Wednesday, December 8, 2010

watching the wheels

On December 8, 1980, we lost one of our most beloved icons. We lost him to an act of violence from a man who claimed to be a fan, but really wanted to make a name for himself. Some have tried to blame a darkness in the music. Others think that our violent society is to blame. There are even claims that the C.I.A. used mind control techniques and hidden triggers in the book 'The Catcher in the Rye' to assassinate Lennon. The F.B.I. and the I.N.S. tried for years to get him arrested and deported for his anti-war activities and associations with various radicals; but it became overshadowed by the Watergate scandal. Mark David Chapman claimed that he was enraged by Lennon's statements about God and how he preached to "imagine no possessions" but still lived a lavish lifestyle. He thought that by killing this "phoney", he would become a hero like Holden Caulfield. Chapman is still in prison and expresses regret over venting his "anger, confusion, and low self esteem" on Lennon. "I saw him as a cardboard cutout on an album cover."

Lennon's childhood was painful and isolated; but it fueled his creativity.

The childlike perspective of 'Look at Me' conveys the sense of confusion over personal identity with which he struggled most of his life.

'Watching the Wheels' shows how far he had come. He took five years off from the merry-go-round of the music business and the public limelight and focused on being a househusband. It was a healing time for him.

"The whole universe is a wheel, right? Wheels go round and round. They're my own wheels, mainly. But, you know, watching meself is like watching everybody else. And I watch meself through my child, too. Then, in a way, nothing is real, if you break the word down. As the Hindus or Buddhists say, it's an illusion, meaning all matter is floating atoms, right? It's Rashomon. We all see it, but the agreed-upon illusion is what we live in. And the hardest thing is facing yourself. It's easier to shout 'Revolution' and 'Power to the people' than it is to look at yourself and try to find out what's real inside you and what isn't, when you're pulling the wool over your own eyes. That's the hardest one. I used to think that the world was doing it to me and that the world owed me something, and that either the conservatives or the socialists or the fascists or the communists or the Christians or the Jews were doing something to me; and when you're a teenybopper, that's what you think. I'm forty now. I don't think that anymore, 'cause I found out it doesn't fucking work! The thing goes on anyway, and all you're doing is jacking off, screaming about what your mommy or daddy or society did, but one has to go through that. For the people who even bother to go through that - most assholes just accept what is and get on with it, right? - but for the few of us who did question what was going on.... I have found out personally - not for the whole world! - that I am responsible for it, as well as them. I am part of them. There's no separation; we're all one, so in that respect, I look at it all and think, 'Ah, well, I have to deal with me again in that way. What is real? What is the illusion I'm living or not living?' And I have to deal with it every day. The layers of the onion. But that is what it's all about."

"Jai Guru Deva Aum" is Sanskrit for "glory to the shining remover of darkness." Lennon claimed that 'Across the Universe' was a "cosmic song" that just came to him: "The words are purely inspirational and were given to me - except for maybe one or two where I had to resolve a line or something like that. I don't own it; it came through like that."

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