|The Great Debate|
|Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence|
|Working title||Conflict at Ground Zero|
|Release date||January 29th, 2002|
|First live performance|
|Total live plays|
|Other appearances||Score (bonus DVD), Graspop Festival 2002,|
The Great Debate is the fourth song on Dream Theater's sixth studio and only double album, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. At 13:43, it is the second longest song on the first disc, behind The Glass Prison.
Its original title, "Conflict at Ground Zero", was changed due to the 9/11 attacks, as the news reporters were referring to the site as "ground zero", and the band didn't want to associate the song with the attacks. However, they did later write Sacrificed Sons in 2005 about the victims of the attacks.
- John Petrucci - Guitar
- John Myung - Bass
- Jordan Rudess - Keyboards
- James LaBrie - Lead vocals
- Mike Portnoy - Drums, percussion
What if someone said Promise lies ahead Hopes are high in certain scientific circles Life won't have to end You could walk again What if someone said Problems lie ahead They've uncovered something highly controversial The right to life is strong Can't you see it's wrong Human kind has reached a turning point Poised for conflict at ground zero Ready for a war Do we look to our unearthly guide Or the white coat heroes Searching for a cure Turn to the light Don't be frightened of the shadows it creates Turn to the light Turning away would be a terrible mistake Anarchistic moral vision Industries of death Facing violent opposition Unmolested breath Ethic inquisitions breed Antagonistic views Right wing soundbyte premonitions In a labyrinth of rules Are you justified Are you justified Are you justified Justified in taking Life to save life Life to save life Life to save life This embryonic clay Wrapped in fierce debate Would be thrown away Or otherwise discarded Some of us believe It may hold the key To treatment of disease And secrets highly guarded Are you justified Are you justified Are you justified Justified in taking Life to save life Life to save life Life to save life Humankind has reached a turning point Poised for conflict at ground zero Ready for a war Do we look to our unearthly guide Or to white coat heroes Searching for a cure Turn to the light Don't be frightened of the shadows it creates Turn to the light Turning away would be a terrible mistake We're reaching But have we gone too far Harvesting existence Only to destroy Carelessly together We are sliding Someone else's future Four days frozen still Someone else's fate We are deciding Miracle potential Sanctity of life Faced against each other We're divided Should we push the boundaries Or should we condemn Moral guilt and science Have collided Turn to the light We defy our own mortality these days Turn to the light Pay attention to the questions we have raised
The Great Debate is a very progressive song, for example the extended intro is in the time signature of 7/4. The song is also quite heavy, particularly the crunching main riff and the shouted chorus. It is strongly influenced by Tool, particularly their song "Forty Six & 2".
It was written to give an overview of the issues surrounding stem cell research, but takes a non-partisan viewpoint. Rather it discusses both sides of the debate equally without coming to a conclusion. A good example of this is the first two stanzas, which are structurally very similar, but the first gives points for stem cell research, "Promise lies ahead" while the second gives points against it, "Problems lie ahead". During the intro, it also includes soundbites of people giving points on the topic, again from both sides of the argument. Interestingly, the left wing arguments come in through the left speaker and the right wing arguments from the right speaker.
Ambiguity is the most important part of this song, with the intro flooding the listener with fluttering keyboard riffs and voice clips, sort of clearing your mind of any existing bias towards the topic.
The last line, "Pay attention to the question we have raised" suggests that the listener should look into the debate themselves and find their own opinion instead of finding a conclusion within the song.
- Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence - Original recorded version
- Graspop Festival 2002 - Live version
- July 4, 2011 Rome, Italy (Ippodromo Delle Capannelle) - Live version
- Score (DVD) - Live version