“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
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, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
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”
On this anniversary of his murder I think its a good time to talk about the real John Lennon, and not the myth history has handed down.
First, for all his wisdom and the great quotes associated with him, he was a very imperfect human being. He had a history of domestic violence and abuse, against both of his wives and his son.
Although we should certainly consider that, again it doesn’t negate his legacy as a great thinker and social leader. It should just put it in its proper perspective.
Also, he was actively associated with some of the left’s most militant elements (and I say this as a socialist myself). He was a firm believer in the evils of capitalism and the poverty and oppression it caused. So all of you Tea Party advocates who lionize him while bashing a moderate like Obama- hypocrisy at its most blatant.
After being fooled (so he thought) by the Maharishi in India he wrote “Imagine”. In it he presents the questions if there were no countries, no religion would we still have war?
That didn’t necessarily make him an anarchist or nihilist, or even anti-religious, but really people, can’t we take this song for what it says and understand and appreciate it, not for what you think it might say? It doesn’t say “all should be peace and love”, it asks the questions “if there were no religions or nationalism to get in the way, wouldn’t all that was left be peace and love?”
So please don’t go quoting this song at religious ceremonies or campaign stops- its one of the most anti-government and anti-religious writings anyone ever came up with. Which, not a judgement- its an observable, provable fact. That’s what its about. What if there were no countries, and no religion? That’s what it says.
What do I believe? I believe Lennon deserves all the credit he has been given, and certainly his place in the history of music. I also believe he deserves a place in the pantheon of great thinkers and dreamers who truly believed we could, as a whole, do better. Treat each other better, and be more compassionate.
But I also accept he was a human being with all the imperfections that involves. And I believe his beliefs should be appreciated for what they WERE not what too many people think they were.