“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…” (John Lennon)
In October 1971, John Lennon released the song, “Imagine,” as he launched into his solo career. The magazine, Rolling Stone, described “Imagine” as Lennon’s “greatest musical gift to the world” – and ranked “Imagine” number three on its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
Though shrouded in the prevailing thoughts of protesting the Vietnam war – it is the overriding theme of “Imagine” that catches our attention.
“Imagine” is Lennon’s vision of a Utopian society. No war. No greed. No hunger. Everyone living and working together as one – sharing everything together. It struck a chord (no pun intended!) with a whole generation of young people – and still “connects” with people to this day.
The reason for this, is that all human beings seem to have this common notion of how society should be. We want more than to “imagine” a world in peace and harmony – we yearn to have that kind of world. (Sure, we have differing views on how that should be accomplished — but the end result is the same longing for worldwide peace…)
But where does this “Utopian” idea come from? In a world that is clearly marred (often defined) by constant selfishness, greed, oppression and conflict – why do we all seem to fervently desire a society where all the things that we fail to be, become a reality?
Or to put it another way… why do we look at the cruelty, malevolence, and horrors of this world and realize that there is something terribly wrong about those things? If this is all we have ever known, what would cause us to long for something greater and better? Why do we refuse to accept that things are just the way they are – and there is precious little that can be done about it?
In the chorus of “Imagine,” Lennon speaks of “dreamers.” People who look at things and long for the “more and better” – who seek for perfection, for all of humanity. But where does the essence of this dream come from? Why does it, so vividly, haunt us? Why does it beckon us to bring these elusive “dreams” to reality?
Those who do not hold to faith in God, will tell us that everything we are is because of natural selection and natural causes. We are just the sum of what we have been naturally conditioned to be. We are all the products of a “survival of the fittest” reality.
But this makes no sense. If all we have ever known is “getting ours,” and surviving in the midst of conflict and struggle with other human beings – such “dreams” of Utopian society shouldn’t even be there. They should have been programmed right out of us.
Is it possible that these “Utopian dreams” are hard-wired into our very being? That in spite of all the natural conditioning from the constant ills of society, we just keep on “imagining” the what if — and longing for it to… be.
To me, this is another clue – an affirmation of the fact that there is Someone, beyond us, who has put something within us that calls us to that perfect world we seek… and yearn for… and dream about… and dare to imagine…