Are We Human, Or Are We Dancer?

I’m not a big fan of The Killers, but when I tuned into VH1 Top 20 countdown this morning and heard the song Human, I liked it. Check out the video and the lyrics.

The hook of the song is the lyrical koan, “are we human, or are we dancer?” Pop culture is confused with the lyrics, dubbing it as nonsense. But the first time I heard it, it made perfect sense to me.

I’m not sure what The Killers mean but I have my own interpretation. I think you too would have a similar interpretation if you’ve read The Dancing Wu Li Masters.

Subatomic particles forever partake of this unceasing dance of annihilation and creation. In fact, subatomic particles are this unceasing dance of annihilation and creation. This twentieth-century discovery, with all its psychedelic implications, is not a new concept. In fact, it is very similar to the way that much of the earth’s population, including the Hindus and the Buddhists, view their reality.

Hindu mythology is virtually a large-scale projection into the psychological realm of microscopic scientific discoveries. Hindu deities such as Shiva and Vishnu continually dance the creation and destruction of universes while the Buddhist image of the wheel of life symbolizes the unending process of birth, death, and rebirth which is a part of the world of form, which is emptiness, which is form.

Imagine that a group of young artists have founded a new and revolutionary school of art. Their paintings are so unique that they have come to share them with the curator of an old museum. The curator regards the new paintings, nods his head, and disappears into the vaults of the museum. He returns carrying some very old paintings, which he places beside the new ones. The new art is so similar to the old art that even the young artists are taken aback. The new revolutionaries, in their own time and in their own way, have rediscovered a very old school of painting.

So, are we human, or are we dancer? I say dancer and the dance.

Comments (10)

  1. Sean wrote::

    For a good book that parallels your interpretation, I recommend Emptiness Dancing by Adyashanti.

    Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 1:13 pm #
  2. Brian David wrote::

    The Killers were actually working off of a Hunter S. Thompson quote…

    “Are we raising a generation of humans or dancers…” where ‘dancers’ connotes pejoratively.

    Meaning, like, are we, that is culture, raising a generation of integrous beings or flaky wafes.

    Meaning that the Killers were being slightly preachy, way old fashioned and a little obnoxious.

    I LOVE the song though. Damn is it ever a good song.

    And your interpretation can be, of course, valid… in like, the Wachowski prescription to interpretive legitimacy.

    Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm #
  3. c4chaos wrote::

    Brain David,

    yep, i’m exercising my freedom of interpretive legitimacy instead of being slightly preachy like them flaky wafes 😉

    great to hear from you.


    Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 3:44 pm #
  4. errrrr…. WHAT???

    Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 4:20 am #
  5. aarti love wrote::

    I’ve read several posts online about the song working off the Hunter S. Thompson quote. But I really love this interpretation you posted. When I first heard the song, it’s how I interpreted it as well. I’m a Hindu/Buddhist myself and it just made so much sense. Godd stuff 🙂

    Friday, March 6, 2009 at 9:40 am #
  6. pooholesniffler wrote::

    sind wir menschen oder sind wir schwule arschwichser jea sing!! are we wenker ore are we sacklutscher jea…are we pimmelkaklochlutscher ore are we wurstwassertrinker..jea jea..are we pissetrinker ore are we wenker..jea jea i got the skill..are we wenker ore are we dancer..
    ist dieser song mal behinder behindert behindert ..son schwuchtelwichs scheiss dreck scheisse.. schwule sauficke mist dreck was solln das are we human sind wir menschen ..nein natürlich nicht..ore are we dancer..oder sind wir schwule..?
    ich stell mir diese frage sind wir fotzen oder sind wir schwänze..dadadada oder sind wir schwänze..
    wer sonne mucke hört isn faggot ohne gleichen ..are we humen ore are we wenker jeaaaa ich warte schon auf den veraschsong ey son pisshomo kram bläää

    Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 1:06 pm #
  7. Rick wrote::

    I’m not a homophobe, but my god, that song is so gay, it makes my ass hurt having to hear it played over and over again on the radio.

    Monday, December 14, 2009 at 7:45 am #
  8. Jasper wrote::

    haha, that’s funny. yeah, a really bad song with a really queer attempt at being profound….

    Monday, December 14, 2009 at 7:49 am #
  9. Dolley wrote::

    Deep thought! Thanks for conrtbiuintg.

    Monday, December 19, 2011 at 8:49 am #
  10. cijvlcjj wrote::

    4MbgDN duriemrfszwx

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 10:06 am #