"Culling Voices" as written by and Adam Jones Maynard James Keenan....
Disembodied voices deepen my
Suspicious tendencies
Conversations we've never had
Imagined interplay
Psychopathy
Don't you dare point that at me

Heated altercations we've never had
so I'm told
Yet guided by them all
Every single one

Psychopathy
Misleading me over and over and over

Judge, condemn, and banish any and everyone
Without evidence
Only the whispers from within

Psychopathy
Misleading me over and over
Psychopathy
Misleading me over and over and over

(Imaginal interplay)
(Imaginal interplay)
(Imaginal interplay)
Don't you dare point that at me
Don't you dare point that at me

(Don't you dare point that at me)
Don't you dare point that at

(Don't you dare point that at me)
Don't you dare
Don't you dare
Don't you dare point that
Don't you dare
Don't you dare
Don't you dare point that at


Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher

"Culling Voices" as written by Adam Jones Maynard James Keenan

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Culling Voices song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI feel like this song is not about the past rape allegation at all.

    I believe it’s about our egos and mind-trips our own brain puts us through. The eternal battle we have with ourselves with our insecurities and the constant arguing we have with our thoughts.

    It could also be about mental illness in general perhaps BPD, BP or anxiety disorders.
    decrepit_planton August 30, 2019   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningDespite invoking big ideas about the spirit, mind and universal human experience, Lateralus (and some of Aenima, like 46 & 2) were centered at the personal scale, the scale of a person's life journey. I think this song is literally about the voices rattling around in our head (the ones of our parents, mentors, friends, bullies, etc.) that we consult when making our decisions, where we get most of our morality from.

    Ever imagine how a conversation would play out with a loved one who has passed away? Ever have the words of the people who hurt you most replaying in your head when you screw up? This is literally about culling those voices. Figuring out which ones are helpful, and which ones are just tripping you up. Nothing more or less.
    TheGassyGunslingeron September 03, 2019   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think that this song relates to the mentality of psychopaths and more specifically the majority of individuals that perpetrate mass shootings or acts of violence. A lot of their stories are similar about hearing voices in their heads.

    When Maynard says Judge, Codem and banish i feel that it refers to these criminals being rushed through the justice system and never talked about again after the media hype.

    In Verse 2 Maynard says

    Heated altercations we’ve never had
    So I’m told, yet guided by them all
    Every single one

    This sounds like what a lot of the perpatrators says once they go through with these horrible crimes. They don't remember but voices in their heads guided them. I wont get in to conspiracies about MK ultra but im sure most people looking for Tool song meanings are pretty far down the rabbit hole to know where that discussion leads.

    The refrain Dont you dare point that at me could either mean blame of the parents, blame of video games, blame of access to guns or just literally Don't point that gun at me.

    Interesting song. Maybe a little on the nose. But intriguing none the less.
    Terrible.shogunon August 31, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is summed up in the opening.

    “Disembodied voices deepen my
    Suspicious tendencies
    Conversations we've never had
    Imagined interplay
    Psychopathy
    Don't you dare point that at me”

    It appears to me to be a commentary on the current call out culture war propagated by the ‘far left’ who are relentlessly, knowingly, misrepresenting individuals in an attempt to de-platform them, or “cull” their “voice.”

    This song presents as being linked to Lucifarien Pride, “I know all there is to know” and to disagree is to feel the wrath, and be dehumanised as a ‘psychopath,’ one disconnected from humanity. As the lyrics go, “Donf you dare point that at me.”

    “Judge, condemn, and banish any and everyone
    Without evidence“

    Sayshon September 01, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlbums so good. I believe that this song is about the current climate of our culture, be it left or right, but pointing fingers, pointing blame, and condemning everyone. Seems to me that MjK and the rest of the band is pretty disgusted with the way things have changed in the last 13 years. This whole album hearkens back to the song Aenima for me. Throughout this album they’re discussing the state of our culture. And sounds like they don’t like it much.
    This album is another wonderful entry into Tools catalog. So good
    Elidrilon September 02, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel this song is about insectivores about anything relating to life. You see what's going on and you make your own assumptions and leads to disaster.
    erice42724on September 07, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General CommentReplace Psychopathy with CNN and you have your song meaning.
    Drew51028on September 11, 2019   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationA few different ideas ... I haven't decided yet :)

    1. Far-left, far-right partisan politics and society norms - "culling voices" to remove or eliminate dissent; assuming without questioning. Not being open or willing to listen to the opposing viewpoints. Our society is no longer willing to find a middle ground and everything is 100% polarising... Are you FOR or AGAINST climate change? Are you FOR or AGAINST Trump as President?

    2. Our "filtered" view of the world on Facebook and social media - we stay in silos based on filtered information that feeds our "confirmation bias". We don't look for alternative points of view and actively discard things that don't fit with our world view. This makes it impossible for our point-of-view to be fully "challenged" (because that is uncomfortable for us).

    3. Rape (or other falsified) allegations - in MJK's case, falsely accused and lambasted immediately by an "anonymous" Twitter user, with fairly minimal evidence of the claims made, followed by calls for your music (or your privileges as a normal and equal member of society) to be disowned, segregated and barred by those who are abhorrent at how you as a privileged, white male "have treated a woman" through your position of power.

    This is the new social media landscape that we have, where anyone can make an accusation that is unproven and then different "tribes" will form around strongly-held viewpoints.

    4. Shutting down arguments based on these strongly-held viewpoints. For example, "gas-lighters" who say anything or do anything to convince you that you are wrong, even blatantly lying or misleading you and making you feel like it's always your fault. This has some similarities to "7empest" later in the album.


    Psychopaths are people who do not consider the feelings or needs others, often lacking empathy.

    "Don't you dare point that at me" is a cry out to those that falsely accuse or falsely label others:

    a. You're assumed to fit into a particular "identity group" without considering the individual's own traits. We are labelled by others into belonging to a specific viewpoint.

    b. The Psychopath has not considered the impact that these "false allegations" might have on the individual targeted. For example, Kevin Spacey lost the lead role on House of Cards and other films / shows - he was not treated as "innocent until proven guilty". These individuals are forever tarnished irrespective of whether they are guilty or not. The initial allegation gets all the limelight in the media, but when the case is dropped, nobody hears anything much about it.
    wtfiwtzon September 11, 2019   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningHaven't you ever had a fight in your head with a facsimile of your significant other, parents or friend? Maybe they did something and you're at work, so you don't have the opportunity to argue with them right now. Or maybe they're passive aggressive and gives you the silent treatment, so you never get a chance to express yourself.

    That's an example of what the song means by "Conversations we've never had. Imagined interplay."

    And that's the major theme of the song: fighting with the straw man of your own creation in your head.

    If you continue to do this for long enough, you start acting upon what the made up version of that person did and said in your head, not based on what the real person did or said. Hence the "guided by them all" in this verse:

    "Heated altercations we've never had
    so I'm told
    Yet guided by them all
    Every single one"

    The speaker in the song continues to deepen this tendency until they have facsimiles of anyone they disagree with, or possibly even entire groups of people (political parties, even races perhaps):

    "Judge, condemn, and banish any and everyone
    Without evidence
    Only the whispers from within"
    DuncanIdahoTPFon September 12, 2019   Link

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