Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | January 11, 2011

Set the controls for the Heart of the Sun

Do you remember listening to Pink Floyd singing ‘Set the controls for the heart of the sun’? Can I have a show of hands: How many thought like me that this was a thrilling idea – that somehow signalled piloting yourself back to the Source of All Being, going back to base? And how many thought, rather more realistically, that this was a very frightening idea that would involve being deep fried very fast?  (there is a serious point to this research!…)


  1. I feel I entirely missed the boat everyone else was on, so-to-speak; after Roger Waters shared his interpretation of Li Shangyin, I just sort of went with it in an entirely different direction. (I had some baby herbs last year in the “incubator” under the lights and the lyrics and the message seemed to fit for me at the time …

    Bright Blessings, Philip!

  2. I don’t remember that one, but I do remember being very startled by their track ‘Time’, I had my head right next to my old record player in a sideboard turned up rather loud at about 11 years old, reading a sex education book my mum bought me called ‘Time to Grow Up’ All quite an experience !!!

  3. check out ‘hemopiliac dream’ , heres the link on amazon,

    its a 30 minute jam based from this song, same riff, similar vocal parts. it’s heavier though.

  4. Thanks Philip, your research confirms my suspicion that Roger Waters misinterpreted his own image when he said: “An unknown person who, while piloting a mighty flying saucer, is overcome with solar suicidal tendencies and sets the controls for the heart of the sun.” The image itself arose from his unconscious: “I managed to get hold of a book of Chinese poetry from the late T’ang period and I just ripped it off. Except for the title, I’ve no idea where that came from. It came from … within me.”
    He couldn’t see ‘set the controls for the heart of the sun’ as a intuitive solution to HIS problems. The psychologist Carl Jung observed that patients often had a Big Dream at the start of therapy which gave an overview of the solution. I feel Set the Controls is like that for Roger. When the sun did fall for him, after Darkside, and he did rave at The Wall, he didn’t remember the lesson of giving (re: problems within the band). His loss is becoming a prayer for me.
    I’m curious about the ‘serious point to this research’….

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