December 8, 2011…today marks the 31st death anniversary of pacifist, political activist, and iconic musician that the world came to know as one of the founding members of The Beatles, John Lennon.
Strolling Down Memory Lane: The Beatles & “John Lemon”
Photo courtesy of johnlennon.com
My parents were actually the ones that idolized The Beatles; they just ‘infected’ me with their undying fandom for the band’s music. Birthday celebrations at home—at least for the grownups—would never be complete without karaoke sessions dominated by The Beatles, followed closely by Bee Gees, The Rolling Stones, and Michael Learns to Rock. I was but a wee girl when I memorized my first Beatles song. It was “Let it Be,” an earworm that never left my head for days after mother ceaselessly sang it on her (and her twin sister’s) birthday party.
If memory serves, it was on my final days of being a kindergartener that my mother introduced me to John Lennon (the only tidbit I’m 100 percent sure of is that I used to call him John Lemon). My mother sang for intermission at our Mr. and Ms. United Nations Day—she’s a frequent guest in our community’s day care center programs—and she chose to perform “Imagine.” I asked what the song meant when we got home. In her simplest Tagalog terms, she explained to me how Lennon is asking us to imagine a world where the things deterring the world from being completely united do not exist: government, possessions, religion, etc. She said Lennon figured the world would be a much better place if that happened. The child that was me promised, “I’m going to dream the dream he dreamed.” :)
You can see the lyrics of the song here.
Will the World Live as One?
As I grew older, I also grew more cynical. It was a gradual epiphany: the fulfillment of these dreams seem to lengthen their distance from being fully-realized as I see more evidences of its impossibility.
I have encountered lots of accounts (fictional or otherwise) dealing with total pacifism, and no matter how much I want to subscribe fully in their wide spectrum of tenets, I just can’t. Even if you throw in bits of communistic beliefs like in the song in question, that would do no use to promote the philosophy. Things called “individuality” and “human nature” exist and they will forever stand in the way of the said “dreams.”
Imagining them…well, that’s the best we can do. If we’re going to turn them into a reality, we have to reboot human history. There are people who would never be swayed by words (no matter how poetic or beautiful these might be); there are people who would rather pull the trigger than linger in a utopia crafted in everyone’s land-of-what-ifs. I’m still young, but I’m not innocent to this fact.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon in 1969;
photo courtesy of johnlennon.com
photo courtesy of johnlennon.com
Then again, John Lennon is just asking us to imagine—he doesn’t pretend to ask us to do anything else. “It’s easy if you try,” he urged. Seeing his world in our mind’s eye will indeed plant seeds of hope in the sunniest spot in our hearts...it’s just sad how the real world will probably crush the first bud once it sprouts out the earth. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to wander around an escapist plane every once in a while.
John Lennon: Gone but Never Forgotten
Be that as it may, I still believe that John Lennon is one of the best inspirational icons that ever walked the world. I’m not even a quickening in my mother’s womb when he was killed, but his influences rippled through my generation and touched us with music and inspiration. :) For that, I’m more than glad.
He’s the one who said that love and peace together is not a cliché. He’s the one who didn’t take being called an “egomaniac” an insult, especially if it means believing in what he’s doing and in the art of his music. And he’s that kid who knew what the key to life is….
When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.
You continue to live, John Lennon. :) You’re gone, but never forgotten.