John Lennon’s IMAGINE

 

The song IMAGINE, by John Lennon, came over the car radio the other day and I allowed myself to be immersed in the words.  This is such an amazing song that depicts an imaginary world full of harmony and peace.  As I sat there listening to these words, I wondered why is our world so distant from this idealistic scenario.  Why are so many countries in the world immersed in continual conflict?  Why is there severe human hunger and desperation in so many parts of the world?  Why and how do individuals gain so much power so that they are able, at will, to restrict the rights and ruin the lives of millions of men, women and children?  We watch it on the news daily as people around the world die or suffer in so many ways.  Our own national news is dedicated to reporting in detail every horrible thing that happens in our country and world.  Sometimes I feel as if we are hardened to the terrible things we see over and over, courtesy of the media.

It is my opinion that IMAGINE is one of the best songs ever written to address the idea of a potential peaceful world.  People have listened to this song for many years and still enjoy it when it comes across the radio.  So, why is the world a mess?  What is it about the humans that keeps us from becoming a peaceful race of people?  Believe it or not, I have a theory.

Behavioral scientists have theorized about a human genocide gene for several decades.  Maybe this is an explanation of why the Chinese hate the Japanese, or the whites hate the blacks, or the Germans hate the Jews.  I could go on and on and on.  It’s hard to dispute this idea when one studies our history and the reoccurring theme of genocide in our world.  An impartial observer of earth would have no choice but to think that this behavior is indicative of our species.  If you believe this hypothetical gene is a real factor in human behavior, then it is easy to extrapolate this idea to the pervasive violent and self-destructive behavior that runs rampant through our world.

Ever since the first human attacked another human which is depicted in the biblical story of Cain and Abel, or more recently in the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey, we humans have been a rather self-destructive lot.  We are unable to follow a short set of rules, the commandments, or any guidelines to help us get along with each other.  War seems to be our way of culling the herd.  It seems that whenever the population gets too large we either go to war or some kind of plague takes down a large percentage of the population.

If we can imagine a world of peace, what lies in our way to prevent this from happening?  Worth repeating, what is it about human behavior that keeps us from living in peace?

 

Imagine
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
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
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…
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The money illusion

I think it is time for people to realize just what money is, and why it
is foolish to spend your life trying to get as much as you can.  Now,
don’t misunderstand me, we do need money and the more money we have, the
more money we can spend which occasionally leads to more fun and
happiness. The problem is the system is designed to make you feel as if you have
more than you actually have.  Let’s look at a house for example; way back
in 1960, my parents bought a medium size rancher in Maryland.  They paid
the ridiculously low amount of $19,999 for it.  At the time that
was a lot of money when salaries were generally under $10,000 per year or
hourly wages were in the $1 to $3 range.  Milk was 19 cents a guart and
gas was 20 cents a gallon.  Cars were a couple of thousand dollars!
Candy was a penny to 5 cents and a loaf of bread was under a
dime!  So, back to my point, after buying this new home they had to
furnish it, maintain it, pay the mortgage, which included interest and
taxes, plus deal with inflation, which over the last 50 or so years has
been around 2.5-3.5 percent! Do you realize that the current dollar is
worth a little more than a penny in 1950 dollars?!  It does not take an
Einstein to determine that the cost of a house is a lot higher than what
you first think. After living in the house for almost 50 years my
parents passed away and the house was sold for the incredible amount of
somewhere around $300,000! That seems like a large sum of money but the
numbers behind it are insane.  First, the interest alone on a 30 year
loan is generally doubles the cost of the loan which means the cost of
the home is really about $40,000.  Second. as the value of the home
inflates, the taxes go up and in 50 years that adds up to a lot of
money!  Let me make up a number of $1000/year on average for the taxes
over 50 years, which is probably very low. That comes to $50,000 in taxes for the
life of the house. Not to mention, the $300,000 return is in current
dollars which are inflated almost 100 times! Now think about
maintenance; the roof was probably replaced twice, the flooring was
constantly being upgraded, occasional painting interior and exterior,
appliances replaced, furnace replacement, heating,
cooling and lighting the place, insurance and general maintenance on the
multitude of different systems in a house. Do you see my point?  The
house is a great thing for many reasons but it is not a terribly great
way to invest your money. In fact, there is no great way to invest you
money, that’s right, none!  Yes, sometimes people buy something and due
to circumstances, that thing, be it a house or a bar of gold, the price
skyrockets, thus the individual makes a substantial gain in their worth,
but this is the exception, not the rule.
The bottom line is the system is rigged and beyond occasional blind
luck, your money will not grow in real dollars over time. There are some
individuals who save large amounts of money over their careers and sit
on that money.  This money is being eroded on a daily basis
by finance fees and  inflation.  In reality your money is just holding its own in
real value, if you’re lucky. I always laugh when people say that they are getting 2
or 3 percent on their savings. Really?? That is the general level of
inflation, which means that you are breaking even, not growing your
wealth. The real problem arises when people retire.  Many retired people
are on a fixed income, which means their income will not match inflation.
That means, don’t plan to live too many years after
you retire or inflation will get you before the many diseases of old age have
their way with you! With all that information in your heard, I guess there is one final
piece of advice I think I can give you, enjoy your life and remember that the real things in
life are not sold in Wal-Mart but are in your heart and the people around you.