The Daily Haiku for Mar 13. Imagine.
The boldest ideas,
are the simplest ones.
John Lennon's Imagine was a bold statement. The anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-capitalistic hymn is one of the most instantly recognizable songs of the XX century. It has been covered by innumerable artists, from Lady Gaga to Elton John.
The catchy harmony and dreamy melody of the song are amazing on their own, but it's its revolutionary lyrics that turned it into a pop culture landmark. Lennon asks us to imagine a world without countries, flags, religions, or even possessions.
Those are bold ideas, but most of them are very simple. Imagine a world where there are no countries or religions... Nothing to kill or die for. I can imagine (pun intended) that the ex-Beatle was deemed as a radical activist by a lot of people when the single was released.
I share most of those ideas, like the ones related to religion (you may know by now that I am an atheist) and (especially) the ones about countries and flags. First, because I am against the Monopoly of Violence (as defined by Weber) over the individual. And second, because traveling for so long has taught me that we are all the same. Only, some of us have access to different opportunities depending on the country of our birth. And that's wrong.
Unfortunately, we can't simply apply those ideas. As much as some of us would love to, it's impossible.
We are in the XXI century. We have science. We know that the earth is the one turning around the sun, not the other way around. We know there's no bearded man hidden behind the clouds. And yet not only religion is still there, but in some cases (like the more extreme manifestations of Islam) it's becoming more fanatic and disconnected from reality.
The idea of a world without borders or countries is a beautiful dream, but a dream nonetheless. I am a libertarian and ultimate believer of the independence and freedom of the individual. However, while there are countries living in the parallel realities of their megalomaniac dictators such as Russia or nuclear powers fighting in antagonist sides (like US-West VS China-East), we'll need countries, weapons, and NATO.
We need democracies not because they are perfect, but only because nobody has come up with a better idea to organize our societies yet.
Many people, though, have tried to decide how the individual should be organized in the context of a society, how that society should be shaped, and what should be the role of each one of us in those societies to be "perfect" or "acceptable". This has only led to the terrible "isms" of the first half of the XX century.
The other day, when walking to the metro station to get to the MWC, I saw a couple protesting against militarization in front of a building of the Ministry of Defense of Spain. Sad thing is, until they can go to any country in the world (including Russia or China) to do that, there's no point in doing it at all. I'd rather pay for my country to have weapons than live under a dictatorship or a dystopian post-communist regime.
The irony is that the same justification of having weapons and borders to protect yourself from other countries is the one that prevents a world without weapons and borders from being possible.
Regarding possessions, I like to think of this part of the song more as a statement toward minimalism (less belongings) than in purely socialist or even sovietic terms. A world in which we need less instead of more, not necessarily a world without private property. Still, apart from a small (but growing) movement, we are going in the opposite direction. We are more attached to our material belongings now that ever.
So while I'd like to be one of those dreamers and believe that the world John Lennon imagined fifty years ago is possible, the realistic inside of me knows it is just that, a beautiful dream.