The Downward Spiral #2: “Heresy” and “The March of the Pigs”

This is the second part of my The Downward Spiral Series. So if you missed the first one, you can go back a read a little bit into the album and the its huge importance in my life.

#3. Although some of the songs on The Downward Spiral have layers of hidden meanings, “Heresy” is very forthright and clear.  Some people believe that this song represents Trent’s (Nine Inch Nail’s founder, singer, songwriter…basically the entirety of the group) views on religion aka that Trent does not believe in any god at all. However, I have a completely different view on the song. The main character of the album, as he spirals downward, slowly turns away from religion. Perhaps he was a strong believer and prayed religiously to his god to help him. As things in his life become worse and worse, he revokes his belief and lashes out at other people that believe. He finds fault in christianity, stating that it is “dreamed” up. He shows how god is not always portrayed as forgiving and loving but rather a god that rules over a kingdom of “killing suffering and pain.”

I can relate to this very well. When I was in the worst parts of my eating disorder and depression, I wanted nothing to do with god or any religion. I didn’t understand why god would prevent me from living a normal life and seemingly place obstacle after obstacle in my way. To this day, I still have a rocky relationship with religion. I believe in some higher power but still do not believe in a god that seemingly controls and doles out horrible hardships to his “followers.” I could go on, but I have probably made everyone mad at me and no one will ever read my blog again. But, I really just wanted to show how extreme depression or hardships, similar to the problems faced by the character in the album, makes people question their faith and potentially lash out in despair as demonstrated in the poignant song “Heresy”.

#4 The forth song, “March of the Pigs” is the hardest song on the album for me to understand. From listening to it countless times and discussing it with others, I now interpret it as Trent’s (and the album’s character) way of saying, “Fuck you society and conformity”. The pigs discussed in the song are people lining up with everyone else, conforming to the current society. Consumerism (“Feed/”Greed) and corruption (“lies”) are huge parts of the conforming society that the character rebels against. But only when people “take the skin and pull in back” (aka deshilding their eyes from the conformity) can they actually live life (“feel better”). Lyrics can be found here.

I also really enjoyed this video because it is so raw and filled with emotion. (Plus it has Trent in it so how could I not love it).

Same sort “question” as yesterday: What are your thoughts on the album and the concept? And more specifically, has your faith in something (god, deity, spirit, entity etc) wavered or completely disappeared because of hardships you had to face?

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2 Comments

Filed under Industrial, NIN, Rock, The Downward Spiral

2 responses to “The Downward Spiral #2: “Heresy” and “The March of the Pigs”

  1. My hardships reinforced the faith that I need God and that He is most definitely alive. I think in the middle of hardships, it’s hard to see the presence of God, but God doesn’t needlessly just dole out tragedies. At least not needlessly. I can’t really get into the details of it all now here in a comment (bc it’ll turn into a long-ass sermon!) but God doesn’t kill people. People kill themselves with hate, pollution, greed, etc. Personally, I’ve found out that even in my suffering, God was always there, and there was meaning in my suffering. Actually, I’d even say it was the greatest blessing in my life.

    • Thanks for the insightful comment. I hope I can look back at my struggles in a few years and understand how God was trying to help me. I am getting closer I think to this goal. It just take a lot of time and patience for me to heal my faith. But I would like to say that your blog posts about how religion has helped you through your recovery have been extremely helpful in aiding me towards a renewed faith.

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