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Imagine This

I love John Lennon as much as the next guy but the song "Imagine" has always bothered me.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try

I imagined there was no heaven once, gathered all my strength and imagined that this life is all there is.

above us only sky

I imagined this not just for an hour or a day, but every waking moment for several years. Initially it was liberating, but that sensation didn't last long. An all-consuming emptiness set in and I began to obsess over the implications of such an existence. In short, I went quite mad. I came to the same conclusion this Russian Orthodox monk did who wrote:

"If man is to end in nothingness, then in the deepest sense it does not matter what he does in this life, for nothing he may do is of any ultimate consequence, and all talk of 'living life to the full' is empty and vain. It is absolutely true that if there is no immortality, the world is absurd and 'everything is permitted'--which is to say, nothing is worth doing, the dust of death smothers every joy and prevents even tears, which would be futile...Nothing in this world --not love, not goodness, not sanctity, --is of any value, or indeed even has any meaning if man does not survive death."

I ain't no day tripper, but I changed my mind. I'm a dreamer, a believer and a lover of peace. I get high with a little help from my friends and I imagine heaven.
Humbolt Redwoods State Park
I also like to imagine that this ball of blue light is my sister Karma, visiting my parents and I in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I always used to call her "the blue thing" because her eyes were blue and also because of a They Might Be Giants song.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 2nd, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)

For such a pretty song, the concept of no heaven seems so empty...
Nov. 2nd, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
I never really cared for the Marxist messages that seem inherent in a lot of his solo music.

Then, I was always a George Harrison fan.
Nov. 3rd, 2006 04:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, he brought in the sitaar and things started getting really trippy. That's the way I like it!
Nov. 2nd, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
I've never heard anyone else's thought about this--I agree, too.

It sounds like your sister is dead--if so, that's sad.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 06:43 am (UTC)
I think you are sort of taking it out of context

"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..."

Instead of living for some afterlife, try to live a good life today, for the people here and now. Live to celebrate life, not to prepare for death.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
I don't think it was taken out of context at all and that along with the monk's quote was precisely the point trying to be made: simply living a full and good life every day is ultimately empty when it's devoid of a belief in a higher purpose.

I do think, though, that in "Imagine" that Lennon was probably thinking more about religion than spirituality. Not everyone who considers themselves a spiritual person is preparing for death; it's organised religions (particlarly the Judeo/Islam/Christian religions) which espouse the idea that righteousness is rewarded with eternity.

Nov. 3rd, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
>>>Live to celebrate life, not to prepare for death<<<

A wise man once told me that we should live each day as if it were our last and as if we were to live another hundred years.

Celebrate life, yes, but there is also much to be mourned on this planet. Some might even say that we are celebrating too much it's destroying the earth's resources.

I celebrate The Resurrection above all.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Nov. 2nd, 2006 07:12 am (UTC)
I go mad when I go there too. I like believing in what I believe in, and it's certainly bigger than the apparent world. =)

That is quite a beautiful blue light.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 07:22 am (UTC)
I've never had reason to believe we have anything but this life, and I never found that to be a depressing thought. The idea that life has no value without some fiction of immortality to justify it, though...that strikes me as sad.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 11:02 am (UTC)
thank you doro. just got in a semi fight with someone about that song. i love lennon more than the next guy but that song ticks me off. i much prefer "working class hero", (hmmm crack that beer). i heard Imagine such in a church and had to walk the fuck out. yeah i now he's probably referring to religion is separate from God, so say it, son't gimme a dog and pny show. thanks for putting it out there.

"its alright ma, i'm only bleedin'"
Nov. 2nd, 2006 11:09 am (UTC)
To me that sentence was always much more referring to the concept of religion and the damage it has done and is still doing today. I don't think John Lennon ever meant to ask to "imagine" that there was no afterlife of some sorts, but more to try and "imagine" a life where people did not fight over religion.


Nov. 2nd, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
Lovely image and lovely imagining.
Nov. 2nd, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Ball of blue light
Thank you Babe. I felt her prsence there with us, too. I like to think as Harry Chapin says that we will all be together again but I don't know. Until then we just do the best we can by telling the people we love that we love them and ask for forgiveness when we make mistakes. I love you! Please forgive me if I have ever hurt you.
Nov. 3rd, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
Re: Ball of blue light
I love you too, Mom. Thanks for always teaching me to love.
Nov. 3rd, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)
Re: Ball of blue light
i smile.

Sweet. And tender.
Nov. 3rd, 2006 05:21 am (UTC)
that song always seems to be pretty divisive...I think the piano part is pretty, but the lyrics are kind of fluff...not at terrible as some people seem to think, but certainly not legendary...I'll take my John Lennon Watching the Wheels.

and it hurts that you don't add my new journal...this is all because I don't write letters to condiments any more, right?
Nov. 3rd, 2006 06:21 am (UTC)
Your new journal?!?! I'm sorry, I was asleep at the wheel! I'll add it right away!
Nov. 5th, 2006 08:42 am (UTC)

That is all.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 7th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)
That monk is definately worth reading more about.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )