The Instigator
Bhas
Pro (for)
Tied
26 Points
The Contender
Metz
Con (against)
Tied
26 Points

John Lennon's song "Imagine" reflects a bleak existence rather than a socialist utopia.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2009 Category: Arts
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 9,272 times Debate No: 7142
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (10)

 

Bhas

Pro

In the lyrics of his song Lennon asks the listener to imagine a world with "nothing to kill or die for". It is my contention that an existence in which there is nothing we value enough to give our life for or for which we are willing to take the life of another who wishes to deprive us of that which we value is ultimately an unfulfilled life.
Metz

Con

So my position in this round is that the song "Imagine" represents a Utopian society.

You may say that 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

This plainly says that Lennon is trying to establish a perfect Utopian dream. The line "You may say that I'm a dreamer" represents this perfectly as what it establishes is that Lennon thinks that people will think his ideas to idealistic or to perfect, thus a Utopia.

As for my opponents point the problem is, is that Lennon portrays not bleak existence but an existence without war. With "nothing to kill or die for" there will be no war, no conflict. Thus utopia
Debate Round No. 1
Bhas

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for taking on the debate, this should be interesting.

An existence without war is not necessarily an existence with out things for which we would be willing to die for.
If all of the worlds citizens agreed on what was to be valued then war might not be a potential however the problem that is presented with Lennon's dream is that in it their exist nothing for which individuals would consider defending with even the slightest protest.
It's accentually the apathetic versus the passionate.
A world in which no debate or protest exists and everyone has conformed to one set of values and ideals.
In such a world no individual would be compelled to sacrifice the time required to accomplish a dream. Contrast this with a world in which individuals feel passionate about their beliefs. Those passions are what inspire progress and conflict. So all of this to say; A life lived in apathy is no utopia but rather hell.
Metz

Con

"In such a world no individual would be compelled to sacrifice the time required to accomplish a dream. Contrast this with a world in which individuals feel passionate about their beliefs."

Lennon's point is that the world is Utopian, however impossible to achieve, what he is describing is a world in which nobody has anything to die for because things which people usually die for are gone, achieved. lets look at the rest of the line in the song to put it in context.

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

What Lennon does with Imagine is set up an idea for a Utopian society, where we will need nothing to kill or die for. Whenever people want something really badly, some people will be willing to die for it. So what this means is that the wishes of the people have been fulfilled if there is nothing to "kill of die for" Furthermore The song does not specifically refer to individuals. If you look at the context you will find Lennon is talking about wars, not beliefs. When countries live in peace with each other nobody has to kill or die for their country. Without religion nobody has to kill or die for their religion. Thus Lennon's message in this section is actually that of peace.

Extend my other arguments from last round which were:

You may say that 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

This plainly says that Lennon is trying to establish a perfect Utopian dream. The line "You may say that I'm a dreamer" represents this perfectly as what it establishes is that Lennon thinks that people will think his ideas to idealistic or to perfect, thus a Utopia.

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Full Song for all reading this debate:

Something you should know about Imagine Lyrics

Title: John Lennon - Imagine lyrics

Artist: John Lennon Lyrics

Visitors: 559212 visitors have hited Imagine Lyrics since May 27, 2008.
i

Send "Imagine" Ringtone to Mobile

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 that 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 that 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

(http://www.lyrics007.com...)
Debate Round No. 2
Bhas

Pro

The line "Nothing to kill or die for" is very clear and specific. He could have just as easily said "No reason to kill or to die" which would have had a completely different meaning.

I understand that John Lennon fully believed that his song represented a utopia but it is my contention that it was not a well thought out utopia and that is the ultimate flaw in his vision.

Man must struggle against nature, himself and his challengers in order to truly enjoy his successes. It is the contrast that life offers that gives us our awareness of the joys and pleasures of our existence.

John Lennon was a brilliant entertainer however he was vulnerable, as many have been, to great but flawed ideas for society.

I've enjoyed this debate and I thank my opponent for his worthy challenge.
Metz

Con

My Opponent Neglects to Put that Line into Context. he says that "Nothing to kill or die for" is very different that "No reason to kill or to die" which taken out of context it is. But If you look at its placement in the song you will find that

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Makes the line "Nothing to kill or die for" the same as ""No reason to kill or to die." Lennon is that line is referring to his vision that national borders and religion ought to be abolished so that people will have "nothing to kill or die for"

My Opponent Further contends
"Man must struggle against nature, himself and his challengers in order to truly enjoy his successes. It is the contrast that life offers that gives us our awareness of the joys and pleasures of our existence."

While I fully agree this does not actually have anything to do with Lennon's song. It never says in the song that people would not disagree, but that they would not be willing to kill or be killed because of their religious or territorial boundaries. That is all that is reflected in that section of the song and the only part contested by my opponent as a bleak existence.
So what my opponents point has become is that killing and death is good and to abolish them would create a bleak existence. What he proposes is rather dystopian, so we have to see that Imagine actually reflects a Utopian Existence.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by kingsnake 2 years ago
kingsnake
What Lennon was describing was right in line with Marx and Engel's vision of a utopian world. What's disturbing is how Lennon hints at how we would achieve a world of harmony and peace- it follows right along with hard-lined socialism (the road map to utopia or communism)., where possessions/private property is outlawed, religions are banned by law, no countries or borders (i.e. regions) replaced by...a what? A strong, centralized authority that determines for all what is produced and how resources are disrtributed? That last ine is a long shot, but, ehhh.
Posted by Metz 8 years ago
Metz
Bhas, since I can't leave a comment on your profile I will answer your question here regarding the comment you left on my profile

Posted by Bhas 2 weeks ago
do you really believe that socialism is moral and superior?

I do believe socialism to be more moral and in many ways superior to capitalism. While I understand it has its faults, as does everything, I believe that as humans we have a moral obligation to other humans. We need to help them out, everyone deserves the same basic treatment. I.e Healthcare, food, housing. We all want it so why should we deny it to some of us because they can't make enough money. Poverty perpetuates poverty. Is the right to live really exclusive to the 'upper' classes? So my solution, is socialism that is, fairness. True Communistic equality is impractical but the rough equality of a socialist government is achievable and is the most morally superior system. Capitalism just allows a few to control what goes on, and it ends up leaving behind everyone that doesn't have the money to make some large firm more profit.
Posted by trendem 8 years ago
trendem
Convincing arguments: Con. Pro almost won it, but I felt he didn't address Con's argument that Context Determines the Meaning.

Sources: Tie.

Conduct: Tie.

Grammar and Eloquence: Pro
Posted by Chuckles 8 years ago
Chuckles
A Perfect Circle does a pretty good cover of this song. It's not as good as Lennon's version, but then again i haven't heard any cover of it that is.
Posted by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
"Imagine there's no freedom
It's easy if you try"
Posted by Metz 8 years ago
Metz
So then can I argue that it does show a Utopian society but not necessarily a socialist one?
Posted by Metz 8 years ago
Metz
Do we have to defend it as a socialist utopia? I will take this if I don't need to take that position
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
Hmmmm . . . I've never thought of the song that way.
Posted by Chuckles 8 years ago
Chuckles
perhaps you have to take a dose or two of LSD before you can see something like that happening?
idk!
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
True, the hippies were nice people, but unrealistic.
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Vote Placed by abstractposters 5 years ago
abstractposters
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Reasons for voting decision: No imagination was required to know this.
Vote Placed by Scott_Mann 7 years ago
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