This song came up at work the other day and I wanted to respond to it. My response is short and not well formed but I might respond more fully to it at a later date.  I know that much can be said (and has been said) about this song and John Lennon. It is a catchy and beautiful song to listen to. Notwithstanding:

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 may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday 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…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one


By: John Lennon

I don’t like the lyrics above because the ideology that it espouses has been detrimental to humanity when practically applied.  It is also antithetical to any semblance of how reality really is in the world and thus will never work.  He is almost saying that everyone should get rid of their ideologies when he says, “no religion too”. The problem with that is that he would then have to admit that his view is in fact a religion or at least ideology that runs his worldview. He would then need to get rid of his own ideology.

Other problems:

If no eternity or anyone to answer to after this life, e.g. God, heaven or hell, then there is no reason for people to act as if their actions will be judged. Why should they answer to anyone if there is nothing beyond nature? Soviet union, red china etc… thought this way.

Nothing to kill or die for… is there nothing to live for as well? Nothing to care about or fight for? No passion? No humanity?

No countries? One world government? Sounds oppressive to me.

No posessions? Can I work to serve my fellow man and in return he pays me for my efforts (capitalism)? If not then there is not then there is no point in working.

No greed or hunger? The original settlers in Jamestown colony tried communal living and the majority died the first winter due to starvation.

I agree with living for today and that it matters what we do in life day to day. However, this song promotes a terribly destructive ideology.

The quote below, I heard recently, and I find it very interesting and true.  What do you think?

Whether the human mind can advance or not, is a question too little discussed, for nothing can be more dangerous than to found our social philosophy on any theory which is debatable but has not been debated. But if we assume, for the sake of argument, that there has been in the past, or will be in the future, such a thing as a growth or improvement of the human mind itself, there still remains a very sharp objection to be raised against the modern version of that improvement. The vice of the modern notion of mental progress is that it is always something concerned with the breaking of bonds, the effacing of boundaries, the casting away of dogmas. But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas. The human brain is a machine for coming to conclusions; if it cannot come to conclusions it is rusty. When we hear of a man too clever to believe, we are hearing of something having almost the character of a contradiction in terms. It is like hearing of a nail that was too good to hold down a carpet; or a bolt that was too strong to keep a door shut. Man can hardly be defined, after the fashion of Carlyle, as an animal who makes tools; ants and beavers and many other animals make tools, in the sense that they make an apparatus. Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.

 G.K. Chesterton
Heretics (1905)  (no i did not read this book but find the quote interesting)


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