1976 | Rock
Spotify | Amazon
“We’ve taken care of everything: the words you read, the songs you sing, the pictures that give pleasure to your eye. -- One for all and all for one. -- Work together, common sons, never need to wonder how or why."
- The overture and the first section, "The Temples of Syrinx", were released as a single
- The computerized nature of The Priests' system was a concept envisioned by Neil Peart in the 1970s.
- In Greek mythology, Syrinx is a water nymph who was transformed into a set of pan pipes, and, effectively, the comic booklet represents the Temples with the shape of pan pipes.
THE HOT TAKES
Part of the much larger whole of "2112," this song is a true classic. The priests of the theocratic regime here are guardians of seemingly all knowledge. They keep "all the gifts of life," under lock and key. Do they share these gifts benevolently? What does it take to enlist in this "brotherhood of man?" These questions are suspiciously left unanswered, leaving the song more an advertisement that the Temples of Syrinx might craft, rather than an objective analysis of the winners and losers in this dynamic. The modern world increasingly looks more like this reality. People in general don't know how the things they depend upon function. Anything beyond the most simple repair sends us seeking specialists, in a kind of technological theocracy. So much classic rock was in this way "before its time," and this is a prime example.
This song is part of a larger concept album 2112, inspired by the book Anthem by Ayn Rand. Like in the book, this song deals with the ideas of the individuals identity being destroyed in favour of the collective, and subject to the rules set down by the priests that control everything.
"It's one for all, none for one, we work together common sons, never need to wonder how or why."
One for all, none for one, may be one of the greatest descriptions of collectivism ever invented. This lyric also points out that when you have the collective, you don't need to think for yourself, just do as your told. No need to concern yourself with the how and why, let the all knowing benevolent rulers take care of that. Anthem happens to be my favorite Rand book and I think this song in particular captures the idea of losing the self in the collective, and the manipulation to make people think that the group and it's motives are more important than the individuals direction of their own life.
Technocracy is the future. AI will set us all free. Our brains can't see the big picture in the detail that computers can, so let's give away our agency to our superiors. This is the call the priests send out. It's also the call politicians have plied on the unwitting public. They brag about their creation that is better than humanity at knowing how humans need to live. The fatal conceit is that the machines are manmade. The human error is coded into their very existence at the point of creation. Machines can only do what we tell them. If our presuppositions are wrong then the machines goals will always be wrong. In this regard I imagine if the zealots screaming abuout the environment had their way how much worse things would be based on what they see as the root causes of our plight. Syrinx is an illusion. As one final note, let’s not pretend that politicians are nothing more than priests in the religion of the state.