightest line. L. Sadier thought "saints were born saints", that she was worthy of living like a "prince" from childhood, but comes to "look in the dirt" (go through life and experience and contemplation) to reach the awareness that "wisdom is learnt." "Wisdom is learnt" is a gloriously simple idea: it's almost more of a mantra than an idea. But it's an important, consoling, and inspiring notion because it forgives us our missteps. There is no straight line we should've followed, only a constant, "costly" process of "success and failure." Attaining wisdom requires our mistakes as much as our achievements.

    I think Sadier is saying this is true for each individual and their life's path, and true in a bigger, macro way, regarding the development of what is good or worthy of surviving about civilization, mankind, etc.

    So yeah basically this is the heaviest and most brilliant song ever written.
    argylecoveron November 07, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI will say that many of atlas sound's songs remind me of life but Quick Canal just tops them all for me this song is about learning what life is

    "i looked in the dirt
    and found wisdom is learnt"

    I believe he looks at the dirt because we come from the dirt... everything comes from the dirt... It's like that sudden realization that everything is connected and everything falls into place when its ready to whether it be good or bad
    cats0pajamason December 15, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGood God, this song is brilliant.
    aytchohelelwhyon November 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcompletly agree, to me it has a connection with buddhism.
    sheliabirdon January 02, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with you both that this song is brilliant.

    and, argylecover, this was beautifully said--
    "Wisdom is learnt" is a gloriously simple idea: it's almost more of a mantra than an idea. But it's an important, consoling, and inspiring notion because it forgives us our missteps. There is no straight line we should've followed, only a constant, "costly" process of "success and failure." Attaining wisdom requires our mistakes as much as our achievements.
    TheWrongGirlon November 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGorgeous and profound!
    LoppyVetoon December 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI could see the Buddhist angle. The lyrics almost read like a summary of the plot from Hesse's Siddhartha.

    I love this song. It makes me nostalgic for 80's goth bands. I could easily imagine it appearing on an old 4AD album.

    bornunderpuncheson January 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationLike the previous two commmentors I cannot help but to think about Siddharta and Buddhism. Especially this part:

    "i wanted to live the life of a prince
    because I thought saints were born saints"

    It kind of reminds me of Siddharta when he was living the life of a prince before he left and saw the pain and suffering of the world.

    Also this part:

    "heralding a stage
    where consciousness is higher"

    Maybe this is about reaching nirvana or the highest state in Buddhism?

    Finally,

    "i looked in the dirt
    and found wisdom is learnt
    through a costly process
    of success and failure"

    To me this is when Siddharta left and he saw the suffering of his native people and he saw that his purpose in life was not to be rich and be a prince but that he would have to learn wisdom through a process of success and failure and he would become Buddha.

    Idk, these are just thoughts.

    Definetly one of the deepest and most powerful and moving songs there is.

    indieJay
    indieJayon January 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor years, I thought the lyrics were "I looked in the dark/I found wisdom is love" before very recently reading the lyrics "I looked in the dirt/Found wisdom is learnt"

    But they're both great, and I can't choose my favorite. Great song, amazing lyrics.
    palicorreion October 20, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt had the same impact for me. I shed a few tears, too, especially when I read the lyrics. It definitely recalls Siddhartha in the first two lines, as IndieJay wrote, and perhaps Samuel Butler’s Rasselas as well. I think the song has to do with how we incorrectly conceptualize our own natures and that the real truth resembles the asceticism of many Eastern religions.

    I take the song in two parts: the first, from lines 1-11, ending with the first “of success and failure,” has to do with what the speaker used to think all her life, that is, that there was nothing she could do to be a saint, since “saints were born saints,” so she might as well “live the life of a prince,” a life of privilege, ascendancy over other people, and hedonism (as in Siddhartha). The idea here is that the speaker and everyone else can’t really change themselves or their own natures, that they were doomed to be what they have always been (“we didn’t stand a chance”), and were forever denied a higher state of being (sainthood). All she thought she or anyone else could be was an insalubrious (unhealthy) offshoot of nature “with hearts and minds of [their] own,” a step along the way as nature did its work to create true saints. Really, the only way she thought saints could be produced is to do is continue the species, so “all the daughters” and “all the sons” for centuries continue on “to unearth” (develop) “the creature,” that is, a more evolved state of being, and a world “where consciousness is higher.” “A costly process of success and failure” therefore evokes centuries of evolution or cultural development.

    That is, however, until we get to the remainder of the song, where she describes the truth she has learned. The majority of the song is a repetition of these last few lines to stress their import. The song seems to rise and fall throughout this section, as if continuously building to apexes that reflect the continuous ecstasy of the truth she finds. She thought saints could only be born, but she “looked in the dirt” (studied the world) “and found wisdom is learnt,” that is, they can learn to become saints. “Wisdom is learnt” is, as others have said, both extremely profound and remarkably simple, and, as it is often repeated in this song and constantly rising in pitch and key, it is both a mantra and an almost religious ecstasy of enlightened truth. The second part repeats “a costly and process of success and failure” that appears in the first part, but in this context, rather than reaching wisdom or a higher consciousness after centuries of development, it can be “learnt,” that is, within one’s own lifetime. It may seem that the best lives we can live are as princes, but the speaker learns that we can, in fact, all be saints by studying the world, that the wisdom of a higher consciousness can be learnt. It is the realization of new purpose, the understanding that we can be the enlightened creatures we thought could only arise after the turning of a new age, that we can effect change within ourselves, our consciousness, and, collectively, within the world.
    stkinthemudon June 11, 2020   Link

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