I love this quote from a Moody Blues album: "It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave. Keep on thinking free."

I've been told that it was simply written by their drummer, but it sounds so familiar to me. There is some other material that is "classic philosophy":

I think, therefore I am.

Anyway, is anyone aware of a philosophical statement or doctrine that might be the source of this quote? Or is this a better question for English.se?

  • "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." Sir Walter Scott, Marmion. Could this be what you're looking for? I believe it is an allusion to this quote. – Gordon Jul 30 '17 at 15:44
  • Wow, I'll bet that's it. Maybe it's just coincidence, but it sounds like it could be the inspiration behind the song. – David Blomstrom Jul 30 '17 at 17:26

I imagine the line in the song is derived from the quote Gordon provided, but I would associate the sentiment in the song to Plato's famous allegory of the cave - presumably "thinking free" allows you to escape the web/cave.

Another philosophical/religious doctrine of which that line reminds me is Gnosticism, since Gnostics believe they have a kind of knowledge which allows them to see through the inherent unreality of the material world to see the true spiritual realm. Presumably the creator of the material world (the Biblical God in some Gnostic traditions) would be riled up by our seeing through the illusion.

However, most importantly, this song was released during the acid-fueled '60s, and the Moody Blues were one of the most popular psychedelic rock acts of the time. These lyrics seem to owe a lot to the classical psychedelic experience, as well as law enforcement's disdain for trippers.

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