Monday, August 26, 2013

Imagine Leads to a horrible Dystopian Future

Line by line analysis of John Lennon's "Imagine."  First off, I want to say that there are things I like about this song.  It's melodic and harmonically interesting, but the philosophy is completely flawed and doesn't take into account the ramifications of what it encourages.

Imagine there's no heaven
Heaven, the ultimate benefit of being forgiven and the ultimate rest and hope for the future.  Let's imagine all hope for the future is gone?  I'd rather not thank you.
It's easy if you try
No, it's not at all.
No hell below us
Hell, the ultimate consequences of sin and rejection of God, gone.  So no ultimate consequences?  Everyone can do as he or she pleases, sounds nice until you think about the ramifications of no consequences EVER.  Your neighbor likes your TV or your car.  Well, he just takes it.  There's no consequences outside you not liking him, and what does he care about that?  If he's bigger and stronger than you, he can do as he pleases.  So, he's held accountable by laws, well, laws based on what?  Man's authority?  What if he's very wealthy and can buy off the court system?  Without ultimate consequences, might makes right and that's not a good place to live at all.
Above us only sky
Same as before, no hope for future rest.
Imagine all the people living for today
Similar to no consequences, people living as if there's no tomorrow have no concern about the future.  They're wasteful and selfish.  Anyone who's ever rented out property can speak to this, people that don't care about the future don't care about what they do in the long run.

Imagine there's no countries
Now, this one, eh.  It'd be nice if the world were more together, and cared less about boundaries and trade disputes than they do people.
It isn't hard to do
Yeah it is, (well, the imagining part isn't hard) people fear change.  People fear the unknown.  People fear other people, especially people who are different.
Nothing to kill or die for
That would be nice, but removing territorial boundaries wouldn't do that.  People would still fight over resources just not on a national level.
And no religion too
This is reminiscent of Marx's religion is the opiate of the masses.  I don't think that ALL religion should be abolished, but people run organized religion and as long as people are in charge religions are going to do bad things.  Unfortunately, sin and evil are unavoidable human characteristics, abolishing religion won't do anything to change that.
Imagine all the people living life in peace
Again, people are going to fight, maybe not on the national level, if there are no countries, but people are still evil.

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
This is just a dream, and there's no way to make it a reality.
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one
That would be nice, but no matter how hard we try people are still going to do bad things, especially if there are no consequences.

Imagine no possessions
We could all do with a little less, except maybe people in third-world countries.  But, if people focused less on acquiring things the would would be a better place.
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
There will always be greed, as I've said several times already, the removal of consequences will worsen peoples' behaviour not make it better.
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
Again, just a dream, albeit a nice one (with the exception of the rampant greed and evil that would exist in this dream).
You, 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 live as one
As I said, I don't really have a problem with the song, I just don't think people realize that taking away consequences and hope makes people behave worse not better.  When disasters strike, the people not effected join together and help those that have suffered.  However, the people in the midst of the disaster loot and steal and destroy just to gain what little they can in dire circumstances.  I don't usually like pop-culture references, but take the recent TV show Revolution on ABC.  The world goes crazy because, for no reason at all, all electronics cease working.  Is it a nice thing?  Do people all band together and love one another and share where there's abundance?  Not at all, in fact the opposite.  One powerful person takes control of a large arsenal, and leads a militia to rule about a quarter of the US with an iron fist.  Hunting down any and all that oppose him and warring to try to gain control of the rest of the former US.  Is that the kind of world you want to live in?  That's the kind of dystopian future Lennon is suggesting in this song.