Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Imagine If

Compare and contrast.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

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

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

I’m sure that the comparison has been made many times before, but if a thing’s good, then why not keep on doing it?

Britain’s favourite song and Britain’s favourite poem are perfect exemplars of the mindsets of liberals compared to conservatives. And also of the moral divide between the liberal elite and the rest of us lowly unenlightened.

I’m sure that you can see what there is to see and what it means, but the taxpayers once forked out considerable sums to teach me to draw useful lessons out of literature, so it’s time for a little pay-back and a chance for me to show off my rusty critical skills.

Compare the will to (fiat) power (let there be light) title of the song to the conditionality of the poem and all its parts. Cause and consequences begin with ‘c.’

Notice also the song’s intention to remake the world – somehow – but the poem’s message that it is people and their virtues, actions and attitudes that make the world.

The song’s all about the lyricist and his feelings but the poem is about helping someone else shift for themselves.

Lennon wished the world was other than it is and deemed it to be wrong by mere assertion, but Kipling chose to enable folk to better fit into it and hence to gain from it by being as good as they can.

Imagine is about hoping for change outside oneself, but If is about holding onto one’s own qualities and strengths.

One work mentions 25 virtues and capacities each of which is carefully set in context, but the other refers to one capacity alone.

I could go on, but that’s what the comments facility is for. Feel free to put the boot in.

But really, which mind-set would you have running a hospital possessed of finite resources and in which your nearest and dearest were being treated?
Who would you have piloting your plane?

Who would you have guarding your homeland and property?

And if it’s difficult on this day to know what to do for the best by family and country - and for folk like me it surely is difficult -then I find Kipling’s great words of great comfort.

Who says the arts can’t inform; both for all time and also for the real and very specific present?


Tory Poppins said...

Oh my God NNW . . .I'm been blown away by your last two posts!
For some reason they really resonate with me in a way that I haven't experienced before in the blogosphere! Thank you!

Adrian Reynolds said...

In similar vein, Ayn Rand, in her essay 'Requiem For Man', spoke of the 'lightbulb of intelligence' in the developed adult.

“It is the steady, confident reflection of that light that you look for in the faces of adults—particularly of those to whom you entrust your most precious values. You look for it in the eyes of a surgeon performing an operation on the body of a loved one; you look for it in the face of a pilot at the controls of the plane in which you are flying; and, if you are consistent, you look for it in the person of the man or woman you marry."

James Higham said...

We're f---ed.

JuliaM said...

God, I didn't know the ghastly 'Imagine' had been voted Britain's favourite sng...

CherryPie said...

Well of course I can see the messages in both but as you say Kipling gives you the hope to carry on.

Pat said...

Well Mr. Lennon sure could dream- but I'm not at all confident the dreams weren't the master.


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