Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rambling Thoughts on a Tuesday.


John Lennon’s song, “Imagine” has become an anthem for many; talking about the abandonment of a belief in God, and the harmony of mankind.  I’m afraid I am not a fan of this song, for a couple of reasons.  First, and foremost, it assumes in mankind a nature that does not exist; if we were just to choose so we could live in harmony.  Secondly, it dismisses principles of faith held by a majority of the world’s population.  These principles are the bedrock upon which societies exist, so if you destroy that foundation you eliminate even the potential for human harmony.
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...
But let’s talk about what Lennon’s society would look like if it were to come into being.  As John suggests we abandon faith in a higher power, and we live only for today.  Well, depending on your view of the length of “today” we could save a lot of time and effort on seeking cures for illness, climate change, and extension of life.  We most certainly would move further into a ME society where we have no concern for the betterment of mankind, or the preservation of life.  It would be an easy-come, easy-go kind of world.  Of course, people would grieve for the unfortunate deaths of those they love (if the concept of love were to remain), but since there would be no hope of a future for them, we would soon learn to cast them aside and move on.  Death would be just another unfortunate event for society, life would lose value as we move from day to day in pursuit of our self-interest. 
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...
Elimination of the modern form of global political structure has long been an ideal of some.  We have evolved from simple family groups, to tribes and clans, to cities, city-states, to nations, always with the promise of greater security and peace.  At the end of the day have we achieved either?  What we have achieved is centralization and control by the political elites who gain power, prestige and wealth from this process. I believe John takes it a step further suggesting we abandon that whole construct and live in harmony as individuals.  The assumption must rest on a belief man can be selfless and caring, but what in our history has shown this is fundamental in our nature?  He carries this idea forward as we see in the next verse. 
 Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...
Imagine a world where we have no desire for possessions, and we have eliminated that human quality called greed.  What motivates those who must toil to create the things that life consumes, or eliminate the bi-products of life?  It is certainly easy to imagine we will automate the entire support infrastructure so that we have something like food replicators and waste management is all automated but how will that brotherhood of man thing work out when everyone is in such harmony that there is no desire to lead, or follow? Since we are “living only for today” why would we worry about preserving all the world?  According to John that isn’t really necessary, is it?  We share until It’s all used up and we go away…
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And see the world as one
I am sorry, but it boggles my mind that so many think the world, as painted by John Lennon, is the ideal we should strive for.  How easy it is to dismiss the very fabric of man and paint a picture of a world where the inherent strengths and weaknesses of our species are just discounted for a utopian promise.  The chorus though captures the essence of what we see today, where those who’ve joined in this vision fail to remember the verses.  From those who see the one vision of the world we find intolerance for competing views.  While I might have expected that from those who've not reached such enlightenment as Lennon suggests, it seems remarkable coming from those who find such inspiration in the song.  Such, unfortunately, is the true nature of mankind.  Funny John didn't mention that.

5 comments:

Jeannette said...

Imagine how bereft of insight one would have to be to believe in the words of this catchy tune. But music can penetrate and when coupled with misleading language it can sprout like weeds in fallow ground. I have heard that even John Lennon repudiated his own the naiveté before his life's end. Good job, John.

Colin Osborne said...

I'm a little frightened by your off hand implication that you believe people who don't believe in God are incapable of love or empathy.

John said...

Colin,
It appears to me you make assumptions about me with little to no basis. I have no idea what an "off hand implication" is, or how you arrive at the fact I've made one. What I did suggest was that without faith there is no basis for a common agreement of morality and that common definition is what forms the basis of a society. (This is not just a christian issue, but applies to other non-christian societies as well).

If you care to direct me to the specific line that implies atheists are incapable of love or empathy I will be happy to discuss.

EMax said...

Well said John! I think your extension of the poem provides for a lot of thought and honest self evaluation. the only way to convince those that feel that way wrong, is to isolate all of them on their own planet and watch them begging to come back to earth. But, as long as they can milk and benefit from our system, they will just continue to protest and preach their PEACE!

Mitch DeLaRosa said...

John, I agree with you (as usual). Even as a young person 30+ years ago, I thought the lyrics of this song were stupid! The funny thing about utopia is that there is only one area I recall where a small community experienced it for a few years. There activities are recorded in Acts 2:44-47. They lived in near peace because many of them had PHYSICALLY SEEN and CONVERSED with Jesus Christ IN PERSON. So contrary to Mr. Lennon's thought, the ONLY WAY to approach utopia on earth was/is through the purest of religion, not with NO RELIGION. But, alas, by the time we get to Acts Chapter 6, we already read that grumbling was occurring in the Christian community because "the widows [of the Greeks] were neglected [by the Hebrew Christian converts] in the daily distribution." Even in the recent presence of Christ himself, the believers couldn't contain their human greed enough to achieve perfection on earth....

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