Imagine: Story of a Legendary Song Written by John Lennon

Categories: John Lennon

Out of all the greatest hits written and sung by Lennon, Imagine has been the most influential song that reached across the world through its tremendous political and social impact that it had on our culture. Jimmy Carter even mentioned in one of his interviews: “ many countries around the world - my wife and I have visited about 125 countries - you hear John Lennon’s song Imagine used almost equally with national anthems”. Through the simple words in the lyrics, Lennon was able to shine a sunlight of hope and vision upon the darkness and violence of the world we live in.

He urges us to imagine the unimaginable. Lennon is clearly a dreamer as he states his imagination of his dream Utopia: a place where people have no possessions, no greed, but only a brotherhood of man and just a world of people living in peace. The song suggest an economic order, one in which it would be impossible to encounter greed and hunger.

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And he dreams of a religion-free world of no heaven or hell, which would practically be on the same level of atheism, one that Nietzsche would agree with. Nietzsche is one philosopher who would easily imagine a non-religious world Lennon dreams of. The death of God that Nietzsche states suggests how religion was portrayed to mankind as a shield to protect itself from its existence. He simply dreams of the life we could only imagine, where there is nothing to kill or to die for, just peace.

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Thomas Hobbes would agree with Lennon about the desire of peace and equality. Chapter 13 of the Leviathan, Hobbes talks about the human condition and the state of nature. He states how we are all equal and that there is no human above us all. Being more on the scientific side, he believes we are all atoms! According to him, everyone is free and equal. Peace is desirable. Hobbes is all for survival, peace, non violence and no deaths.

It’s possible to assume that Lennon wanted a world of communism, similar to the one Karl Marx suggested. Lennon would deny himself as a libertarian, and rather be considered as a communist, as he hints in the following quote:

“The song ‘Imagine,’ which says, Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics is virtually the communist manifesto, even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement. You see, ‘Imagine’ was exactly the same message, but sugar-coated. Now ‘Imagine’ is a big hit almost everywhere; anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic song, but because it is sugar-coated it is accepted. Now I understand what you have to do.” ~ John Lennon

After observing the injustice the poor working class had received, Marx developed his ideal Utopia: a place where individuals are free from capitalism. He shared his writings of a non-oppressed society that was fit for everyone, no matter the class. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx writes that the goal of the communist party in order to create a society based on equality, is to put an end in exploiting the working class. Communism being a mode of production, is more of a political view rather than a lifestyle choice. Therefore, the mode of production is initially a political decision defined by the society, therefore not a way individuals live the mode of production. Wouldn’t it just be great if we could live in a communist world without the greediness and selfishness of people?

This is the point Lennon makes when he ask us to “imagine no possessions,” one of the toughest things we can imagine. There would be no need for possessions and private property if we all share the worlds treasures together. This would only bring equality and no greediness in all people in the world.

When it comes to the end goal for humanity, Lennon and according to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, both agree on similar points that the end goal is achieved through happiness. Both are considering the best life for humanity. For Lennon, the best life is to live in peace, and with peace comes happiness. We act the way do to attain something good, not because we think it will be bad for us. Our higher end is the activity we do, which is the highest good, and eventually that good is happiness.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Imagine: Story of a Legendary Song Written by John Lennon. (2024, Feb 06). Retrieved from

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