Tool – Ænema (Lyrics and Meaning)

The song is called ÆNEMA, not ÆNIMA. Ænima is the name of the album.

The song expresses hate for stereotypical Hollywood, Los Angeles, etc. – all the fake people, the misguided life focus, the absurd amount of worry over menial things that Maynard so kindly has listed quite orderly in the song.

The fact that American media comes from California is probably also integral to the song. A country’s media is an enormous & integral part its culture. The entertainment businesses, production companies, etc. spread ideas, concepts, attitudes, information, and other cultural milieu to the entire country.

So, put simply, the song’s message is this: stereotypical Hollywood & L.A. douche bags have disgusting and shallow life philosophies and priorities, and they spread that through media, like a plague or an infection, polluting America’s culture and the hearts and minds of Americans.

There are several references in the song to a physical destruction of California (fault lines that cannot sit still, meteor showers, floods). Towards the end of the song, it would make sense that the “Mom” that the band refers to would be Mother Nature.

“Enema” is a commonly known medical procedure in which the colon is flushed out (cleansed) with water. If California were to be “flushed away”, America would be “cleansed”. “Anima” is a Jungian term, from Carl Jung’s theories (which are the focus of “Forty Six & 2”) — specifically, his theory of the collective unconscious. Jungian philosophy is pretty complex, so I’m just going to quote the “Anima and animus” Wikipedia page here. You should check out the wiki page itself if this piques your curiosity — it’s super interesting stuff.

“The anima and animus, in Carl Jung’s school of analytical psychology, are the two primary anthropomorphic archetypes of the unconscious mind, as opposed to both the theriomorphic and inferior function of the shadow archetypes, as well as the abstract symbol sets that formulate the archetype of the Self. The anima and animus are described by Jung as elements of his theory of the collective unconscious, a domain of the unconscious that transcends the personal psyche. In the unconscious of a man, this archetype finds expression as a feminine inner personality: anima; equivalently, in the unconscious of a woman it is expressed as a masculine inner personality: animus.”

So, “anima” is kind of like… a general/archetypal feminine personality. This inner feminine personality is how the collective unconscious manifests itself & “finds expression” within an individual. The wiki page also says, “The anima . . . can be identified as the totality of the unconscious feminine psychological qualities that a man possesses.” I haven’t tried to figure out this term’s relevance to the song. My first thought is to see what connections could be made between the concept of “anima” and the “mom” (presumably mother nature) figure Maynard refers to in the song.

Before you get all butthurt about a Tool song hating on California, cause you live there and dats ur home, etc., realize that the song is not literal. Some of the lyrics are literal, and some are figurative. The theme of the song is, if you ask me, very obviously figurative. Maynard would not jump for joy if the literal entire state of California literally broke off of the country and literally sank into the ocean, literally killing millions of people en masse, literally with zero prior judgment of those individuals. Literally. No.

The theme of this song is straight from Bill Hick’s comedic album “Arizona Bay.”

“Ænima”, the album, is dedicated to Bill.


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