John Lennon Video Collection

Power to the peep-hole

I’ve been watching The John Lennon Video Collection for the last few days. I’ve also been thinking about the sheer oddity of living with dead people on your TV screen. And I’ve been thinking about Blake’s notions of a sort of higher innocence. We live in a fallen world, and can never experience the sort of innocence that exists in the mythic sense. Every moment after being born, we are gathering experiences that cannot be removed from our consciousness; even with metaphoric blinders on, the experience lurks. Religion operates on notions of letting go of the world, a sort of free fall into a world without attachments; but it doesn’t seem to work for me. Just what’s up with the red patent leather suit, John? But I must admit that the two-faced band members was a stroke of genius. In the live concert version of Imagine from 1975, Lennon imagines a world without immigration. A rather grounded reference, for an ethereal song, sung from inside what must have been an expensive suit, for an elite audience. The irony is rather thick.

But I’ve got to admire what some would call a naive search for innocence. I’ve got to believe that war can be over, if we want it. I’ve got to believe that humanity has more commonality than difference. These are prerequisites for a sort of innocence within our experienced world. I think it’s an ideal worth striving for, even with all the flaws. For all my skepticism, I can embrace Lennon as a sort of child, though as an adult he, like all of us, is suspect. Some ideas, like the idea of peace, require a sort of suspension of disbelief. Looking through the peep-hole, without worrying about what’s just outside the field of view.