Interpretations:No One Knows My Plan

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I think it may be about Galileo (maybe a stretch though)

I interpret "Plan" as a map (e.g., a city plan) or in Galileo's case the solar system's "plan".

Galileo was "careless" in promoting his ideas and ended up imprisoned. He was certain he was right, but he could not spread his ideas. -he had to contain his "secret smile" (i.e., the satisfaction of knowing he was right) and remain "silent". He could only tell his ideas to his "mirror" (i.e., himself) and the "iron bars".

The "shadow on my window shade" may refer to observing the phases of Venus as it crosses the sun- disproving the geocentric solar system; thus the "police" were called.

The people in the cave are the authorities- like the people in Plato's cave they do not see reality just the shadows (their preconceptions about a geocentric solar system).

The "burning autumn leaves" is the light source that creates the shadows in the Plato's cave, by trying to "sketch out" the autumn leaves, the prisoner is trying to understand "reality" by understanding how reality is being distorted. In other words, overcoming the perception that the sun goes around the earth.

The "dancing, shouting" may be the movements of planets in the night sky. "shrieks of pain"- a comet, perhaps? "the lovely music"- the orderly laws that guide the dancing.

" I bide my time" eventually Galileo's view will be accepted. "Cooking up the angle" and the "blueprint of the angle" refers to calculating the geometry of solar system.

Very rich lyrics. Could be the topic of someone's Master's thesis.

I think its about a guy who is hatching a scheme to break out of prison, and eveyone knows this, but are not sure of where when and how he/she's gonna escape, so she/he's under constant surveillance -Lachlan W

Note: He talks of... "they're like the people chained(tied) up in the cave. In the allegory of the people in the cave by the Greek guy" The Allegory of the Cave is about people (meant to be Greek society) who are chained up in a cave. The cave is underground and the only way out is up and behind the people. They are chained though so they can only see into the back of the cave. In the back of the cave there is a screen at which the people see shadows of things. These shadows come from people (meant to be Greek leaders) who are showing the objects shadows from out of the cave so the shadow is projected so the greek society can see it. For example: They will show a shadow of a dog. The people in the cave dont know what a dog is. So it is up to the leaders holding it to tell them what it is. They at this point can say "Cat" and the society will believe them. It's about being decieved. In this song what he means is he was at his window with the shades down at night with his light on so his shadow is seen on his window. His actions inside are seen outside by the cops and it apperas to be some sort of crime, perhaps killing a person.

... and this allegory can be found in Plato's Republic I believe.

I'd always believed that the "people chained up in the cave" allegory indicates Homer's Odyssey. One of the best-known bits of the epic takes place as the displaced hero Odysseus and his crew land on the island of the cyclops.

As Homer tells it, on the island is a cave filled with rich food, a welcome and irresistible sight to the travel-weary sailors. As they gorge themselves on it, the cave's owner, a cyclops by the name of Polyphemus, returns, and quickly traps the intruders, chaining them up in his cave. Because cyclopes are man-eaters, the sailors' need to escape is desperate; thus, Odysseus devises a plan.

The first order of business in the scheme is to get the cyclops drunk, which Odysseus pulls off easily with his ships' store of wine. Polyphemus asks his new drinking buddy his name, and Odysseus replies that his name is "Utis." Utis, roughly translated, is "No-man." As most heavily inebriated giant monsters do, Polyphemus soon zonks out.

Odysseus gives the signal, and his men creep up and plunge a spear into the sleeping giant's lone eyeball. The cyclops wakes up and cries out to his cyclopian brothers that he's being attacked by Utis, by "No-man." The other cyclopes hear this and assume that since Polyphemus is being attacked by no man, then his attacker must be one of the gods. Although not terribly bright, the cyclopes know better than to interfere in the business of angry gods, so they leave Odysseus and his men to return to their ship. -- Fiasco

This song is about committing a murder. Unfortunately for the murderer there was a witness that saw him commit the murder through the window shades. The rest of the song is the narrator dwelling on what he's going to do when he gets out of jail. The narrator is probably a sadist - "the shrieks of pain - the lovely music." -- repugnant

I think this is one of the most hopeful songs Linnell has written. It seems to me to be about the joy of living with a free mind and imagination. The "allegory of the cave" is explained in this article, to which someone has added a reference to this song. But the line "the smell of burning autumn leaves" disappoints me because it seems to be a reference to the odor of Marijuana, and I always thought the Johns were staunchly anti-drug.  :( --Nehushtan 02:42, 2 Mar 2006 (CST)

It think using the 'allegory of the perople in the cave' is suggesting that, although there was a murder, the people who testified do not realise the murderer's motive, while the murderer thinks that the his murder was justified. -- Hitako47

All right, well, my interp is pretty much an combination of many of the interps above, and decently literal. The narrator is trapped in a prison cell, due to past "carelessness", probably (but not certainly) insane. This is known by the fact that he/she is talking to objects. He/she also has some sinister plan to escape, and is having trouble concealing this fact. ("No one know my plan...I must contain my secret smile") I would like to imagine that the "When I made a shadow...." section is referencing the "crime", that of making a shawow on one's windowshade, possibly a murder, possibly something else. The allegory of the cave obfusely indicates that, whatever the crime was, the narrator feels his/her inprisonment was unfair, the crime to be necessary, and that others have not understand the reasons he/she did it, a potentionally pyschopathic viewpoint, depending on the crime, which i like to believe was a murder. pretty much everything else is the song I regard as-is, with "biding time", etc. I don't know what the shreaks of pain and leaves are in reference to. I like to consider them a product of the pyschopathic-ness.

However, an alternate interp has just occured to me. What if the crime of necessity was committed in a society like that of I should be allowed to think? That puts a whole new freaky spin on things, what with the narrartor actually being morally *right*, and not insane, etc. Wow! -- Desck

Yep, I am mostly with Desck on this one.. The only thing to add is that the shrieks of pain and leaves, etc. are part of his plan (the one no one knows or understands). 'Always busy cooking up an angle/.../Sketching out the burning autumn leaves' suggests this.

But also (and this is a stretch) I like to think that these things are what he was arrested for in the first place. The chorus wouldn't make a lot of sense if this isn't true- because accusing everyone of misunderstanding implies doing something that was misunderstood, and this is followed by all these why-do-this-type questions.. So I like to think he was spazming (shrieking, dancing to the lovely music, burning autumn leaves) in his home, these things being part of his plan, which his neighbours saw projected against the windowshades, 'misunderstood' and called the police. Now he is in a solidary cell (talking to his mirror and cell bars would suggest this) and compulsively keeps planning that of which what he was arrested for formed a part.. :)

Why is it always about murder? To me (and I'm not saying this is right, I'm just saying that this is what first occured to me), this is about a journalist who got locked up and is planning his exposure of the government or whoever upon his release. Partly it's because of the part where he talks about the "angle": usually the only place people--me, anyway-- hear about an angle is from reporters. "I was careless/I can see that now" sounds to me like he printed something scandalous without regard for how people in power would react. So when he "made shadows on the windowshade", i.e., reported on whatever it was, no one could recognize whether or not it was the truth, because they were locked up in Plato's cave. Now that he's in prison he has to be quiet about everything he knows, even though he wants to tell the people who locked him up, or his "iron bars", and the people who might tend to agree with his positions, or his "mirror". Again, I could be making this up, but the "burning autumn leaves" etc. suggest to me more that there are riots going on outside than sadism or pot-smoking. So, when he says he's "cooking up an angle" and "mapping out the burning autumn leaves", he's planning his story about his imprisonment and the riots during that time. Incidentally, if you killed someone and went to prison for it, would your first thought be "oh, that was careless of me"? Just asking.

I had assumed the narrator was mad. The bewildering dancing, shouting, shrieks of pain, the lovely music, the smell of burning autumn leaves are the riot in his head, and they make no sense to him. After all, he asks "why" the dancing, etc, why are they doing that?

This makes the cell his room, and the iron bars and mirror literal. At some point he had "cast a shadow on" his window shade, ie, he did something crazy which could be observed from the outside and was taken to the mental hospital, but if he'd only been more careful and kept his secret thoughts secret, they wouldn't have caught him. Besides, how could they understand his plan, they're of limited insight, mundane, like the cave people in The Republic. Feelings of persecution, paranoia, and special knowledge are standard stuff for schizophrenics.

These lines in particular lead me to suspect the narrator is insane:

In my prison cell I bide my time
Always thinking, Always busy cooking up an angle
Working on the tiny blueprint of the angle
Sketching out the burning autumn leaves

Taken together, these sentences make no sense. They're connected linearly, but not logically or meaningfully, since a sketch of the burning autumn leaves from your tortured fancy probably doesn't qualify as an escape plan or a coherent manifesto.

It's a common TMBG theme, the Unreliable Narrator, but I really like this song, which is neither here nor there, but I do. ~ Christina Miller, December, 2006

Ah... When I was crazy, I thought about this song a lot. They had me in there for being way too happy and acting like a little kid, returning to the womb somewhat, you might say. But now I can face the tomb, like in "Stranger than Fiction" Hope this helps, --HearingAid

I believe that the narrator was innocent and wrongly thrown in jail. The key here is that in Plato's allegory of the people in the cave, the prisoners are mistaken when they talk about the shadows of the things that they see on the wall. Likewise, whoever witnessed the narrator supposedly comitting a crime on the window shade is also mistaken, which is why the narrator refers to them as similar to the people in the cave. The rest of it, I believe, refers to some sort of elaborate escape plan in which only the narrator knows how it will work. He wants to share his brillant secret plan with someone, but can't (hence, the title etc...etc.) This is why the random list of actions/things "the dancing, shouting" "shrieks of pain" and "lovely music" (etc.) makes no sense to us. At the risk of a lame/cliche pun, we simply don't know his plan. --A_Moose_Denied July 2007

It is the concept of an artist in general - who no one understands, thus he is isolated; 'imprisoned' either figuratively and/or literally. If you need a literal example, think of a guy doing performance art in his living room, which in turn landed him in jail when the neighbors saw. The neighbors were the type who 'just didn't get it' (they prolly voted for Bush in the last election - sorry could NOT resist.)


This song reminds me of a jail song. When I say jail song, I mean a song like the one Buster Keaton begins whistling in Steamboat Willy Jr. when he's trying to get his buddy to realize that he has packed a great multitude of giant filers, saws, and other implements useful in aiding his escape from the jail. Attributed to such songs are mixed feelings of joy and sorrow, mundaneness, and revelations about one's life. I think, anyways. It's that kind of song you sing when you're trying to pass the time away in ways other than scribbling tally points on the walls of whatever jail you're in. This is sort of how I see this song. Only there's a humorous difference: the instrumentation of jail songs is rather simplistic, while this one has a quite eleaborate and extravagent overall sound. Only now do I realize how little I know about anything I've said. But does anyone agree? -B.S.

Does this remind anyone of Hitler writing Mein Kampf? -bs

The shadows in Plato's allegory are representative of false ideas, misconceptions, say, of happiness or love, or another "philosophical" idea. The people in the cave only saw these shadows of puppets the "manipulators" were puppeteering. Until, one guy gets out and sees the things that he only saw shadows of before. True ideas (Although, the sun is representative of actual, full enlightenment. But that's another story). Therefore, when the speaker sings about making a shadow on the window shade and the neighbors calling the police, he's saying that he was falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. The neighbors saw something that they thought was criminal activity, but it really wasn't. They didn't get the whole story. They only saw the shadows, not the forms. --Lemita 01:21, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure this is about a guy who got put in prison for a crime he didn't commit, so he is coming up with a plan to break out of prison. This person is also slightly mad. Lines like, "I want to tell you, you my mirror, you my iron bars." and "Always thinking, always busy cooking up an angle, working on the tiny blueprint of the angle." Prove this. When he says, "Why the dancing, shouting, why the shrieks of pain, the lovely music, why the smell of burning autumn leaves?" he is asking himself why there has to be pain in the world. --Mrs. H0rrible Someone keeps moving my stool 21:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

I have a feeling that the lines "No one knows my plan Why the..." is saying that no one else knows why there will be all of the pain and such, because they down't know his plans. The burning autumn leaves lines make me think that he is planning to start a fire to escape from prison, or perhaps he even plans to kill those that wrongly imprisoned him in a fire.

It's about Hannibal Lecter. I thought that was pretty obvious.


I wonder if, "no-one knows my plan" should be taken literally - that is, not even the narrator of the song knows what their plan is yet. That would explain the rhetorical questions - "why the smell of burning autumn leaves?" - they don't know what their (presumably sinister revenge) is going to be yet, but they have a vivid sense that it will involve all these abstract images and sounds, and is trying to put these together into a coherent whole.

Man, I love this song.



Okay, apparently this is just me, but when I heard this song my mind went straight to Comic Book Supervillain. This latest scheme went awry, and he's got a new one already in the works. He has to keep from monologueing about it in traditional fashion, because then it'll all fall apart.

--- I think that the narrator committed murder and was caught because a neighbor noticed it as a shadow on his window shades. While in prison he plots his escape, but he does it very carefully and secretly. I always thought that the autumn leaves were supposed to mean that he didn't want to take any chances or leave any evidence of his plans, and so he makes markings on autumn leaves and then burns them because they're evidence. I also thought the line "But they're like the people chained up in the cave" could possibly reference a past crime he committed, maybe kidnapping someone and leaving them in the cave. I think that the lines "Why the dancing shouts, why the screams of pain, the lovely music, why the smell of burning autumn leaves?" follow the "no one understands," those lines being the thoughts of other people and how they don't know what he is plotting.

Re: "Shadow on my window shade" "allegory of the people in the cave - by the greek guy"

Reading the allegory, I'm guessing this is about something either witnessed or presented in video-form only (essentially, a TV screen or computer screen is variations in light pixels, or shading or shadows) that was interpreted as being real or actually happening (either on the end where it was filmed, or where it was being watched) and someone got in trouble for it.

this song is just me when i play any game that has any strategy at all Toothpaste (talk) 22:05, 22 March 2022 (EDT)

See, for me, that song would be To A Forest, because I have no idea what I'm doing.--You&Me!! (talk) 18:38, 23 March 2022 (EDT)