November 27, 2006

Mike Rosen Can't "Imagine" John Lennon's Utopia

After noting Elton John's recent anti-religion tirade that made a mention of John Lennon's worse-than-wishful-thinking "Imagine", Mike Rosen set about examining the unrealistic, utopian song whose catchy tune provides stealthy cover for some rather dubious thinking:
In the midst of his ramblings, Elton John invoked the memory of John Lennon, saying that if he were alive today he'd be fighting for peace (my oxymoron, not his). Which reminded me of Lennon's epic song, Imagine. Baby boomer romantic nostalgia notwithstanding, the puerile lyrics of that tune sound like a collaboration of Karl Marx, Cindy Sheehan and Dennis Kucinich.

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

Even if you don't believe in rewards or punishment in the hereafter, responsible adults don't live just for today. They defer gratification and save for a rainy day and retirement. Think of the parable of the grasshopper and the ant.

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

No, I can't imagine that. It's anti-historical and contrary to human nature. People are inherently tribal and nationalistic. They band together, linked by common cultures, superstitions, beliefs, values and preferred systems of political economy.

You may say that 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

You're a dreamer. Never happen. The only way the world would be as one is under the guns of a militaristic, totalitarian regime. And even that would only be temporary. Empires invariably fall.

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

Good heavens, no! This is right out of The Communist Manifesto. No possessions? You mean no property rights? That means no rewards, no incentives, no creativity and very little production. Moochers living off a dwindling pool of hard workers. Who's going to harvest the crops while the "dreamers" are smoking dope and flashing peace signs with that silly grin on their faces? What everyone owns, no one owns. Think of the graffiti on the walls of community-owned property like a New York City subway station men's room. By comparison, have you ever seen graffiti on the walls of a bathroom in someone's private home?
No doubt the philosophy derived from some weed-induced haze and not reflective thinking. Having distilled Communism and other philosophical dead-ends into generic platitudes, Lennon's "Imagine" attempts to persuade an easily fooled public through the cult of celebrity and the mask that the statements made in the song are really reasonable. The world's complex problems are never solved so "simply", and as Rosen points out, attempting to reach such a pacific reality often entails violence and repression to a degree more severe than the current situation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe you're trashing John Lennon's song. When he says living for today, I think he means being grounded in reality, not "pie in the sky" promises of an afterlife.

Sun Dec 03, 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger danindenver said...

If you live for today, isn't that living like there's no tomorrow? That probably explains why so many young fools, today, do whatever pleases and excites them since there is no higher power to answer to. Try and use your head, here. What reason does anyone have to do the right thing if there is no penalty for wrongdoing?

Thu Oct 01, 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic article,although I believe John's heart was in the right place,his vision of a "Utopia" could never be achieved

Sat Nov 13, 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this was posted some time ago, but Amen! I was just analyzing the song myself. Bunch of Hooey.

1) Imagine there's no heaven . . . no hell below us = Moral Relatively. The belief there are no absolutes, no right or wrongs, or mis-perceptions.

2) Imagine there's no countries . . . Anti-American Exceptionalism. And, this is only possible through sheer and brutal force to combine dissimilar people together under one country - Balkanization and Czecho-Slovakia (now two different and none too friendly to each other countries) come to mind as historical examples.

3) And no religion too. . . Here is the only point where I am least concerned. I am okay with trashing mysticism for objectivity.

4) And the world will be as one. . . Repeat of number two.

5) Imagine no possessions . . . Collectivism at its finest. There is no such thing. You can have either "flawed" capitalism with the unequal distribution of wealth or socialism where everyone is poor and miserable except for the top fraction of a percent running the state who has everything he (yes, he) desires plus some. Any study of history should give credence to this fact.

Nice sounding song, absolutely stupid and ignorant lyrics. The fact that so many people like this song tells me how many people discard their God given ability to reason and to think.


Fri Dec 31, 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous SouthstanderRSM said...

I love how Mr. Rosen carves up this prattle like a Thanksgiving Turky. I am a Beatlemanic, I could not agree more with Mr. Rosen.

Sun Jan 23, 03:56:00 AM  

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