Disclaimer: these interpretations are those of the writer and do not reflect the intentions of the lyricist. If you would like to contribute to the conversation or offer a different point of view, feel free to comment or contact Metal Utopia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scar Symmetry has established that their lyrics seem more at home in a physics textbook than in a song, but somehow they manage to discuss higher level concepts and retain interest without the typical dryness of the aforementioned book. They tend to explore the leading edge of science and human ability while weaving a fictional story into the mix so that none of us get lost. 2014 saw the release of The Singularity: Phase I – Neohumanity, the first album in a three-part series (still waiting on part 2) that was no different. Exploring philosophical ideas such as Neohumanity, and fusing it with new technologies such as artificial intelligence, it’s as ambitious as it sounds.
“Limits To Infinity” was one of the singles released from Phase I, and not only is it a great song musically, it’s a wonderful display of the complexity of Scar Symmetry’s lyrics.
With faith you receive deceit
Parts of a fractured whole
Numbers of false equations
That the masses will obey
As a little background, the album sets up a world in the near future exploring the pros and cons of artificial intelligence and the melding of human consciousness with digital machines. In this fictional world, there is a strong dividing line on the matter of those who oppose or support these concepts. The opening line of the song shows that bigger players are operating behind the scenes and could potentially be orchestrating something more sinister. This particular stanza shows the reality of this world’s future, acknowledging that there will always be those with enough power or wealth to control the fate of everyone else.
There is an exit that’s kept unknown
For the ones unworthy of the elite
A plan to abandon Earth
As we’re colonizing another world
This next stanza is a tad easier to decipher, as it hints that the masses mentioned in the previous line are led to believe that they are leave Earth in search of a planet more suitable for their needs. As in most apocalyptic storylines, it usually hinges around the idea of expending all the Earth’s resources to the point of extinction; but what is interesting about this point of view is that this a lie fed to the masses of people, so that the elite will be left to explore the wonders of digital immortality. It’s a nice twist on a stereotype.
Beyond this charred place where you were born
So above is the phrase that you seek
With this pre-chorus section, the lyrics take on double meaning, referring to both the doomed masses and the elite that has doomed them. The “world unknown” refers unexplored world of space and the new territory of the digital realm. The truly intriguing part of this section is the use of the phrase “as below, so above.” The original phrase typically reads “as above, so below”, but the lyrics intentionally flip the words around. It’s a small thing, but considering that this is a particularly famous phrase, it wasn’t done by accident. Also, by saying that it is “the phrase you seek” could imply that future of humanity is not only in the stars but also in the realm of machines.
There are limits to infinity
In the restricted lemniscate
There are bodies infinite
Outside this earthly dome
The chorus brings a sense of wonder to this otherwise dismal song. I did have to google the definition of “lemniscate”, and it turns out that (summarizing a lot of the science/math stuff) it is the infinity symbol mathematically graphed, also known as the Bernoulli Curve. The “limits to infinity” could be how we perceive infinity, as only one form, but with the “infinite bodies,” this would allow us to escape these limits (at least that’s my take, these paradoxes always throw me for a loop). Either way, these are still intense concepts that could be explored and discussed for a long time. The ability to do this and still manage to make it accessible to the average listener is quite impressive.
Soon the day will come
Destruction of the meek
Their programmed fear ensures we will
Be reborn as gods
No venom detected
Agenda erected no charge
Vaccines that promote disease
The dead resurrected to rise
As we merge with the machines
In this onslaught of verbal mania, there are a couple of things to point out. First, with the line “destruction of the meek…,” it’s referring once again to the masses as mentioned in the beginning of the song. Meek being defined as “easily imposed on, or submissive” fits this very well, as the deception they blindly believed the lies told to them by the elite. The subsequent lines confirm this concept while also showing how much control these unknown elite have over the meek. By “merging with the machines”, these elite will have total control and achieve immortality and can be “reborn as gods”. This song is kind of following along the “becoming a deity” storyline, but fusing it with concepts and technologies that are within reach of our reality make it less fantastical and more relatable. That, and the vocal delivery for all these words is well executed.
Hiding a new home
This is the final line of the song, and really highlights the core of this song. Despite the wonder and complex concepts presented by this newfound technology, it’s overshadowed the elite (I know I’ve used that word a few times) who are orchestrating everything. Having the ability to hide something as huge as humanity’s continued survival is pretty scary. As I mentioned in the beginning, this album explores the pros and cons of digital immortality and the different avenues it can go down. While it is fiction, it is not a foreign idea. Scar Symmetry’s previous record was exploring secret societies and bloodlines controlling governments and events, so it is possible that this leaked over into this album. Everyone loves theorizing about how the Illuminati are orchestrating daily events and such, and it’ll be much easier to do so with the access of artificial intelligence. It’s a great album with more concepts like these; this is only one piece of the puzzle.