The World We Know (Inspired by the book "The Raw Shark Texts")


The World We Know

Inspired by the book "The Raw Shark Texts" by Steven Hall

I've always been an avid reader, and loved how some of my favorite bands incorporated books, stories, mythology, and movies into their music and songwriting. I've done it in a limited amount before, but mostly tried to write from my own perspective. 

I read TRST 2011, but it's haunted me since then, much like House of Leaves (If you haven't read either, do yourself a favor and pick them both up). TRST is a book as much about adventure and sci-fi/mystery as it is a book about loss and tragedy. I bet you don't see a trend here at all.

Here's an synopsis from Amazon:

Eric Sanderson wakes up in a house he doesn’t recognize, unable to remember anything of his life. All he has left are his diary entries recalling Clio, a perfect love who died under mysterious circumstances, and a house that may contain the secrets to Eric’s prior life. But there may be more to this story, or it may be a different story altogether. With the help of allies found on the fringes of society, Eric embarks on an edge-of-your-seat journey to uncover the truth about himself and to escape the predatory forces that threaten to consume him.

The original title of the song was Scout vs. The Ludovician, which would've been a horrible mouthful to say at shows. But the "predatory forces" that are after Eric turns out to be a "conceptual shark". Sound crazy? It is. But the story is gripping and it throws you into a world that you have to try and comprehend while everything is passing by quickly. 

The song The World We Know was a lot of fun to write, because I was able to put myself in Eric's shoes and think of what it would feel like being chased by something I neither understand nor can stop. There are numerous lines throughout the book I directly quote, or character references (Mr. Nobody, and the line "Nobody knows what lies underneath our feet"). 


I've grown tired of running through these alleyways and roads
I've come so far, I thought you could save me
We crashed through the window. We’re running from...

The world we know is passing by in streaks of light
And I can't stand still
Your laugh is like a tiny spark against the night
When I can't see anything
Nobody knows what lies underneath our feet
Will I need these pills to hold me together?
Call the doctor. Tell him we’re coming for…
I can’t stand still

It's an amazing book with a crazy premise, but it's one that's stuck in my head for 7 years. Here's an excerpt from the book that I always show people when I tell them about it. It's haunting and beautiful at the same time.


Imagine you’re in a rowing boat on a lake. It’s summer, early morning. That time when the sun hasn’t quite broken free of the landscape, and long projected shadows tiger stripe the light. There’s the occasional sound of wind in leaves, and the occasional slap splash of a larger wavelet breaking on the side of your boat, but nothing else.

You reach over the side, and feel the shock of the water. You pull your arm back, holding out your hand, you close your eyes, and feel the tiny mathematics of gravity and resistance as the liquid finds roots across your skin, builds itself into droplets of the required weight, then falls, each drop ending with an audible tap. Now, right on that tap stop.

Stop imagining, here’s the real game. The lake in my head has just become the lake in your head. I could have been dead a hundred years before you were even born, and still the lake in my head has become the lake in your head. Behind or inside or through the 221 words that made up my description, there is some kind of flow, a purely conceptual stream with no mass or weight or matter or ties to gravity or time. A stream flowing from my imaginary lake into yours.

Next, try to visualize all the streams of human interaction, of communication, all those linking streams flowing in and between people through text, pictures, and spoken words. Streams through shared memories, casual relations, witnessed events, touching pasts and futures, cause and effect. Try to see this immense lattice work of lakes and flowing streams, this huge, rich environment of all information and identities and societies and selves.

Now, go back to your lake, back to your boat. But this time, know the place for what it is, and when you’re ready, take a look over the boat’s side. The water is clear and deep. Broken sunlight cuts blue wedges down, down into the clean, cold depths. Don’t move. Be very still. They say life is tenacious. Life will always find a way, they say. Be very quiet. Keep looking into the water. Keep looking, and keep watching.

TRST, Steven Hall

Thanks for reading