John Lennon

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Clemsy
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John Lennon

Post by Clemsy » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:49 pm

Whenever I realize the significance of December 8th, I feel the loss just as fresh as it was 32 years ago. I swear, I still tear up when I go back to that memory. I don't know if I've shared this here at any time, and there doesn't seem to be a John Lennon thread, oddly enough (Unless the search function couldn't find it), so here's a piece I wrote in '05 about my brief encounter with John and the gathering at the Central Park Bandshell in NYC after his death...
John Lennon, in Memory

When I was 19 I had the great good fortune of sharing a tiny two room apartment with three friends on 84th St. and Central Park West. One woman was never there. Steve came home late and left early. Martha was a 25 year old dancer. It was spring.

Life was good.

People say New Yorkers aren't friendly. This is very untrue. New Yorkers are the friendliest people who have to ignore more people in one day than most see in a lifetime. It's true. When I came home that day, folks were sitting outside their brownstones drinking and chatting. I forget how many invited me for a beer before I got to the end of the street. I think it became kind of a game. I was seen getting invited at one building... the next invited me too.

It was the first nice spring day of the year and everyone was glowing.

As was I by the time I got to the corner.

Anyway, I don't remember where I was coming from or where I was going to earlier that afternoon. I was walking south on Columbus Avenue behind the American Museum of Natural History (one of my favortite places on earth) without a care in the world. I was young and Manhattan was mine. I didn't think anything of the person down the street walking towards me, until I realized it wasn't one person, but two strolling slowly snuggled up close enjoying the day.

John and Yoko.

Now one reason Lennon chose New York as his residence is that New Yorkers are hard to impress. No one makes a fuss over a famous neighbor and I wasn't about to impose myself. As we approached each other she smiled, he smiled, I smiled. Nodded our heads and passed.

After a few steps I turned to look back at them just as they turned to look back at me. I walked backwards for a few steps and said, "Thanks."

He waved.

I have never made a big deal of that memory. Yet last night, driving home with my family from my Dad's little 90th birthday party, the thought that the day after next would be the 25 year mark since that awful night hit me and that memory played itself out in my head.

And I realized that I had never, ever stopped to appreciate the fact that I got to thank John Lennon.

Am I fortunate or what?

I've no doubt that the manner of Lennon's death contributed to the huge public participation in the grieving process. I discovered last night that the grief over this loss is still real and fresh. I must admit my eyes are not dry as I am writing this.

I was at the Central Park Bandshell for the memorial and minute of silence that the world shared in real time. We were thousands, shoulder to shoulder with the grief so thick it was palpable. When Imagine poured out of the speakers the emotion went up a few notches. But when Give Peace a Chance came on, with its rhythmic repetition, people literally starting collapsing.

I have one image that holds all the power of the moment: This kid, bedecked in black leather, metal studs, chains and boots, someone you'd reflexively fear on a dark street, walked past me red faced, tear streaked, sobbing uncontrollably.

The minute of silence took us, took us all, beyond grief to a place I couldn't even begin to describe.

And people all over the planet were sharing the same 60 seconds, a unique moment in human history.

A defining moment for what is good in us, what binds us together as a species which literally made Lennon's death a sacrifice.

Yes, he was flawed and never pretended to be otherwise. But the stuff of myth stuck to the Lennon we imagined, the Lennon who brought us up with his powerful music and wrapped us in an identity new and fresh.

I believe Lennon was a hero (lower case) in a very real sense. However, he became a Hero (upper case) in our minds because of what we laid on him.

At the end of his very excellent monologue, Swimming to Cambodia, Spaulding Gray says, "Now I understand what killed Marilyn Monroe."

There is a parallel here.

And a quarter century later, barely a day goes by when someone doesn't pass the Imagine mosaic in Central Park, and leave some kind of memorial.

We're either going to live or we're going to die. If we're dead we're going to have to deal with that, if we're alive we're going to have to deal with being alive. So worrying about whether Wall Street, or the Apocalypse, is going to come in the form of the Great Beast-- is not going to do us any good today... --John Lennon, December 8, 1980

Michael Lambert
December 7, 2005

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Post by Cindy B. » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:03 pm

8)
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by boringguy » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:08 pm

Yes that’s a cool story Clemsy. I always like the idea that in a very real way, when we go we leave a little of ourselves here and we take a little of others with us, through all the paths that we crossed. John Lennon certainly left a lot of himself here. He pushed the envelope just a little, as true artists should, and he exemplified Hope in the best sense of the word. Thanks indeed John Lennon.



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you make the world smile ..... the trick is learning to let the world make you smile
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Post by Cindy B. » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:19 pm

If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by JamesN. » Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:09 pm

Clemsy this is for you my friend:

( I had forgotten how powerful it was! ) It is tough to watch; but that was part of the purpose in delievering it's message! :idea:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN4Uu0OlmTg
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:57 pm

Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by SteveC » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:04 pm

I love John Lennon too, but I have a few disagreements with him.
If we can love one another, then we can include loving God, too. It is a weird exclusion.
Why unimagine heaven or God?

I was driving down the street the other day, and the songs God and Imagine came on over my iPod.
As I sang, I changed the words. It went something like this:

Imagine there is no money, it is easy if you try.
No bills or inflation
No banks and poverty
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no calendar
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no hatred too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, 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

-
Money is a concept, by which we measure our pain..
I'll say it again,
Money is a concept, by which we measure our pain

I don't believe in money
I don't believe in stocks
I don't believe in insurance
I don't believe in interest
I don't believe in annuities
I don't believe in profit
I don't believe in ....

....you get the idea?
You can only see the height of a mountain from its valley.


The radical myth towards which the helix aspires is beyond the desire for money or power, yet which has greater returns than all the power and money in the world could not achieve.
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Post by nandu » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:47 pm

SteveC wrote:I love John Lennon too, but I have a few disagreements with him.
If we can love one another, then we can include loving God, too. It is a weird exclusion.
Why unimagine heaven or God?
Why imagine them in the first place, since there is no evidence of their existence? :wink:

Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
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Post by SteveC » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:21 pm

nandu wrote:
Why imagine them in the first place, since there is no evidence of their existence? :wink:

Nandu.
lol
Is this what Socrates would call the lack of imagination used as proof argument?

Obviously, we choose what we imagine.

John was suggesting to imagine the opposite of whatever you believe. (i.e., if you believe in God, imagine nogod. If nogod, imagine god).

I think (imagine?) there is a fault line between money and god.

Most people believe money is real. I don't.

The 'big choice' is which do we accept as real: money or god?
It follows, that which to be the more real is also the more important.

imo, you cannot get to peace (as John imagined) believing in money and not believing in god. Money will automatically separate you from peace.

That is why 'imagine there is no money' makes for better lyrics.
You can only see the height of a mountain from its valley.


The radical myth towards which the helix aspires is beyond the desire for money or power, yet which has greater returns than all the power and money in the world could not achieve.
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Post by nandu » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:26 pm

SteveC wrote:Is this what Socrates would call the lack of imagination used as proof argument?
Better than imagination used as proof argument. :lol:

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Post by SteveC » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:37 pm

nandu wrote:
SteveC wrote:Is this what Socrates would call the lack of imagination used as proof argument?
Better than imagination used as proof argument. :lol:

Nandu.
lol

All is imagination, though!

Fear is imagination as much as courage.
Pride is imagination (for sure) as much as humility.

Everything takes place between our ears.

Everything can fit, be tested, imagined and chosen.

I choose to believe in god, but I think the bigger issue is people choose to believe in money. Listen to the way economics gets discussed, and it is clear that imagination is used as proof. (Free markets, supply and demand, GNP etc.) All these numbers and claims of causality are ridiculous, imo.

You can imagine 2+2=5, but it does not make it true.

I get Yoko Ono's twitter feed. She is trying to imagine a different future, and carrying on the fight, but the real challenge is always to rearrange the past. If you cannot change your view of the past, then you cannot change your view of the future. (Which are equally imaginary concepts. What is time?)

Redemption is changing your view of yourself, i.e., your past self.
epiphanies are fair-weather friends, too.
You can only see the height of a mountain from its valley.


The radical myth towards which the helix aspires is beyond the desire for money or power, yet which has greater returns than all the power and money in the world could not achieve.
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Post by ALOberhoulser » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:30 am

nandu wrote:
SteveC wrote:Is this what Socrates would call the lack of imagination used as proof argument?
Better than imagination used as proof argument. :lol:

Nandu.
If you had heard the song "Imagine" by JL - say 1000 times in the last ten years alone...maybe 5000 times in your lifetime....It's an embedded cultural meme - Imagine that :wink:
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Post by ALOberhoulser » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:33 am

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Post by ALOberhoulser » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:24 am

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Post by Clemsy » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:06 am

Why unimagine heaven or God?
Because you need neither to live an ethical life. Indeed, IMO, it's a detriment to think one must behave now in order to be rewarded or punished later. That's a story for children... and not a very good one.

Besides, Steve, "god" and "heaven" are profoundly loaded words that divide us more than unite us.

That's Lennon's point.
“We are dying from literalism. People who sail planes into skyscrapers are people who literally believe stories that are metaphors. …We’re all in desperate trouble from people who simply don’t know what a metaphor is.” ~ Honora Foah
Consider all the talk right now about the recent school shooting caused by "kicking god out of schools."

No, Steve, people's various literal/concrete ideas about god have shed as much blood as greed and lust for power.

And still do.
I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong. ~John Lennon
Cheers,
Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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