John Lennon remains an icon, even among people too young to have
ever seen him. He stands for peace and of course for the Beatles.
I remember the day he was shot.
From what I know, Lennon (post-Beatles) settled down to a fairly private
life in New York City. The last cause he actively supported was
world peace. I remember his famously saying that "The Beatles don't
need [support]...world peace does."
Lennon was definitely an idealist - and I agree with some key ideas of
his. His stand against materialism in "Imagine":
Imagine no possessions....I wonder if you can
resonates with me. I think we, as a culture, put far too much emphasis
on having "nice" things and keeping them "nice". (Who really cares if a
wooden table has a mark on it? It's still functional.) Many people define
themselves by their possessions - which I think is very silly. However, you
can see possessions - and most people, regardless of how shallow it is,
continue to judge others by appearance. Having no possessions - or at least
no "defining" ones - would definitely solve the problem of judgement by appearance.
So I think John had that issue exactly right.
A disagreement I have with John, however, concerns General Mao. I have
to say that, even though I'm a free-marketeer, I'm also very sympathetic towards
Maoism. In certain contexts, Maoism makes a lot of sense, which is why it continues
to surface all over the world. I'm not saying that we should abandon the free market
and follow Maoism. I do, however, believe Maoism is much better than the feudal system
it replaced in China. Moreover, I believe it could be a vast improvement over many
When Lennon says, in the song "Revolution",
But if you go carrying posters of General Mao
You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow
I can't help but believe John's being derogatory and that Mao doesn't deserve it.
Furthermore, what's this "make it with anyone" business, anyway? I hope we have
a better metric for what's sensible than who "makes it with" whom.
So, in the end, I'll say this: John Lennon was a great mind. I think he was right in
finding fault with our materialism over here. On the other hand, I think he was wrong in
finding fault with General (later, of course, Chairman) Mao over there.
I'll be doing a post specifically on Chairman Mao soon.
Wikipedia was a source
for this article.