Thinking About Tomorrow

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Imagine: John Lennon would have been 65 today

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...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
sharing all the world...

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.
- Written by John Lennon, 1970

The lyrics of Imagine by John Lennon have come to represent much of what he stood for as a person. Two things jump out at me from the wonderfully simple and powerful lyrics:

1. Imagine there's no countries: This would certainly make it clear that Africa's problems are as much ours as theirs. It would also mean that things like the Kyoto Protocol (and beyond) could be enacted without a superstate like the USA undermining it. But of course globalization of nation-states and democracy would be a massive transformation of society on Earth. George Monbiot has done an excellent job of arguing the case in his recent book entitled "The Age of Consent".

2. Imagine all the people sharing all the world: Not just with each other, but with all life on Earth. I wonder if you can.

A decade after the Imagine album was released, John Lennon was assassinated. I wonder what he would have done in the last quarter of a century, had he had the chance to live under the sky with the rest of us... Probably not as much as some might have hoped from these early lyrics.


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