John Lennon and the Politics of Positivity

Photo by

Along with millions of others, John Lennon has always been, and will always be, my hero and a major source of inspiration. He was undeniably brilliant yet magnificently human, an icon yet still one of us.

Lennon could convey the most profound concepts in the simplest of terms, be it through his music, art, writing, or during interviews. He spoke his truth directly and succinctly - not all that surprising considering his favorite form of poetry was haiku.

When John became involved in political activism, he characteristically kept his message straightforward and honest, often humorous, and almost unerringly positive. And even when he wasn’t, his intent was, in my opinion, to enlighten, not insult. (Most of the time. Again, he was unerringly human.)

John said right up to the end of his life that it was more useful and meaningful to concentrate energy on the positive outcomes we want to manifest rather than the unwanted situations we hope to dispel.

Photo by

Both John and Yoko Ono believed strongly in the Law of Attraction (they spoke about it at length during their interview with Playboy shortly before John’s death)and applied it to every element of their lives. Instead of describing themselves as anti-war activists, The Lennons preferred to be known as advocates for peace, because peace was the goal.

The idea was that it’s more productive to concentrate on making desired positive changes than to get bogged down in negativity. In a word, that it’s better to strive FOR something than to work AGAINST something.

It really does make a lot of sense practically and psychologically. For example, is it better to be Pro-Green Energy or Anti-Fossil Fuel? Philosophically they are seemingly indistinguishable, but in application, there is a subtle but essential difference.

When we identify as the former, we’re directing our efforts towards making Green Energy available, affordable, and our primary source of power. If we’re just railing against Big Oil and Gas, we miss the vital opportunity to aggressively promote and pursue the Big Prize— sustainable energy.

And if we really concentrate on our efforts to facilitate a change-over to clean energy, we take the Fossil Fuel Industry down as an organic part of the process without making it the entire focus of our efforts.

It’s a win/win!

And this philosophy can be applied to almost any political goal, from Single Payer Health Care to Campaign Finance Reform to Fair Wages. Added Bonus: The Orange Anal Wart in the Oval Office and all the other oligarchic corporatists in both parties get picked off one-by-one as we accomplish our goals. Nice trade-off.

Now, no one’s naive enough to think that bringing about dramatic political change is that simplistic (I hope), but the general principle is sound. If you want something, you’re obviously going to have to challenge what- or whoever is standing in your way, but your mission isn’t about skirting the bad guys, it’s about ultimately achieving your objective.

So much easier said than done, right? Maybe. But I’ll tell you this much — I’d rather use my limited free time and energy fighting for Single Payer than to impeach Trump. Obtaining decent Healthcare will benefit us all for generations to come. Booting the Marmalade Moron is not only highly unlikely but just brings momentary satisfaction instead of long-lasting solutions.

I’m hoping John would concur.

Photo by

is a news junkie and history buff spending the End Times randomly alternating between bouts of crankiness and bemusement. Come along!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store