I see the Middle Kingdom between Heaven and Earth
Like the Chinese call the country of their birth
We all figure that our homes are set above
Other people than the ones we know and love
In every place with a name
They play the same territorial game
Hiding behind the lines
Sending up warning signs

The whole wide world
An endless universe
Yet we keep looking through
The eyeglass in reverse
Don't feed the people
But we feed the machines
Can't really feel
What international means
In different circles
We keep holding our ground
Indifferent circles
We keep spinning round and round

We see so many tribes -- overrun and undermined
While their invaders dream of lands they've left behind
Better people -- better food -- and better beer
Why move around the world when Eden was so near?
The bosses get talking so tough
And if that wasn't evil enough
We get the drunken and passionate pride
Of the citizens along for the ride

They shoot without shame
In the name of a piece of dirt
For a change of accent
Or the color of your shirt
Better the pride that resides
In a citizen of the world
Than the pride that divides
When a colorful rag is unfurled

Lyrics submitted by shed27

Territories Lyrics as written by Gary Lee Weinrib Neil Elwood Peart


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Territories song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment"We get the drunken and passionate pride of the citizens along for the ride"

    Ah yes, nationalism. That which allows people from all walks of life to come together and forget that whatever vague cause they're cheering has absolutely fuckall to do with the borders of their homeland. I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the US you can see these misguided flag-wavers on both the right and the left. They plaster their Hummers/hybrids with shallow slogans about what they think of "America" but don't realize that their notion of "America" has been dead for decades. The American Way is causing all our problems and the American Dream is taken for granted, so what's America but lines in the sand?
    Chocolate Is Yummyon June 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Can't really feel
    What international means"

    Yes, I agree with a lot of the ideas mentioned here. This quotation above really sums it up for me. We claim that ideas like globalization really exists. We claim to have peace among ourselves. Yet we are surrounded and divided by borders. I think this song is suggesting how ridiculous nationalism can be; that we should just consider ourselves human, men and women of Earth, and function entirely the way our countries function--together.
    Rush4Peaceon March 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like to look at this as "Subdivions" on a larger scale. It is about the petty rivalies that occur between countries and even differents regions.
    daventhalas1on June 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn my opinion, Territories is a call for unity, almost expounding on John Lennon's calls for unity in Imagine and his public appearances. This is a call for peace; a wake up call, if you like. Rush is asking us to look through the eyeglass correctly. Quit creating divisions from our differences, but instead, find our similarities. 'Citizen of the World' really seems to convey the idea of the song best.
    Frank_Perkon May 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's like ... every country is so detached from each other. But it's all one world -- we should see ourselves as citizens of the world, and not identify with only one part of it.
    everyday_gloryon July 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song!
    NUMBER 4on March 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song goes beyond nationalism. It's the whole "us vs them...we rule-you suck'" mentality.

    The line "or the color of your shirt" refers to sports teams, I think. Fans of opposing teams getting in fights at ball games over what happens in the game. How ridiculous is THAT? People living vicariously through a bunch of overppaid, steroidal prima donnas? Why? Because people have done nothing in their own lives to be proud of...so they leech onto a sports team and try to pretend they deserve some of the credit for the team's success.

    Not just professional of collegiate level teams. Ever see parents at little league games acting like a freaking kids' game is a matter of life and death?

    People do that with bands, too. For a perfect example of this idiotic mentality, just look at the first page of comments on Tom Sawyer in this very website. Pathetic!
    Phx4stringeron October 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song to me is about everyone thinking that they are the best. Each country will claim to have the best beer, the best foods, the best sports teams, but all this "I'm the best" mentality keeps people from understanding and appreciating other places "Can't really feel what international means" and it's this mentality that keeps everyone from seeing the broad picture and appreciating the entire world "The whole wide world, and endless universe, yet we keep looking at the eyeglass in reverse"
    It's like looking through binoculars backwards and not seeing what's off in the distance, only what is right here in front of you.
    phildo123on May 02, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationOne thing I see people not mentioning, or somehow I have missed being mentioned, is the chorus itself.

    "Don't feed the people, but we feed the machines."

    That this was true back when the song was written and is more prevalent today, is truly frightening.

    We serve that which is supposed to serve us. Corporations receiving benefits that other's don't even have the option to die for. Greedy closed-minded people who care nothing for anything outside of their immediate world, waving their own 'flags' on capital hill in the hands of lobbyists.

    They send our children to die for them and keep us myopic and afraid of anything outside of ourselves so that we'll never question them.

    This is a protest song as much as anything else. It is an anthem against the machine as much as anything Rage had ever created.
    elraveron September 30, 2012   Link

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