What do you imagine?

So many people seem to really like John Lennon’s Imagine, not only as a song, but as an expression of hope that all of humanity can live together. Now don’t get me wrong because I’d love for everyone to live together in peace, but I’d much prefer it happen through people realizing that, as Robert A. Heinlein said (in the persona of Jubal Harshaw) in his book, Stranger in a Strange Land:

A desire not to butt into other people’s business is eighty percent of all human wisdom.

Not only would this be ideal, but far better than the means suggested in the song. Indeed, I’d rather we keep on fighting each other if the price of peace is to turn all of humanity into a giant communist collective.

What really turned me off the song was the line,

Nothing to kill or die for

If you’ve got nothing to kill or die for, you’ve got nothing. Wouldn’t just about any parent die for their own children? I suspect Lennon is suggesting there would be no need for this kind of sacrifice in his imaginary world, but that’s not what the words of the song says. It says “nothing to kill or die for” and not “no reason to kill or die for the things you’d kill or die for.”

Rather than the paradise Lennon seems to portray, a closer look at the lyrics reveals a world more a nightmare than paradise, and a place I certainly want no part of.

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  1. Debbie
    Posted May 21, 2008 at 08:17 | Permalink

    This is why I keep up with your site! We agree on so many things like this. It is nice to know there are other reasonable, rational people out there.

  2. Dee
    Posted May 22, 2008 at 07:35 | Permalink

    Of course, the opposite of nothing to die for is everything to live for… Count me among those who are inspired by and love the song “Imagine”! I may not have analyzed the lyrics and I can admit you raise a valid point, but I still am moved by the song.

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