John Lennon’s Imagine – Deconstructing the Lyrics

By April 26, 2018Culture

Alright let me preface by saying that John Lennon is an icon and an amazing singer and songwriter. Just like all classic rock and music, John Lennon was one of the cutting edge artists of his time. His hit song Imagine is one of my personal favorites by how it sounds – HOWEVER – I’ve recently thought of the actual lyrics.

Given my political and economic understanding of the world, Imagine is idealistic and unrealistic. Line by line, I’ll go through the entire song and explain why Imagine is, in fact, a load of crap.


Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try

Fair enough. This is fairly easy to imagine if you’re religious or not.

No hell below us
Above us only sky

So far so good. It’s poetic and nice. I’m with you.

Imagine all the people living for today

Eh… that’s a bit of a stretch. There are other motives out there that cause people to live the way they do. Religion isn’t always one of them but for the sake of the song, I’ll let this one slide.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do

Alright hold up. This is where the song initially begins to break down. Countries are inevitable. There are too many people spread in too many places. Countries are large communities with rules, regulations, law and order. It’s essential for organization. Without countries, everything is a total mess. You need borders and separation the same way you need cabinets and drawers. It doesn’t mean countries can’t communicate or even be at peace with each other. They very well can! But to imagine there are no countries – no thanks.

Nothing to kill or die for

You’d die and kill for family and the things you love. You’d defend your property to the death if you’re serious. This is implying that nothing is yours. Well – we have property. We have land and as long as we have that, there will be others trying to take it. You might as well say “Imagine there are no bad guys.” I mean sure, I guess.

And no religion too

Back on point.

Imagine all the people living life in peace

This is a non-sequitur and doesn’t follow. If you have no countries, you also have no rules or law enforcement. No rules or law enforcement, people turn to savages pretty quickly. Living life in peace? More like living live in chaos. Again, no thanks.

You may say I’m a dreamer

Yeah I’ll bet

But I’m not the only one

Yeah they’re called liberals

I hope some day you’ll join us

I’d rather have a rational discussion about the issues and how to obtain these results instead of just saying “no countries!” because that really won’t solve anything.

And the world will be as one

Yeah – one big pile of chaos

Imagine no possessions

No property huh? So we’re going down that route? No possessions, no stuff, no land. In the words of George Carlin “Coveting creates jobs, leave it alone.” If there are no possessions, there’s no incentive for innovation and the economy becomes pointless and stagnant. Nothing would progress. Ever.

I wonder if you can

Just did. No thanks.

No need for greed or hunger

This will literally NEVER happen because it’s human nature. Everything boils down to survival of the fittest. You want stuff to keep you alive, safe and well. By extension, you’ll want stuff to keep your family and loved ones alive, safe and well. With no countries, no rules, no laws or economy – hunger will beĀ very rampant.

A brotherhood of man

Right with the territorial nature of human beings – that won’t happenĀ especially in a world with no countries, rules, possessions, borders or anything that separates us from animals which, by the way, do NOT live in peace with one another.

Imagine all the people sharing all the world

More like people fighting ruthlessly over the world in a more chaotic fashion than they do now. It’s anarchy to the absolute extreme. This song is a straight up anarchy song.

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

So just wrapping this up – I love John Lennon. His music and talent are unparalleled and will forever, rightfully, be down in history as the legend he is. However, his hit song Imagine leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to reality. This is my personal breakdown of the song. It’s my opinion mixed with a little bit of humor and satire. But now the next time you hear this song – you’ll pay attention to the lyrics a little closer and remember this deconstruction. I’m not the only one.



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