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?
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
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
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
I wonder if you can