“Forty Six & 2” is a song by the progressive rock band Tool and can be found on their fourth album, titled Ænima.  Maynard James Keenan’s lyrics to this beautiful and powerful song can be difficult to fully understand because of the oblique references to the Drunvalo Melchizadek, evolution and Jungian theory contained within.  

The main theme of the song is personal growth, overcoming, and development toward a higher level of human evolution and consciousness.

The numerous references to the singer’s “shadow” can be explained by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s use of the term to describe the unconscious mind’s repressed fears, weaknesses, and irrational instincts.  As the shadow represents everything that the person refuses to acknowledge about him or herself, that person must encounter and eventually integrate with the shadow in order to become the true self and a complete individual.

The song title “Forty Six & 2” is a reference to the number of chromosomes that an organism contains. According the new age author Drunvalo Melchizadek, there are three level of human evolution and each contains its own form of consciousness.  The first type of human has 42 and 2 chromosomes – that is, 42 autosomes and 2 sex chromosomes.  These primitive humans have a single united consciousness that does not see anything outside them as being separate from themselves.   Then there is our level of human, which have 44 and 2 chromosomes, and a currently chaotic and disharmonious state of consciousness.   The next step for human evolution would be 46 and 2 chromosomes.  This is highest level of consciousness and our evolutionary destiny, says Melchizadek.

The song “Forty Six & 2” starts out with the singer describing his shadow “shedding skin” and that he’s “crawling on my belly.”  These words conjure up the image of a snake or reptile that must shed its skin in order to grow.  The singer later says, “change is coming through my shadow” and that he wants to feel the metamorphosis.  He must “clear out what could’ve been” to prepare for this change.  The lines “I wanna feel the change consume me / Feel the outside turning in,” suggest Jung’s delving into the unconscious and repressed part of the self in the search for the true self.

Towards the end of the song the singer begins to feel the transformation taking place with the final verse, “See my shadow changing / Stretching up and over me / Soften this old armor / Hoping I can clear the way / By stepping through my shadow / Coming out the other side / Step into the shadow / Forty six and two are just ahead of me.”  This verse really sums up the entire song. 

I hope you enjoyed this analysis of the deeper meaning of “Forty Six & 2” by Tool!