I’d always regarded John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ as a great song; the music is beautiful, if a little simple, and the lyrics are extremely powerful. However listening to it more recently, while it still stirs in me a desire to put the world to rights, I find myself disagreeing with Lennon’s world vision.
‘Imagine there’s no country’ is fine, he is arguing for true internationalism. I too am inspired by the thought that one day there will be no need for famine or drought, where people consider the concerns of all people as they do their compatriots, where there will be no more war.
‘Imagine no possessions’ is a big no no for me however. I consider myself a democratic socialist, and narrowing the poverty gap is a good thing, but to not allow people any possessions at all is going to an extreme. It brings me happiness when I can spend the proceeds of my hours at the Christmas pudding factory on something I want.
While I am no longer religious myself, I think Lennon gets it completely wrong with ‘Imagine no religion’. It is true that terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but this is true of anything that inspires people. Fervent nationalism inspired Nazi Germany. Galois got himself shot duelling with a friend over a woman. If we remove everything about which people feel passionate then we will have no kind of world left. So, to single out religion is a big mistake. Would Lennon put an end to football because of the associated hooliganism.
Lennon was great but he never touched on the brilliance of McCartney’s ‘Let It Be’ or ‘Hey Jude’. Anyway, enough of this rant, I’m going to do some measure theory.