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Is the Song “Spiders” by System of a Down an Example of Simulation Theory?

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Poppy is the author of "A Bard's Lament" and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima with her husband and young son.

The simulation hypothesis has gained a lot of popularity over the years. It's a theory suggesting that everything that we deem to be "real" is actually all in a huge computer simulation controlled by unknown entities. The "simulation" is sometimes referred to as "the Matrix", no doubt inspired by the 1999 hit movie of the same name starring Keanu Reeves.

However, the simulation theory has been around longer than the sci-fi blockbuster. As early as the 17th century, philosophers were pondering the possibility of a simulated reality. French philosopher René Descartes theorised a "brain-in-a-vat" in his 1641 book Meditations on First Philosophy where he suggested that all human minds are controlled from a laboratory.

No doubt The Matrix greatly affected society and spurred some people to consider the possibility that the simulation or Matrix might possibly be real. But one year before the movie came out, a metal band called System of a Down released their first album (named after the band) with an interesting song on it.

System of a Down

System of a Down are a nu-metal band from the USA, all of Armenian descent. They are performers of metal masterpieces such as "Chop Suey!", "Toxicity", "B.Y.O.B.", and "Sugar". Their first album, System of a Down, gained them a huge following.

The song "Spiders" is fascinating to those interested in the simulation theory, and the more you analyse the lyrics, the easier it is to believe that the song might be an early hint at some kind of Matrix or simulated reality. The video is below, which itself suggests a similar theme.

System of a Down are well known for singing about politics, war, and propaganda, and at first glance, "Spiders" can seem to be just another song about government control. But a second look at the lyrics suggests something deeper.


The piercing radiant moon,
The storming of poor June,
All the life running through her hair.

The "piercing, radiant moon" could refer to a light, similar to a bright light or pocket torch that scientists or doctors use. "The storming of poor June" is unclear; June could refer to either the month or the woman's name.

The latter could be assumed considering the next line: "All the life running through her hair." This refers to wires. Hundreds of wires inside "her" (June's?) head, feeding her "reality."


Approaching guiding light,
Our shallow years in fright,
Dreams are made winding through my head.

"Approaching guiding light" is following the path set out before us. Some believe it's fate, others say it's God's hand, but in this song, it's the path or "light" the simulation has made for us to follow. It could also be a reference to following the "light" to death.

"Our shallow years in fright" clearly mean that we are under control, scared to do anything about our prison and living "shallow" (perhaps meaning too short) lives as slaves to this simulation.

The last line is another reference to the Matrix itself. The wires are not only in June's head, but in mine (everyone's), too. "Dreams," or a fake reality, are "made" in the wires and into our brains.

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Screenshot from video

Screenshot from video


Through my head,
Before you know, awake.

"Through my head" is another reference to the wires and dreams. "Before you know, awake" could be a mixed up version of "before you awake know" as in, before they wake you up, you have to realise you're in a simulation.

Another possibility is that it's not an imperative, but saying that you will wake (possibly by dying in this life) before you can "know" or find out the truth.


Your lives are open wide,
The V-chip gives them sight,
All the life running through her hair.

"Your lives are open wide" could mean that we, as sleeping individuals, have our lives on display for those in power to see. They're watching our lives, which aren't private at all, but visible to those who control us.

The "V-chip" could be what they use to get "sight" into our lives. V-chip is a term used for technology used in set receivers for televisions. "They" are possibly watching us using a kind of V-chip.

Screenshot from video

Screenshot from video


The spiders all in tune,
The evening of the moon,
Dreams are made winding through my head.

"Spiders" refers to the connecting wires of our brain. As you can see in the music video, the delicate wires and neurons look a little like spiders' legs. "The spiders all in tune" refers to brain activity. The "evening of the moon" could refer to the nearing end of one's life.

The Music Video

The video features a woman lying in what looks like a tank with wires around her, pale dancing figures, and the front man of the band with thick dreadlocks and odd tattoos on his body.

The video tells its own ambiguous story that may or may not correspond with the simulation theory. It certainly features a woman dreaming of another world, encountering strange, human-like monsters, and rising from the odd tank to "wake up" at the end. Like most SOAD music videos, it's full of mystery and open to interpretation.

Screenshot from video

Screenshot from video

It's up for debate whether "Spiders" really is an early Matrix or simulation theory or if there is another more accurate explanation for what the song is about. The simulation theory itself is a very "out there" hypothesis and only a small percentage of people actually believe it.

Either way, it's fascinating that this song was released before The Matrix was released. Do System of a Down believe in such thing as a gigantic simulation to which we are all slaves, or is it just a hypothetical song? You decide.

© 2017 Poppy


Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 05, 2020:

Great comment, Evan! The song is open to many interpretations.

Evan on January 01, 2020:

Yours is the best I have found.

It's about culture creating our perception of reality. It comes almost directly from Zarathustra. "Before you know, awake" is a literal warning to avoid knowing as the "ultimate man" knows. Which is the function of culture.

June is just a name that rhymes with moon. The moon is from Zarathustra. Spiders are the media people. Her hair is their webs feeding into her brain.

Serj's makeup is partly the cover illustration of Zarathustra.

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