John Lennon’s Imagine
(Fair warning: this post may generate more static than any I’ve ever posted. Opinions tend to be quite polarized in this area. All I ask is that you objectively read what I have to say. If you still feel like [figuratively] punching me when you’re done, feel free.)
There was a time when I might have considered John Lennon’s song Imagine to be a pretty song. But I was young and dumb at the time. I recently saw a highly trained, highly audited, “with-LRH” Scientologist posit the beauty of this song and I had to shake my head.
First, let’s consider the context of this song. It came out in 1971. The Vietnam war was still on and the nation was skeptical and tired of wars being fought in far off places which didn’t seem to have anything to do with America. Americans were tired of young men dying for causes which didn’t seem to be important here in the States.
Second, the U.S. was in the midst of a drugged haze which still seems to grip the country. Drug use jumped drastically in the 1960s, and left many of its participants in permanently scarred states of mind about life, religion and politics. Drugs tend to do that to people. They prevent proper observation and leave the participant with peculiar, spectatorish and hostile attitudes towards the rest of the world. These attitudes are often well hidden, but erupt from time to time in inappropriate ways.
Third, the author of this song was not the saint or profound philosopher many have painted him to be. He wasn’t even particularly visionary. He was a musician and composer after all. And judging by his solo career, he wasn’t anywhere near the composer alone that he was when paired with Paul McCartney. He was also a major druggie, having consumed LSD and other lesser drugs numerous times in the years before. It should be remembered that LSD is a drug designed to produce psychosis. It worked so effectively that its use barred Scientologists from being allowed into the Sea Organization. Lennon was also strongly connected to, if not propitiative to his wife, Yoko Ono. Regardless of your stance on Yoko, it’s a fact that her advent into John Lennon’s life coincided with the beginning of the end of The Beatles. Lennon was also openly contemptuous not only of the press, but of the fans in general. They earned his contempt by idolizing him and his mates. In his favor, at least he did realize that the Beatles were just four musicians in a rock and roll band, not prophets or even the spokesmen for a generation of young people.
Back to the song itself. Imagine advocates for a world without personal property, religions (including yours if you have one), government, national boundaries. Perhaps not coincidentally, these are the characteristics of one-world fascism which has been pushed by the power players on this planet for decades. Ostensibly, the song seeks to imagine the world coming together in peace once the above are eradicated. But this is the short-sighted vision of the drugged. These factors are not the reasons the world is at war and people fight amongst themselves. As we know from studying LRH, wars on this planet are fought because there are third parties behind the conflicts, actively promoting them and gaining profit as a result. The heavily divisive press (“Merchants of Chaos”) are part of this cabal as well, agitating people’s emotions and seeking to stir discontent among them by making the world appear far more dangerous than it is. Nationalism and patriotism never caused any wars. They are to be found anywhere people live, and are part of the loyalty and pride people feel for the places where they grew up and live. Personal property, similarly, does not particularly cause hostility among humans, either. Unless you happen to be a criminal who views all property as his or no one’s. Finally, while politics can be a divisive subject, government alone does not cause human suffering. It is merely a tool to be used for good or ill, depending on who wields it.
The anguish of humanity is rooted in far deeper causes than the fleeting wars, media, and activities of religions. The reasons for war, criminality and insanity rest in events which took place long long ago and are generally unknown to the average human. It takes a trained Scientologist to recognize the true causes lying in the psyches of humans.
All of which is just to say that John Lennon’s vision as expressed in this song is based on an almost complete lack or mastery of actual facts. It is based on a spectator’s view of the world, filtered through the unhandled drug mass and aberrations of its author. That he wished for a world at peace with itself is perhaps noble. But his ideas on why the world didn’t conform to his vision were and are demonstrably ludicrous. And the world he advocates is not one he would want to live in. It would be a fascist non-paradise, if anything. But that’s often the way with druggies and degraded beings.
On a final note, it can be observed that the aesthetics of a piece of art can be quite apart from form of the artwork itself. Artists infuse art with an aesthetic wavelength, more or less, and rely on the perception of the audience for the aesthetic to be perceivable. The form of the art is simply a carrier wave. Many pieces of art, nonsensical on the surface, still shine with an intensity of aesthetic which does not match the form itself. The artist adds that aesthetic component in greater or lesser quantity or volume as he creates the art. Only in this sense is Imagine a beautiful song. Lennon undoubtedly was sincere in his desire for this song to be a thing of beauty. It is considered so by many, and was the most successful composition of his solo career. But the actual message of the song is neither rational nor beautiful.