Consider this question
Look deep inside
Deliver a true confession
What are you willing to live for?

Consider this question
Open your eyes
Examine your own reflection
What are you willing to die for?

When your back's against the wall
And the times uncertain
Consider this question
No standing by
When flesh and blood are threatened
What are you willing to kill for?

We seek to understand
We cry with head in hand

The bridges we build to connect
The distance that makes us forget
Hate dividing us, love reminding us
Of our shared humanity

Hope can be a shadow fleeting
I would rather die believing
Chancing it all in a final act of faith

We seek to understand
We cry with head in hand

A story that needs to be told
An answer that begs to found
The beauty we wish to behold
Is never too far away

Mothers for their children
Husbands for their wives
Martyrs for the kingdom
Fighting for your life

A soldier for his country
A junkie for the high
Teachers for their students
Vengeance for a crime

Rebels for their freedom
A tyrant for the praise
Cowards for salvation
Money, love, and fame

Noble and brave
Lay down our lives for the cause
Death over shame
Grace before glory

To really feel the joy in life (feel the joy in life)
You must suffer through the pain (through the pain)
When you surrender to the light (to the light)
You can face the darkest days (face the darkest days)

If you open up your eyes (open up your eyes)
And you put your trust in love (trust in love)
On those cold and endless nights (endless nights)
You will never be alone (never be alone)

Passion glows within your heart (glows within your heart)
Like a furnace burning bright (burning bright)
Until you struggle through the dark (struggle through the dark)
You'll never know that you're alive
Never know
Never know
You'll never know
Never know
Never know
Never know
Never know


Lyrics submitted by nsshero, edited by Idan, Ashram, The Letter M, PJA, Ad134, mahdiajorlou, sternula, astron, Mattosis

Illumination Theory: Paradoxe de la Lumière Noire/Live, Die, Kill/The Embracing Circle/The Pursuit of Truth/Surrender, Trust & Passion Lyrics as written by John Petrucci John Myung

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Illumination Theory song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +4
    My Interpretation

    This song is about the search for meaning in life, the wonder of life and creation and the fight for survival. First part: We find ourselves living, but what are we really living for? What is this all about? "We seek to understand..." Love and hate unite or divide us in this quest. But there is one thing we all see and wonder about and that unites us in our final act of faith. The beauty of nature surrounding us. Second part: The creation. The beauty of the world. You might say. The idea of things (Plato) or the garden of eden. (?) Just, the beauty of it all. Then all of a sudden, like the sound of something crashing down. I say to myself in biblical mythology: "the fall of man" Third part: The stuggle for survival. Everyone living for his thing. Fighting for their lives and struggling to make ends meet. Fourth part: The message: We need to taste the bitter to know the sweet. (Tree of good and evil) There is redemption as we learn to see the necessity of lifes struggles and learn to embrace love and light.

    Maybe I am totally wrong with what DT thought about while making this song. It´s my two cents of what I think about when I hear this song.

    AndresFLon February 09, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I may just be interpreting this personally, but I feel that the song's lyrics are about letting fate unfold in regards to one's purpose in life, and not forcing it. Accepting and loving yourself, and letting that lead you to what you want/need to do, not the other way around.

    The (amazing and beautiful) lyrical finale really spells this out. "The Looking Glass" and "Surrender to Reason" also are connected to this, in their lyrics

    amorphousbon January 31, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is clearly about wanting to write a 22-minute epic as a statement that you're still capable of doing so. It's exceptionally deep n stuff.

    silverspawnon May 04, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    Believe it or not, the title suggests an actual term in theology. Illumination theory is the theory of how humanity interprets "divine scripture."
    The guitarist John Petrucci describes the meaning of the lyrics "are about things for which people will live, die or kill." However, I want to go a bit deeper than that because artists want to leave us to the interpretation. So the section titled "live, die, kill" calls into question what would make the individual be willing to commit with those actions. But then, the lyrics moves the discussion into a related topic letting the individual call into question if they are living, dying, or killing for the right reasons. That second part of the lyrics in this section say:

    The bridges we build to connect The distance that makes us forget Hate dividing us, love reminding us Of our shared humanity

    Hope can be a shadow fleeting I would rather die believing Capture it all in a final act of faith

    We seek to understand We cry with hand in hand

    A story that needs to be told An answer that begs to be found The beauty we wish to behold Is never too far away

    Back in time, the way humanity ran things seemed like the right way to live. But as the distances of those bridges grew longer, the aim or idea became distorted and so while time goes on, we try to search for the "unknown" but it must be hiding under our noses.

    Section 4. "The pursuit of truth" summarizes a list of concepts or things that humanity would drive and strive for. They are things that cause humanity to "live, die, or kill." Again calling into question if the individual's goals are worth it.

    Section 5. "Surrender, Trust & Passion" takes all of what humanity does and sorts them into life lessons that we go through. Not all lessons are easy and they can cause pain. The individual learns a painful lesson and walks away stronger as long as that person leaves with a trust in love, commits to passion and surrenders to the light.

    Summary: The lyrics (simply put) has references and themes from religious text. They are, however, rewritten for a more universal approach to relating with the listener. We live, die, and in extreme cases kill depending on the circumstances. In the grand scheme of things, all of our experiences become lessons that we learn to become better and stronger for we are not perfect. We are approaching perfection through our actions both right and wrong.

    Jeremy2125on December 24, 2018   Link

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