Thursday, September 07, 2006

Imagine ...

John Lennon, in what is considered by many to be "the greatest song every written", said:
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.
All well and good. This is a sentiment that is expressed by lots of people. So a commenter to the post below says on a related theme, for example:
That's only a depressing state of affairs if you somehow get the impression that things should be otherwise. Me, I'm happy with the universe as it is.
The problem is that many people want it both ways. So on - an unofficial site, I suspect - it says:
While all this [the reaction to his death] happened, one could "imagine" Lennon calmly looking down on us, watching the world's reaction, and having a huge celestial laugh.
A trawl through the internet finds other people with similar reactions, apparently missing the irony.

Now, I'm not disputing the huge influence that John Lennon had, both on music and as a cultural icon. But surely the "goodness" of "Imagine" must be linked to what people perceive as its "truthfulness" - the extent to which it reflects the actual nature of the world around us. If somebody believes that it is true, then that person can't claim that John is "looking down" on us - or that he is actually "in heaven" - or that even though he isn't in heaven, then he is in some blissful state (which is actually what John was singing about when he said heaven). If you believe that there is no heaven, you can't introduce it by the back door for sentimental reasons. You have to stick with post-death annihilation. Which also means that nothing you do, or that John did, for that matter, ultimately has any cosmic significance.