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Andrew Bird – Imitosis lyrics

His keeping busy, yeah he's bleeding stones,
With his machinations and his palindromes
It was anything but hear the voice
Anything but hear the voice
It was anything but hear the voice
That says that we're all basically alone

Poor Professor Pynchon had only good intentions
When he put his Bunsen burners all away
And turned into a playground a petri dish of single cells
That would swing their fists at anything that looks like easy prey
On this nature show that rages every day it was bound,
A part his intuition
To say we were all basically alone

And despite what all his studies had shown
What was mistaken for closeness was just a case for mitosis
Why do some show no mercy
While others are painfully shy?
And tell me doctor can quantify
'Cause he just wants to know the reason, the reason why

Why do they congregate in groups of four
Scatter like a billion spores
And let the wind just carry them away?
How can kids be so mean
Our famous doctor tried to gleam
As he went home at the end of the day
In this Nature show that rages every day
It was bound apart his intuition, Say

We were all basically all alone
Despite what all his studies had shown
What was mistaken for closeness was just a case for mitosis
She fatal doses, malcontent to osmosis
Why do some show no mercy
While others are painfully shy?
Well tell me doctor can you quantify
The reason why

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    I really love this song, so I want to express what it means to me.
    Bird as usual likes to play with words, and some of it's there for rhyming value, but it all contributes to a greater sense of the music. Who is professor pynchon? What is he studying, exactly? I think we get the idea that he is some sort of biologist, examining both the ecological and molecular sides of the field. So what does any of this have to do with the meaning of the song?
    Ever look at bacteria or single-celled organisms under a microscope and watch them behave towards each other? They're frighteningly violent. And by looking through a microscope, we see a reflection of our macroscopic world; we see ourselves in that helter-skelter universe of violence and death. But then, tell me, why is it that we can be so individualistic? That we have personality, that we can love, that we can be different from yeast cells congregating in their little tetrads?
    We are all basically alone. And none of these human values mean a thing because they're all extensions of chemistry and biology. That's what pynchon seems to believe. That's what science might claim. But then if you so wish to quantify, professor, do so. Rationalize and tell us why. Why are we really human?
    It's the ever-present struggle between the sciences and the humanities to truly define what is human. I don't think the song really gives an answer.
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