August 15th, 2012Just Dena Hunt

Joseph’s post lamenting the state of England’s culture, vividly displayed at the Olympics, generated an extraordinary number of comments. Almost all of them were in sympathy; the two or three that objected were comically childish sputterings of indignation.

I didn’t watch the closing ceremony. I had seen the opening and thought it shocking. Not accustomed to watching Olympics, however, I thought maybe all Olympic ceremonies were like that. But I couldn’t help feeling sympathy for English friends, believing them to be embarrassed by the orgiastic spectacle of self-worship. (A word occurred to me that is too indelicate to mention here.)

The comments on Joseph’s post prove that other people were shocked as well. Particularly poignant were the comments of a few English readers. How alone they must feel. If I could offer sympathy, I would say: Take comfort. The very fact that you are there, that you are not consumed by this cesspool, that you are able to see it for what it is—even if it hurts you to see it—all of that is reason to hope.

John Lennon’s “Imagine”  was played/sung; it was mentioned in the post and in several comments. Has no one ever actually listened to the words of that song? Imagine there’s no country—okay, just imagine. Peace, according to Lennon, means annihilating countries. He believed, apparently, that “countries” cause war, and that if there were no countries, there would be no war. But wars are only rarely fought over national borders. Most wars are caused by conflicting ideologies, not boundaries—in fact, ideologies just like that which he expresses—which would cancel, eradicate, destroy, all ideologies except its own. This song is an anthem of Absolute Intolerance. The truth is that if there were no countries, no home, no rootedness, no identity, there would not be peace, but psychosis.

No religion—except the religion of no religion. Absolute Intolerance of religion would enforce the eradication of any religion except itself. Imagine. The Other would simply not be allowed to exist. What would remain then, except utter aloneness. Any obstacle to humanity’s self-worship would then be removed, because there would be no one to love but itself. And since it would also have no one to be loved BY except itself, that love must, by necessity, be enforced. But authentic love must be given freely, so there could be no love. The inescapable truth is that, if there is no God, there can be no love of any kind except self-love.

Imagine. Yes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we never had to respect anyone’s beliefs again? We could just say—oh, you have a belief contrary to this? Okay, that’s it—you shall not be allowed to exist. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just deny anyone’s right to a sense of their own identity? We could just kill off anyone who didn’t identify with us. We could just kill off anyone who loved Anyone except us. We wouldn’t have to worry about respect for each other—we wouldn’t need it; all we would need is adherence to the creed of Absolute Intolerance, which declares that nothing shall be allowed to exist except itself. There shall be no Other, neither God nor man.

Imagine. Yes. Imagine hell. 

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  • August 15 2012 | by James Morris

    two people came to mind today- one was St Aiden and the his great work of esablishing monasteries on Lindesfarne and basically establishing Christianity in England and I got to thinking about his legacy how he brought the new religion and how it utterly transformed the country and civilised the people and how he should be more remembered, honoured the other one was of George Michael who I rememebred was arrested in California for in 'engaging in a lewd act'.
  • August 15 2012 | by Manny

    Dena, you missed the most self centered, egotistical part of the song: "Imagine all the people living for today." Instead of living for one's children or for family or country or neighbor or, heaven forbid, the glorification of God, the most important value expressed is self gratification of the moment.

    And look how naive that line is. If every single individual were personally living for today, you wouldn't have world peace; you'd have people at each other's throats.

    The song is pure 20th century, cultural rot.
  • August 16 2012 | by Colin

    If you found the opening ceremony shocking it's just as well you didn't see the closing ceremony which was far far worse! I actually quite enjoyed the opening ceremony, although - as people have pointed out - it was quite overtly political which upset a few people. However there was no anti-Christian sentiment in the opening ceremony (it was directed by a different person than the closing ceremony) and even included a live performance of the hymn Abide with Me (as a tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terrorist attack on London which took place the day after the announcement that London had been successful in getting the games, so quite a poignant moment). I'm not sure where you watched this from but if you are in the US then you may have missed that part as I heard that it was controversially edited out of NBC's coverage in favour of a bland interview with Michael Phelps!
  • August 16 2012 | by James Morris

    Wooly Belief

    My Sweet Lord
    The mixture of 'Hare Krishna' 'Alleluia'
    Struck the wrong chord.

    Which Lord? Brahma or Jesus, Vishnu or Shiva?
    Or neither-
    My Sweet George.


    That syncretism-
    Of religion,
    I don't really care for.

    (By the way-
    Did he nick it off the Chiffon's He's So Fine?
    Was it plagiarism by one of the Fab Four?)


    The assumption Spirituality meant only India.
    What about your own tradition? Roman Catholicism.
    Never a thought.

    And if ALL religion-
    Is a manifestation of the Divine,
    Why was it permissable to ridicule Christ in Life of Brian?


    He was 'conscious of God' when he died.
    (That's what it said on the press release)
    '...conscious of God...'

    Well, I suppose he was,
    Standing before;
  • August 17 2012 | by Dena Hunt

    I didn't hear the hymn, Colin, so there must have been the interview.
  • August 17 2012 | by Dena Hunt

    Great poem, James.

    Sh'ma Yisrael
    The Lord our God,
    The Lord is One.

    Saved Israel's soul, and in these days of "wooly belief," it can save ours, Israel's daughter.
  • August 18 2012 | by James Morris

    Thanks Dena.

    Well that's Lennon, Geroge. Who's left of the fab four? Ringo, Paul.

    Well Paul has (not surprisingly) given his full support to 'Pussy Riot'.

    Ringo gives his support to peace and love in the world by giving the peace and love sign and saying the words peace and love'.

    That's all you have to do. It's simple.