Lennon Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today
Ah

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
Livin’ life in peace
You

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

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

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

This song works, if one does not take it literally.

It is about the imagination, and assumes that religion, nation and possessions as illusory are the cause of war. As such, it is VERY interesting.

Lennon is thought “communist” for this. Communism, of course, appears in the New Testament, among the missionaries, and in the very small city of Plato’s Republic, and then among about 10% of the city, the guardian class. It works among those who literally do not care about bodily goods, and need not even feed a family. Marxist communism, though is different. It begins in atheism, assumes materialism, then calls for violent revolution on the basis of the envy of the many for the rich, who are always few. The aim is tied up with an imaginary utopia that is not well thought though, and with universal dominion, or the aim at world government, as is the fascist on the right extreme. But the rich need laborers, and the poor need jobs.

But what if the problem is rather tyranny, and the defense of liberty? We keep our particular nation because liberty is rare and fragile and necessary to human life, as one would otherwise be governed essentially by another- rather than only accidentally, by such annoyance as the tax.

In Book II of Plato’s Republic, Socrates identifies the luxurious desires, as evident in Glaucon, with the cause of war. The desire for goods leads one city to chop off a piece of the property of its neighbor. Glaucon, and the human spiritedness in general- cannot be contented with the city called the city of pigs.

For practical purposes, we refer to Aristotle: What is held in common gets less care. Plus property is an instrument of action. When I go to get into my car, say, to save a suicidal friend, and my communistical buddies are out joy riding…. Hence, we recognize private property. There is no substitute for the prudence of each- it is the best we can do.

There is some connection of this in the Republic to the fall of man, and reason we do not remain in the innocence of childhood- for which we still struggle to give a reason! The soul of man is called to ascend. Hence, as Leo Strauss writes, humanism is not enough. Man is the creature that seeks to transcend his humanity, in the direction of the divine. But this possibility allows for the possibility of descent into the bestial- in the odd sense in which, in “this world, good and evil appear balanced. So it is, for example, that the sexual revolution also increased pedophilia, if it allowed the recognition and even the cure of its damages in some cases. Still, when the soul does find that in which it is content, the desires return to limits of the genuine animal nature, rather than the unlimited condition of human lusts- when eros that ought be above is trapped below.

But most interesting is the assumption about religion and the imagination of heaven and Hell. I will be updating this blog, too, as I am still the Newton blog a few pages back.

Lennon is of course thinking of how adherence to one’s own, or our love of our own in preference to what is foreign, and from this, our own doctrines, flags and interests. Famously wars are fought over religions, so much so that this is the first thing that might appear about the religious customs. Once one raises the question of the images of heaven and hell, even realizing that the Old Testament does not settle the question. Some thinkers too, as Newton, suggest a Christian mortalism, upon realizing that the visible images refer to true thing about the soul, such as the ascent in Plato’s Republic. But then it is suggested that the soul, in turn is the gateway of genuine metaphysics, and inductively, evidence of its higher analogue, baptism suggesting the truth of the immortality of the soul.

As we forgive, we are forgiven. The soul just works that way, for a brief time or forever. But there are things that are and things that are not our business. Socrates distinguishes divine from human wisdom, and famously denies he has either. Socrates and Jefferson fit well together. What men owe to the creator, we cannot give to human rule, and what are obligations to God can be rights regarding other men.

We like where Strauss says on the supposed impiety of Socrates, “One would think he would be excused by the difficulty of the subject matter!” It is indeed amusing that men once held one another obligated to act as if such things were simply known- the physics of transubstantiation and such. As it is amusing to hear what God plans and wants. The image of the immortality of the soul is so profound a mystery that to commit injustice over it was surely to miss the true sacrifice called for the prophets.

So, when I used to tweet John’s #9 dream, I’d swear I was channeling him, even for Yoko, on his birthday, like to let her know his love for her is eternal, and he doesn’t mind if he was wrong about the imagination of heaven. “Across the Universe,” too.

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