“Imagine” by John Lennon is one of the most powerful pop songs ever written lyric-wise according to many of his peers and it remains as influential today as it ever was. Undoubtedly it was thought provoking to the hippie movement, in which many regarded Lennon as a prophet. But what does it sound like to those of us that are already enlightened and highly aware of the shortcomings of mankind? How would an alien react to these lyrics? Let’s imagine!
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
Heaven and hell, both imaginary religious places, do not exist. You need quite an imagination to grasp these concepts and you need to be delusional to believe that they’re real. Sadly, this seems to be “easy if you try” to most humans in western societies. There is only sky above and below us but “only” is an enormous understatement considering the size of the known universe. Most people are living for today by the way. We wouldn’t have had national debts nor global warming had they been a little less ignorant.
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
Countries are fictitious to a large extent. They’re real in the sense that you’d be better off following the laws of the one you’re in if you don’t want to be treated badly by the other people in it, but that’s only because they believe that their country is real. The threats are real. If there’s anything to kill or die for is entirely subjective and most people already lack the imagination to find something worthy of this. Imagining no religion implies imagining people living life in peace too. Some of us still finds it hard to believe that anyone would take religion seriously in the first place.
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
Mr. Lennon is the realist here and not the dreamer. And he’s not the only one. What’s more important than joining any group though is leaving whatever group you’re already in and start thinking for yourself. Only then can the world be as one which it already is in a Descartian sense.
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
Possessions are essential if we are to share the world. They are the pieces in the jigsaw. Can anyone really imagine a way of sharing the world which doesn’t include any means of dividing up the plunder? And it’s easy to imagine a world without greed or hunger in a truly fair and immutable society. Where the game isn’t rigged. Where there’s no third party interfering with the interactions of men. Where one can truly express value uncensored.
Imagine is a really a song about abandoning our imagined concepts and seeing the world for what it truly is. Just like when people say “real magic” when they mean the sort of magic that very clearly isn’t real. This is why the song is so clever. It speaks to those who need to be spoken to, not the ones that have already pierced the veil.