Saturday, April 02, 2011

How John Lennon Got Done With All the “God Shit”

RB is Robin Blacburn of Counter Punch Magazine
JL is John Lennon
Arthur Janov is a psychotherapist who encourages deep emotional re-feeling of past trauma in order to purge the continuing negative effects in the present.

[This is a small excerpt from the Counter Punch article available on-line here.]

At one time I was so much involved in the religious bullshit that I used to go around calling myself a Christian Communist, but as Janov says, religion is legalised madness. It was therapy that stripped away all that and made me feel my own pain.

RB: This analyst you went to, what's his name. ..

JL: Janov ...

RB: His ideas seem to have something in common with Laing in that he doesn't want to reconcile people to their misery, to adjust them to the world but rather to make them face up to its causes?

JL: Well, his thing is to feel the pain that's accumulated inside you ever since your childhood. I had to do it to really kill off all the religious myths. In the therapy you really feel every painful moment of your life--it's excruciating, you are forced to realise that your pain, the kind that makes you wake up afraid with your heart pounding, is really yours and not the result of somebody up in the sky. It's the result of your parents and your environment.

As I realised this it all started to fall into place. This therapy forced me to have done with all the God shit.


Gary Berg-Cross said...

John Lennon's song Imagine captures some of his movement away from religion. The song has a great deal of meaning for me and is among my favorite secular songs. (I'd be interested in hearing other peopel's candidates for favorite secular songs and whether anyone would like to help me assemble a group of the top 10 say.)

I used some thoughts from Imagine as a theme in my son's "coming of age" celebration, saying that I had tried to raise him in the spirit of that song -in a place where people aren't divided by religion, nationalism possessions etc. Where the influence of government, money, and greed is controlled. A world where we are all equals living in harmony with nature.

It is world that does not exist it so we have to imagine it for our children and I took that as a call to action as part of Lennon's message.
According to Geoffery Givlian's book, 'Lennon in America', John Lennon talked to others about how he softened Imagine to get a message across. He said:

"Imagine was an anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic song, but because it is sugar coated, it's accepted."

In a crative softening approach he reminds me of another realist, skeptical, humanist artist - Mark Twain, who also took on religion and the conformity of thought it manufactures. Twain was frustrated in the slavery of human thought to cultural prejudices, but used humor and irony to soften the message in many of his books. In private, at my age, he fumed about "the damn human race."

arensb said...

Gary Berg-Cross:
I'd be interested in hearing other peopel's candidates for favorite secular songs

Secular? Or do you mean atheist/anti-theistic? I ask because the most-played song my collection is X-Fusion's Anorexia Nervosa, followed by Colourbox's Hot Doggie, neither of which have anything to do with religion, and are therefore secular.

As far as atheist/antitheist music goes, Imagine is in my top ten, along with XTC's Dear God and Depeche Mode's Blasphemous Rumours, and John Butler's Hand of the Almighty.

X-Fusion's Dear God begins with Al Pacino's lovely rant from The Devil's Advocate (X-Fusion has a lot of antitheistic titles). And Pink Floyd's Sheep includes a parody of the 23d Psalm, with lines like "He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places / He converteth me to lamb cutlets".

Let Me Be Your Armor by Assemblage 23 is about antidepressants, but I find that it works equally well as a commentary on religion.

Leah Williams said...

People who are compulsively religious are often using the strict rules of their religion to protect them from acting out their antisocial/sexual impulses. Once one relives and feels the source of these impulses at a very deep level, they loose their power to drive behavior and repressions. Arthur Janov's book "The Primal Scream", is a powerful statement of how this process works with much detailed personal input from his clients.

Don Wharton said...

Imagine (espcially with the line "imagine no religion" is by far my favorite anti-theist song. I was watching Jimmy Kimmel back in November and he had Will Farrell and Manny Pacquiao singing Imagine. It was so supremely outside of what I would expect but it worked. I found a link to the video:

Don Wharton said...

Thanks to arensb for reminding me about Pink Floyd. I truly loved so much of what they did. I had the joy of seeing them in concert.

lucette said...

Holly Near: "I ain't afraid of Yahweh"