Imagine Is The Song Playing In My Mind Today
When I think of John Lennon, I often think of this song.
I can recall the shock I felt to learn that John Lennon died on December 8th, 1980. I was still hoping that the Beatles would someday reunite, but with the passing of John, that was not to be. Paul, George, and Ringo would never come together again with John. I recall in an interview with Paul, they asked, “What about Julian?” He replied, “Oh, we wouldn’t do that to him.”
Years later, thanks to the internet, I was able to finally read the lyrics to the song, “Imagine”. This was important to me because I’m hard of hearing. I had figured out some of the words but didn’t know all of them since the time I first heard the song, “Imagine”. But I did hear the message of peace in John’s words. And now that I can read the words and see the meaning, I see that I’m not all the way there yet. I want to be, but don’t know how to finish the last mile.
As I read the lyrics again on my other monitor while I write this article, I’m with John for most of the song. It’s easy for me to imagine there is no heaven or hell. I already know how to live my life without supernatural moral desserts. The only moral dessert of being a good person that I know of is peace. I want that, too.
I have been learning to live for today. That is how humans used to live. Before the written word, before language, before consciousness, before we figured out to make predictions, we lived for today. But with the written word, radio, TV, the internet and the common consciousness we now all share, we’re exhausting ourselves for the future, the 24-hour news cycle, the politics, the power struggles and the need for some assurance of a future that we can live with. We are often displaced in time by our devices.
I can imagine a world with no countries. I can imagine a world where we finally tire of killing each other. And I can imagine a world without religion. Maybe that world will come when someone proves there is a god and we can stop fighting over who among us are really the chosen people. Or maybe someone will finally prove there is no god, and that there is nothing in the sky to fight for. I’m agnostic myself, for I prefer not to pretend to know one way or another. But I can definitely see a time when we all realize that our fates are tied, and then we would see there is no point in killing one another.
I can imagine people living in peace. I practice peace myself. I have tried the other way, and I found that living without peace makes me tired. So if I see a potential for conflict, I err on the side of peace. I take note of my contribution to peace or not to peace, and adjust my behavior from there. I err on the side of peace.
Yes, I’m a dreamer, too. I dream of a life of peace. I live a life of peace most days now. I can think through the immediate consequences of arguing, breaking things, hurting someone or just withdrawing. I’ve tried to find a way to “get away” with something, but it never works out in my mind, so I err on the side of peace. For reasons that I can’t explain, erring on the side of peace tends to beget more peace. And I can say from personal experience, that living this way, with peaceful intentions, has allowed the days between drama to increase with time.
So I get a little lost when I reach the verse where John is asking us to imagine a world without possessions. That is something hard for me to imagine in a capitalist world. I get it that people are not motivated solely by money. So I can imagine a world without greed. A world without hunger. I can imagine a brotherhood of man. But a world without possessions is still a difficult one for me to grasp.
We already share the world. We share the air, the water, and the soil. No matter how many pieces of paper you stack up on your land, possession is 9/10ths ownership. And when you leave this plane, you are dispossessed of everything you own now. There are no exceptions. There is very, very little that you take with you, and that you can’t leave behind. We all share the same fate in the end.
I’m a dreamer and I’m not the only one. I’ll keep dreaming of a world filled with peaceful people, and I hope to join others who think this way, too. I will do what I can to bring that world about. In the meantime, I will remember the words of John Lennon today.