Let’s take John Lennon up on his offer. Let’s imagine what the world would be like with no countries, religions or a heaven or hell. Let’s imagine a world with no possessions and nothing important enough to be willing to kill to protect it or die to ensure its continuing. Let’s imagine Lennon’s world where all the people are living for nothing other than today.
In this world, people will have saved no money for their retirement. After all, retirement is somewhere down the line. All the people would have massive debts – borrowed every penny from everywhere they could, maxed out their credit cards, bought houses they couldn’t pay for – because the promise to repay those debts were made yesterday. In Lennon’s world people would splurge on big screen TVs, using money that should have gone to buying health insurance, but, alas, the big game is tonight while their health at the moment is just fine.
There wouldn’t be much kindness or decency in a world where all the people are living for today. Kindness is not a form of instant gratification, it’s a lubricant that makes society work in the long run. The long run goes on for years. Those living for today don’t care about the long run and thus they don’t care about how society will function any further down the line than twenty-four hours from now. This world would be vulgar – horribly vulgar – as refinement, as the word suggests, takes time. Who knows, one might even find pornography on every corner, filth spewing from the radios, maybe even someday a gathering of the best and the brightest in all the land, will declare the vulgar and profane “beautiful,” and name something like “F—k You” – spelled out, of course — the very best record of the year.
In this world you would find the infrastructure going to hell. Maintenance is performed to prevent disasters down the road and since it is down the road, the people who are living for today are not likely to invest in it. Instead, monies taken from those who have not yet become enlightened (and thus work hard and well), said to be for infrastructure would, instead, be redirected into the pockets of those whose works are so infantile and incompetent that they could not be sustained except in a utopia where possessions are confiscated and redistributed at the point of a gun.
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