The other day here, someone brought up “Imagine” under if everything we think we know is wrong, then…
Imagine is one of the songs which gets me talking to the supermarket loudspeakers, and not in a good way. If I’m alone in a section I might go so far as to give the speakers the double middle finger. (The others are mostly Phil Collins.)
The problem with Imagine is not that it’s lousy, kitchy, superficial art (it is) or that I tend to like songs that have a bubbly meaning on top and more layered meanings underneath (“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell. I know, right now you can’t tell, but stick around and soon enough you’ll see another part of me.”) I also like plenty of songs that are objectively tempests of sound and percussion signifying nothing.
No. What really gets me going about Imagine is that its pretty, shiny bobbles of concepts are infantile, wrong AND pernicious. And also that it is largely the same concepts I was raised with (not by my parents, but my brother, his friends, the schools, the popular entertainment, etc.)
Take for instance that “Imagine there’s no religion…. Nothing to live or die for, a brotherhood of man.”
Where to start?
Imagine there is no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
He is of course, fluffy and confused, and then the next verse is about nations and we have:
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
That sort of refers to nations, but bringing religion in, gets us the idea people kill for religion.
Most people start on the Evangelical Christians get boiled out of shape by that verse – which was probably Lennon’s intent – but let’s, do, examine why eliminating religion is such a good thing “Nothing to kill or die for”. Uh…. Really?
Yeah, okay, we had “Wars of religion” that lasted for centuries. But to be fair, most of the wars of religion only got that way because the cause was co-opted by various princes, kings and countries. And I’m not even going to go into the Crusades as war of retaliation, or the West learning that the only way to stop a religion that promotes itself by cutting off heads is to have a religion that cuts off heads, which made the reformation a kettle of fun as the state seized control of the whole thing as a means to enrich itself.
Let’s go instead into the post-religious world. Whether they dressed it in religious shibboleths or not, WWI was not religious. WWII was not religious. The cold war’s “little” flareups, the millions of people who died in the camps, etc, none of it was in the name of G-d, but in the name of the state.
So for someone in the seventies (?) to be crooning about the brotherhood of man that would ensue once no one had religion is not just appallingly shallow, bordering on stupid, it’s also a crazy denial of facts that were already in evidence.
Turns out, humans being tribal, what ensues if you remove religion is not a brotherhood of man, but tribalism for other reasons. And once the higher objectives of religion and the idea that we’re all created by the same G-d and therefore brothers and sisters are removed, what ensues is not a great family, but – as in those countries for whom atheism was a state religion –humans as utilitarian work machines, humans as fertilizer, and humans as food (during the engineered famines. Look up Holodomor. It dare you.)
So, you say, no nations.
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
We’ll leave aside the fact that it can or cannot be achieved. It’s not something that has been achieved in… ever. Yes, I know some fluffy libertarians think that the nomadic tribes that roamed around without established location were “equalitarian” and had no kings and no concept of nation. This only ignores the evidence of all grave goods and the experience of anyone who’s lived in a large family.
Never mind. Let’s establish that there were no Nation States. Is this by any chance a sign there was peace? Well, no. See again under “humans are tribal.” The graves we discover from that time do not speak of peace. No matter what you heard about the nomadic past of the US, the Amerindians weren’t children of nature, living in peace. In fact, anyone who has raised kids knows better. Humans not only are tribal. Humans have a will to power, a will to either be admired or admire, to either control or be controlled. Humans seek it. We’re Odds and goats and a little different, but still. You can’t even say that in their vision humans would have to be sheep, because sheep fight intruders, too.
That impulse can be controlled but not eliminated.
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
Do I have to dissect this piece of crap? It’s not even wishful thinking, it’s irrational babbling. You’d think a grown man, no matter how many interesting substances he was snorting, injecting and smoking, would have realized possessions are not the only thing people strive for. For a lot of people, power over others seems to be the driving motive.
But let’s leave that aside. HOW do you enforce the “no possessions?” Humans like things, and humans will take and hold things they like – pretty baubles, interesting stones. Humans will make things too and those they are even more attached to. “You didn’t build that” is the cry of someone who has never built anything and is jealous. Oh, yeah, jealousy. Another thing that precludes “universal peace.”
To have your state with no possessions you need to have someone making sure no one else has possessions, and that person, of course, will have possessions, because human (and we’ve seen this pattern over and over in human history.)
But beyond that, who is going to enforce “no possessions” if there are no nations.
Don’t answer. I know the nightmare answer to this. I once read a document from the Weather Underground on how they’d organize the US after taking over. It was all “soviets.” You’d belong to a soviet for each of your characteristics. Take me, for instance, I’d be in a soviet as wife, one as mother, one as Latin, one as woman, one as writer, one as…
These soviets would have representation, but not the individuals, who were supposed to help the soviet come to positions through “struggle sessions.” Those of you who have read about the Cultural Revolution are shuddering right now, and if you haven’t, do. I suggest the first hand accounts of people who escaped it.
So, none of these concepts or their children-concepts (“No patriarchy” and “PIV is rape” and a million other insane ideas that proceed from believing that religion – something that has been with man since we didn’t quite have language – is just a plot of “priests” and can easily be discarded; that nations and nation states can be abolished without just as pernicious entities appearing in their stead; that possessions are things you can just say you’re done with, and also that these three things are the only cause of violence) are so stupid that a blind child can see their asinine idiocy.
BUT and here’s the important thing, they were embraced and promulgated by the intelligentsia: those controlling your entertainment, your communications, your education. (We won’t point out their semblance to soviet propaganda probably caused that.)
It is assumed in most things that these three principles and everything that comes from them is “right” and that we deviate from them at the risk of “sin” (Not sin, sin, since we’re not supposed to believe in religion, but a secular sin that leads everyone to point and call us stupid.)
These ideas amount to a wholesale discarding of western civilization and of everything that’s been believed and written about how to integrate human nature with civilization without destroying either.
And we are up to three generations raised since these became not just fringe (they have been there since there’s been humans writing, and yep, mostly they’ve been fringe) but the core and center of our education in civics.
We’re now up to the grandchildren of Imagine, people so far gone that the precepts of their grandfathers are these nonsense assumptions; assumptions not only unproven, but proven wrong and impossible at least in this world we live in.
John C. Wright wrote a brilliant (natch) essay on the uglification of art. He approaches it from a … ah… theocentric perspective. (One of the reasons I admire John is that he doesn’t shy away from explaining how his belief works, even when this belief is obviously based on religion. He won’t be shamed by Imagine.) I’m a little different. While I am, as I’ve said, a woman of belief, the way I was raised requires I explain my beliefs and ground them without resort to my faith.
So, here’s my explanation for the uglyfication of all artistic pursuit. These are the children of Imagine. I’m not going to say that the SONG is to blame, understand (I must explain this for the wandering SJWs who read this) but rather the philosophy behind the song, a kitchy, irrational faith prevalent in progressive circles.
The belief in that nonsense and in the nonsense that derives from it makes people’s lives NATURALLY meaningless and horrible.
Look, if you’re going around believing you must eradicate possessions and religion and nations ALL the time, when these things are patently impossible, you’re going to be miserable. If you attribute every setback you suffer to “the patriarchy” or “the oligarchy” or whatever you’re blaming it on these days; if you attribute your dissatisfaction and hunger to the fact other people have more – that is the recipe for ending up in a private hell of envy and resentment.
And this explains the tone, the purges, the sheer anger you encounter in progressive cycles. They can’t enjoy their lives or build anything until oh, possessions are eliminated, and there’s “a brotherhood of man” and every step taken towards that seems to have the opposite result.
Take, for instance “I’ll try everything once.” Or “I will not obey my husband” both precepts promulgated by this sort of hatred for the past of Western civilization. If you live by them, you’re going to end up broken and miserable. (Translation for the SJWs who read this blog: No, dears, I don’t mean that you should always obey your husband. He’s human too. (Well, yours. Mine is a living god. Yes, I AM joking.) I mean that sometimes there are reasons to take his opinion over those of your best friend, your hairdresser or the cashier at the grocery store. More reason probably. After all, you married him. But the women liberated across to your “prescription” refuse to take the opinion or advice of any man, because patriarchy. Which is why they end up miserable.)
Most of the SJWs I know are miserable. At best they hold on to the trappings of “normalcy” by pretending REALLY hard. But they feel either guilty or failures or ineffective, because they’re not living up to their ideals.
Hence their stories, where everyone is miserable, and all of life is pointless, and their works of “art” where every shred of beauty must be eliminated.
They think they’re holding up a mirror to the world and showing that everyone is really, really broken and those evil people who pretend to be happy are really the worst (this is why “hypocrite” is the worst insult in the SJW vocabulary.)
They don’t realize in the end they are just holding the mirror to their own lives, and that those of us who are, in fact, happy and fulfilled, and who are in fact in the majority, just ignore them more and more, until their screams of rage occur only in their own little echo chamber.
Now, is that work complete? Not yet. They still have the education, and other bully pulpits and they’re still twisting the young into non-functionality.
Which is why we have a lot of work to do. Three generations of stupid pap are enough.
Teach your children well. Read, write. Enjoy. Rebuild the foundations of society that they’ve been chipping at for generations.
Living well and living on are the best revenge.