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Was John Haunted By His Inner Emptiness?
17 October 2013
12.22am
silverbeatle
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John Lennon was somebody who seemed to be restless and never fully satisfied with the way life had gone for him, this is just my humble opinion and his words regarding this are interesting.Constantly searching, but at his core he believed utterly that love and peace was the answer and he had to undergo personal changes to arrive at his beliefs.

He said '' those who want to improve the world would be wiser to first go inside themselves. If we first do what no one else can do, transform ourselves, then we can positively influence those around us and ultimately, like ripples spreading out from a stone dropped in a pond, change the world''.

He also advocated keeping peace on the front pages of newspapers saying ''keep peace on the front pages, keep politicians and their empty promises off the front pages'' i am quite certain that those sentiments are as relevant today as they were when John first said them.

One thing has never changed as far as i can see though, in all of the time we have been here since John's passing, LOVE really is all you need for PEACE on earth to become a reality.

17 October 2013
1.03am
walrusgumboot
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silverbeatle gave me some truth!a-hard-days-night-john-4

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17 October 2013
2.09am
SatanHimself
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New members representing!  

E is for 'Ergent'.
17 October 2013
3.04pm
Expert Textpert
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Interesting question.  I think he was haunted by his inner emptiness.  That would be a good way to describe it.  Our demons (if they don't destroy us) do push us onwards to discover the truth.  Often our behavior doesn't catch up to our ideals because of that "instant karma."

"This Beatles talk bores me to death." --John Lennon

17 October 2013
4.33pm
mccartneyalarm
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I've often wondered why John didn't get some real psychotherapy (I don't consider Primal Therapy to count as legitimate). Why didn't he see a therapist who could help him work through his anger and his self-esteem problems? Do you think he was afraid to reveal the "real" John Lennon? Therapists can't discuss their cases…he needn't have worried about that. Do you think he was afraid of what it would reveal about himself? I know he spent a lot of time looking inward and searching for who he was and why. I just wondered why he wouldn't seek out professional help for his "demons."

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

18 October 2013
6.48am
Funny Paper
America
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It's become something of a cliché, but there is a certain type of artist who is vexed by "angst" and seems to have a troubled life -- thus his art becomes a way for him to wrestle with his demons.  Part of the conceit of this cliché is that such artistic anxiety or "pathos" is proof that the artist is a "genius" and better than his peers who may not seem to be suffering as much.

Hence the John and Paul contrasts and comparisons…

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
18 October 2013
2.24pm
silverbeatle
Yorkshire
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Just recently i saw something online about John and the person in question formed his opinion about John (not sure if he was a shrink or not not?) as being a person haunted by his emptiness and he put it this way. The existential vacuum state in which individuals ''are haunted by the experience of their inner emptiness, a void within themselves''.

John was trying to help others and in my opinion set out to find these truths so that he could bring the good news message back to ALL. He believed in people and their potential to change for the better, but not to be better in the future, to be better NOW.

He said '' From a cosmic perspective each person should be treated as a fellow human being, sharing material wealth and the Earths resources in the interests of social harmony in the here and now, how we best use the time we have''.

He believed everybody was equal saying ''they are all infinite, they all have infinite possibilities''

By doing these things with Peace and Love at its core we become better people, not just to ourselves but to others too.If we care for each other, watch out for each other, show genuine friendship for each other, hate and all the other things that are divisive in this world fade away and become a myth or portent to warn us to keep the Peace and Love foremost in our lives, lest we return to those bad divisive ways. 

18 October 2013
10.49pm
vonbontee
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You would seem to share John's beliefs…I hope you don't feel you're haunted by inner emptiness as well.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
23 October 2013
3.08am
Lennonista
Los Angeles
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I think we all have inner emptiness, holes than cannot be filled. And I agree that John was most definitely haunted by his. He was ever aware of it, very tuned in-- unlike most of us. His was profound, though… deeper than most. I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing, but I think there was an emptiness in his heart, and that the one thing he truly wanted/needed was the one thing he also knew he'd never have--the unconditional love of his mum and dad.

mccartneyalarm said
I've often wondered why John didn't get some real psychotherapy (I don't consider Primal Therapy to count as legitimate). Why didn't he see a therapist who could help him work through his anger and his self-esteem problems? 

Why do you completely disregard Primal Therapy? It wasn't all screaming all the time, and there was a sound basis to it. Also , it did help him finally face some very deep-seated pain. I know John dismissed it at the end, but he did that with everything when he was done with it. As for "real" psychotherapy, I don't think as many people were doing it then as now, and I also don't think John was afraid to find the "real" John Lennon. He played out his psychodramas on the world stage, after all… and he took enough acid to face some pretty scary inner demons. I think he was pretty self-aware and really moving toward finding some true inner peace in his last years.

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23 October 2013
5.51pm
mccartneyalarm
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Good observations about John, Lennonista. I actually agree with you. Psychotherapy back in the 70s is not like it is today. I am dismissive about the primal therapy only because John sorta' was, and it didn't receive high praise from other therapists. I agree that it did allow John to get in touch with his inner anger and his demons, but I think what I wish he would have had was someone to help him get over the anger and put his inner demons behind him. He carried all that baggage with him and I would have liked for him to "get on with it." He did try very hard to figure it all out and search for his own answers. I feel like it would have been so much easier for him if he had a counselor to help him find the answers and deal with his pain. He was always following Yoko's recommendations…tarot card readers, numerologists, psychics, and hundreds of books that he'd devour hoping he'd find the answer. If he would have had a therapist to help him, he may have made some progress. I guess I see him as suffering unnecessarily. I know that made him who he was…and that is great, too…but I would have loved for him to find some happiness and inner peace in his all-too-short life. I mean, he had a terrible self-esteem…and he was freakin' John Lennon! It makes me sad for him.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

23 October 2013
10.00pm
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If John had conquered all of his demons I doubt that he would have written many good songs after that. He was not like Paul McCartney, who can just keep writing whatever happens.  When John had a relatively happy home life (by his standards, not ours) from 1975 to 1980, he hardly produced anything.

I think it took his relationship being on the rocks (with Yoko almost divorcing him in 1980) and his stormy encounter with the sea to shake him up and make him write again.

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"This Beatles talk bores me to death." --John Lennon

24 October 2013
5.12pm
mccartneyalarm
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Great point, Expert Textpert. Do you think John knew that, he'd figured it out, thus he held onto the pain? His pain and anger, in a way, were his muse. Did he get that or did all that go over his head? You are very right…if he had come to terms with his demons, his music would either not exist or sound like Tony Orlando and Dawn!

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"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

25 October 2013
1.12pm
meanmistermustard
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Talking of demons, listening to Take 4 of Scared where John signs

Hatred and jealousy, gonna be the death of me
I guess I knew it right from the start
Sing out about love and peace
Don't wanna see the red raw meat
The green eyed goddamn straight from your heart

His voice goes for a split second.heart

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
11 April 2014
3.39am
Ahhh Girl
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How arrogant is it for me to wish that I could have gone head-to-head, toe-to-to with John over his inner emptiness?

I would like to see if I could have matched him hurt for hurt, angst for angst, fear for fear. Would we have called one another's bluff at times? Would we have been able to help each other out?

Is that an experience you would like to have had with John?

11 April 2014
4.28am
trcanberra
Canberra, ACT
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Ahhh Girl said
How arrogant is it for me to wish that I could have gone head-to-head, toe-to-to with John over his inner emptiness?

I would like to see if I could have matched him hurt for hurt, angst for angst, fear for fear. Would we have called one another's bluff at times? Would we have been able to help each other out?

Is that an experience you would like to have had with John?

Not me AG; I'm still worried about the "existential vacuum state in which individuals ''are haunted by the experience of their inner emptiness, a void within themselves"".  I think this whole discussion is feeding my offshoot of kenophobia – I'm fine with empty spaces but nothingness is just a worry – maybe having my wife preach hellfire for all those years has me worried about the alternatives.

I suspect John struggled with some of the same.

 

11 April 2014
4.49am
Ahhh Girl
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If I want to know just how bad my inner emptiness and psychological hang-ups are, I would want to go up against a pro. John seems to have been one in this realm.

11 April 2014
7.14am
Billy Rhythm
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John was a Dreamer, he dreamt away to escape from the reality of his life ("Living is easy with eyes closed, Misunderstanding all you see").  The ability to physically manifest his dreams through his art and music was his therapy, the Primal Scream Therapy was just a temporary extreme measure that helped get him back on track after being somewhat forced to "face his demons" after being finally freed from the chains of being someone that he wasn't for a very long time, and being just John as opposed to being Beatle John for the first time since his youth in 1970 ("I was the Walrus but now I'm John") was quite a traumatic experience for him, as any abrupt change if even for the better can be (such as quitting smoking).  Psychotherapy likely wouldn't have worked out at all for John Lennon, any Psychotherapist could learn far more from John then he could ever from them because Lennon learned his valued life lessons from unimaginable experiences that they could never learn through any Psychology Educational Institution.

 

His "Inner Emptiness" drove him, he channeled it through positive means for both himself and countless others, I'm not sure that "Haunted" is the right word here.  If some of John's best work appears to be dark or reflections of his "Inner Emptiness", it's perhaps that because when things were going well for him he was too busy enjoying himself and couldn't be bothered to stop and write it all down.  I'd reckon that he was quite fulfilled inside on many fronts and made conscious efforts to counter his shortfalls or mistakes made along the way.  When Sean was born, he knew deep down that he had to do a better job at Fatherhood, and knew full well exactly the negative impact of playing the game as a Beatle had had on his strained relationship with Julian, he vowed to do it differently right from the outset and turning a negative experience into a positive is absolutely a sure sign of someone who's come to terms with himself.  He appeared to learn from mistakes made during his first marriage as well and chose to do things differently with Yoko.  Many believe that his Peace Campaigns were inspired from his pension for violence at an earlier age, this appears to me to be a man who not only didn't require professional help, but could help show many others a thing or two about "confronting your demons" as effectively as he did…:-)     

11 April 2014
12.42pm
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@Ahhh Girl, I once asked how to stop grasping and accept emptiness, and a Tibetan Buddhist monk told me that westerners misunderstand emptiness. We confuse emptiness with afflicted emotion, which is actually something we must overcome in order to achieve emptiness. Emptiness is enlightenment, compassion, bliss, and loss of personal identity in interbeing with all things. This state of consciousness is not different from the natural world. "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." To overcome afflicted emotion, meditate. We should overcome all attachments. Having an aversion to something is the same as an attachment and should also be overcome. When we attach to our afflicted emotions, we make destructive choices.

"This Beatles talk bores me to death." --John Lennon

11 April 2014
1.14pm
Ahhh Girl
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Billy Rhythm said

John was a Dreamer, he dreamt away to escape from the reality of his life ("Living is easy with eyes closed, Misunderstanding all you see"). [snip]

If some of John's best work appears to be dark or reflections of his "Inner Emptiness", it's perhaps that because when things were going well for him he was too busy enjoying himself and couldn't be bothered to stop and write it all down.

Interesting. I never thought of those lines from the song that way. I always thought he was making a comment (mockingly) about society at large not paying attention to what is going on all around them and/or not interpreting it correctly.

Yeah, that hits home, BR. Thank you. It makes me realize that I need to do more writing when I'm feeling on top of the world. My scribbles only seem to make it to paper when dark clouds are filling my mind.

@Expert Textpert Well, John didn't get a chance to discuss the concept of emptiness and his struggle with it (or not) with you, but I will take advantage of the opportunity. I'll PM you and see if the discussion leads to any insights to share here.

11 April 2014
2.02pm
Billy Rhythm
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Ahhh Girl said

Billy Rhythm said

John was a Dreamer, he dreamt away to escape from the reality of his life ("Living is easy with eyes closed, Misunderstanding all you see"). [snip]
 

Interesting. I never thought of those lines from the song that way. I always thought he was making a comment (mockingly) about society at large not paying attention to what is going on all around them and/or not interpreting it correctly.
 

 

'Strawberry Fields Forever' is very introspective, John was confronting himself here in Fall 1966 in much the same way he did in 1970, he wasn't really a Beatle for a brief period here while filming 'How I Won The War' in Spain, he struggled to escape from the pressures of domestic life without The Beatles which had long been his "crutch", if you like.  He was longing for the inner peace that he'd felt years ago while escaping to Strawberry Fields Orphanage, a place where he'd dreamt many hours away, a place where "Nothing Is Real, and Nothing To Get Hung About"….:-)

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