Imagine

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Imagine

Post Number:#1  Postby Steve3007 » August 4th, 2017, 5:01 pm

John Lennon's song (which he said should really have been co-credited to Yoko Ono) often seems to be used as the ultimate example of hopeless hippy idealism/hypocrisy. In particular, the line "imagine no possessions" is easy to pour scorn on, given Lennon's considerable material wealth. ("Some people don't have to imagine it John, with your pink Rolls Royce and your fancy white house with a big piano in it...")

But is there a role in life for this kind of hopeless idealism? Is there a place in the world for people who can ignore the accusations of hypocrisy and unrealistic fantasy and keep their eyes fixed on the ideal? Or are we all pragmatists nowadays?
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."
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Imagine



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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#2  Postby -1- » August 4th, 2017, 7:40 pm

It's easier to remain an idealist if you can cry on rainy days, if you wish you were a puppy, if you clutch your Teddy bear and have a pillow fight in your PJs while your mother does your calculus homework and finishes your Human Anatomy exam, if you think of Justin Bieberfeld as g-d's gift to all women everywhere, and can pout that would send an adolescent male platypus into orbit with desire.

-- Updated 2017 August 4th, 7:41 pm to add the following --

It's all in the mood. Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch.
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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#3  Postby Misty » August 6th, 2017, 6:08 am

Steve3007 wrote:John Lennon's song (which he said should really have been co-credited to Yoko Ono) often seems to be used as the ultimate example of hopeless hippy idealism/hypocrisy. In particular, the line "imagine no possessions" is easy to pour scorn on, given Lennon's considerable material wealth. ("Some people don't have to imagine it John, with your pink Rolls Royce and your fancy white house with a big piano in it...")

But is there a role in life for this kind of hopeless idealism? Is there a place in the world for people who can ignore the accusations of hypocrisy and unrealistic fantasy and keep their eyes fixed on the ideal? Or are we all pragmatists nowadays?


"Imagine" is one of my all time favorite songs. It is my understanding that John Lennon came from a humble background and worked his way up to a top
entertainer and riches. How can anyone know much he gave to the less fortunate? Taking the line "imagine no possessions" out of context does not
make your point. John Lennon lost his life to one who was jealous of his accomplishments, one who could only 'imagine' destruction. "Imagine" is a
profound song by an accomplished artist. It brings hope and tears to my eyes when I hear it, it makes me want to be a better person. It was/is meant
to stir humans to be better, thus the gifted words of a rich man who shared his talent with the world, probably knowing it doesn't always bring the desired intention or reward.
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

The eyes can only see what the mind has, is, or will be prepared to comprehend.

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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#4  Postby Steve3007 » August 6th, 2017, 12:37 pm

Misty:
It is my understanding that John Lennon came from a humble background and worked his way up to a top entertainer and riches.


He did indeed. There is (or at least has been) a tendency in British culture to resent other people's material wealth, even if it is self-made (or even because it is self-made). Perhaps the cynicism is/was more pronounced in his home country than in the US.

Taking the line "imagine no possessions" out of context does not make your point.


My point was that the line is, as you've said, often taken out of context and used with cynicism to cast doubt on the sincerity of the idealism in the song. Clearly the song is asking us to consider the idea that material possessions divide us and to imagine the idealized concept of a world without material envy. Of course, when that idea is considered, the cynics point out that a world without personal material possessions has been tried, and it didn't seem to work out entirely as planned.

"Imagine" is a profound song by an accomplished artist. It brings hope and tears to my eyes when I hear it, it makes me want to be a better person. It was/is meant to stir humans to be better, thus the gifted words of a rich man who shared his talent with the world, probably knowing it doesn't always bring the desired intention or reward.


It's good to see the world isn't completely cynical.

-- Updated Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:46 pm to add the following --

-1-:
Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch.


Funnily enough, that line was written by a man who lives very close to where John Lennon came from, in Merseyside, England. I guess, in its own way, it expresses a similar idea to "Imagine". Even the granite-faced, flat-cap-wearing, dour men at a non-league football match who's steel hearts mirror their hard lives can enjoy a moment of fun when a dog runs onto the pitch. "It generates a warmth around the ground that augers well for mankind. And that's what life's about."

("The trouble is, these days you never see a dog on the pitch")

-- Updated Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:41 pm to add the following --

I took my kids to see the "emojis" movie this weekend. So, in that spirit, I'd like to add something to the above:

It's good to see the world isn't completely cynical. :D
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."
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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#5  Postby Misty » August 6th, 2017, 2:51 pm

Thank you, Steve3007, for understanding that it was not you I was addressing but those who take lyrics out of context.

I also think that being poor or without riches doesn't make people saints. Poorer neighborhoods show us that jealousy and crime lives there too.

So "imagine no possessions" is for all people to ponder.

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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#6  Postby -1- » August 6th, 2017, 5:44 pm

I'm reading this thread. Many people don't realize that for about the first decade of his successful musical career, John Lennon got rid of 95 percent of his yearly gross income, before taxes.

He wrote about it in a song, too.

I personally agree with the lyrics in "Imagine", but musically I liked the Beatles' hits more than any of the solo efforts of any of the boys after they broke up. The Beatles' hits may have less or no political or meaningful appeal, but their musical accomplishment was much greater together than each singly.

What amazes me is that their songs begged to be sung without drumming accompaniment. Their voices were extremely rhythmic, the drum, albeit incredibly clean and smooth and technically perfect, were superfluous. That's partly what made Ringo into a recluse.

But this is not about the Beatles, this thread. It's about a dog on a bitch. In front of an entire stadium of onlookers. And who said the Britons are a cold-blooded type?

In Toronto a couple made love from beginning to end in front of an entire baseball stadiumful of people. During a Blue Jay's game. They have built a hotel with windows that open to the field, and the couple performed there. Nobody was watching the game! No charges were laid, because there was no crime committed, appartently; they were in their private space or something.
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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#7  Postby Steve3007 » August 7th, 2017, 7:57 am

Misty:
Thank you, Steve3007, for understanding that it was not you I was addressing but those who take lyrics out of context.


No problemo.

I also think that being poor or without riches doesn't make people saints. Poorer neighborhoods show us that jealousy and crime lives there too.


Yes, to use a horrible modern business expression: it's the "value added" that counts.

So "imagine no possessions" is for all people to ponder.


And also, I think song lyrics that appear to contain a moral or political message should never be taken entirely literally, even if they appear to be overtly political. It should always be remembered that they are primarily art.

-1-:
I'm reading this thread. Many people don't realise that for about the first decade of his successful musical career, John Lennon got rid of 95 percent of his yearly gross income, before taxes. He wrote about it in a song, too.


Yes. It was forcibly removed by the British Government ("Don't ask me what you want it for/ah ah Mr Wilson/If you don't want to pay some more/ah ah Mr Heath."), In that example, I guess the words can be taken pretty literally as a comment on late 60s/early 70s British taxation policy. (A quote from a finance minister of the time: "we're going to squeeze the rich until the pips squeek.")

As I understand it, the broad principle of the right-wing view on tax versus charity is that it's best for rich people to pay lower taxes and for there to be a culture of charitable donation. Voluntary giving being better than the involuntary kind that the Beatles were moaning about.

In Toronto a couple made love from beginning to end in front of an entire baseball stadium of people. During a Blue Jay's game. They have built a hotel with windows that open to the field, and the couple performed there. Nobody was watching the game! No charges were laid, because there was no crime committed, apparently; they were in their private space or something.


Great stuff. The Beatles wrote a song called "Blue Jay Way". I wonder if it was written about that incident (and then possibly sent back in time).

-- Updated Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:08 pm to add the following --

I mean forward in time.

-- Updated Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:13 pm to add the following --

Actually, I just looked it up and Dennis Healey apparently didn't say "squeeze the rich until the pips squeak". He said: "squeeze property speculators until the pips squeak". A much more understandable sentiment. Sorry for misrepresenting your words Dennis.

Sorry to any readers who don't know what I'm on about here.
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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#8  Postby -1- » August 7th, 2017, 11:44 am

Steve3007 wrote:
Sorry to any readers who don't know what I'm on about here.


Sorry to all the readers who were not there to live in the sixties.

If the roaring twenties created a playground of the world for the nouveau riche, then in the sixties it was the turn of the common person to jump into life with both feet first.

Since the Beatles broke up, the world has been coming to a very, very slowly developing halt. The joy, the air, the flowers and all the colours, sights, tastes and scents of the century have begun to lose their lustre and sheen. We live more comfortably, with less crime, with greater security and better systems solutions; but the life force is leaving us, we are becoming stone-faced and stone-hearted, and our existence is turning into a comfortably sitting, full-bellied, morally stable, stone figure.

The petrification of society, the restrictive political correctness, the forced equalization that replaced the dynamic diversity of humour and flamboyance of our times is choking us, as it intertwines us with its huge and slowly developing vines, pinning us down into an immobile, dull, spiritually sterilized and intellectually deafened state.

----

Or else it's just that I'm getting awfully old.
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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#9  Postby Steve3007 » August 7th, 2017, 2:32 pm

-1-:
Sorry to all the readers who were not there to live in the sixties. If the roaring twenties created a playground of the world for the nouveau riche, then in the sixties it was the turn of the common person to jump into life with both feet first.


Maybe. Although I was born in the sixties and my parents have commented in the past, with reference to the old cliche that "if you can remember the sixties then you weren't there" that they were there and, sadly, can remember them. No turning on, tuning in and dropping out. Just screaming kids.

Since the Beatles broke up, the world has been coming to a very, very slowly developing halt.


If the line by the poet Phillip Larkin is true...

"Sexual intercourse began,
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles' first LP."

...and if what you say is true, then sadly the world had a very brief flowering time.

The petrification of society


That's an interesting image (which you introduced in the preceding passage). But I guess, really, perhaps, it's a re-run of the "bread and circuses" and the decline of the Roman Empire.

the forced equalization


Isn't that equalization a regrettable but unavoidable irony? It's like the equalization of cultures created by the fact that most of us have greater access to international travel than our forbears. In the olden days, before there was a McDonalds in every town and city in the world, perhaps the world was more vibrant and diverse but almost all of us would have been unaware of it. The ability to experience the world's diversity is what destroys that diversity.
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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#10  Postby -1- » August 7th, 2017, 3:02 pm

Steve0007, you did not allude to or touch on the stated possibility that it's only me who is getting stale and staid.

I thank you for that.
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Re: Imagine

Post Number:#11  Postby Albert Tatlock » Yesterday, 5:22 am

Steve3007 wrote: the line "imagine no possessions" is easy to pour scorn on, given Lennon's considerable material wealth.

That might depend on exactly what he meant by that line. I have no idea what he actually did mean but I do know from my own experience that possessions can weigh you down and become a real burden and I can well see how divesting yourself of them could be a very positive and liberating exercise. Maybe John was happier when he was poor and is lamenting his subsequent good fortune, who knows?
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