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Was John Haunted By His Inner Emptiness?
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16 April 2014
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It's probably been noted before but John was probably hurt by the fact that Julia's death was so sudden and unexpected whilst Paul had a chance to say goodbye to Mary. I mean, everything in John's life was sudden; death of Uncle George, Julia, Stuart Sutcliffe, Brian Epstein - all these foundations he'd latched onto as support torn away from him. I imagine him as a barnacle - desperately trying to cling on to anything around him.

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17 September 2014
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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").  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...:-)     

I thought of clipping out some of BR's post in my quoting of it, but, dang, it works so well as a whole.

Perhaps no one could have be a psychotherapist to John, but imagine if you could have given John some help when he "opened up the doors" and asked someone to please, please help him to get his feet back on the ground. How would you have helped him? What would you have said to him? Suggested to him to do?

This thread fascinates me.

18 September 2014
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Ahhh Girl said 

Perhaps no one could have be a psychotherapist to John, but imagine if you could have given John some help when he "opened up the doors" and asked someone to please, please help him to get his feet back on the ground. How would you have helped him? What would you have said to him? Suggested to him to do?

This thread fascinates me.

Hello everybody. Well, @Ahhh Girl, maybe this is not the response you expected, but here it is.  I’m copying from Wikipedia:

"The musician John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, went through primal therapy in 1970. A copy of the just-released The Primal Scream arrived in the mail at Tittenhurst Park (sources differ about who sent the book). Lennon was impressed, and he requested primal therapy to be started at Tittenhurst. Arthur Janov and his first wife, Vivian Janov, went to Tittenhurst in March 1970 to start the therapy, which continued in April in Los Angeles. Arthur Janov went to Tittenhurst after giving instructions in advance about the isolation period and giving instructions to Lennon to be separated from Ono. Lennon and Ono had three weeks of intensive treatment in England before Janov returned to Los Angeles, where they had four months of therapy."

"According to some sources, Lennon ended primal therapy after four months. Arthur Janov later said, "They cut the therapy off just as it started, really....We were just getting going....We had opened him up, and we didn't have time to put him back together again." Another source states that Lennon and Ono broke off treatment after continuous disputes between Ono and Janov."

"Lennon commented after therapy, "I still think that Janov's therapy is great, you know, but I do not want to make it a big Maharishi thing" and "I just know myself better, that's all. I can handle myself better. That Janov thing, the primal scream and so on, it does affect you, because you recognize yourself in there...It was very good for me. I am still 'primal' and it still works." and "I no longer have any need for drugs, the Maharishi or the Beatles. I am myself and I know why."

 "Shortly after therapy, Lennon produced his album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. (Ono recorded a parallel album, Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band from her experiences; both albums were released on the same day on the Apple record label.) Lennon's album featured a number of songs that were directly affected by his experience in therapy, including "Remember", "I Found Out", "Isolation", "God", "Mother", "My Mummy's Dead", and "Working Class Hero"."

Well, the first thing I’d like to point out is that John did have a therapist. The second is that Janov gave instructions to John to be separated from Yoko. The third, that Yoko had problems with Janov. The fourth, that they cut the process off after just four months –and therapeutic processes take much longer. The process was never completed. The fifth, that John claimed he didn’t need The Beatles, or the Maharishi, or drugs any more –yet we do know he kept on doing drugs after his therapy, and he remained 'addicted' to Yoko.

I’ll leave it to you guys to draw your own conclusions.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

18 September 2014
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Just yesterday it occurred to me that John and George were both philosophical and yet very different. For example George had always had an inclination towards Eastern mysticism, if that's the right word, as the following excerpt from wiki says:

While pregnant with George, she often listened to the weekly broadcast Radio India. Harrison's biographer Joshua Greene wrote, "Every Sunday she tuned in to mystical sounds evoked by sitars and tablas, hoping that the exotic music would bring peace and calm to the baby in the womb." 

So while George found what he was looking for, John in a way didn't. What do you guys think? John, as most of say and I agree with this 100%, knew and understood himself but I think he needed someone/ something to allow him to change his attitude. IMO he was in search of that someone/ something all throughout his life which also kept him going, prodding him to keep searching...from Maharishi to macrobiotic diet.

Yoko probably helped him to come to terms with the fact that he's looking for something meaningful  and that it was okay to be doing so which gave him more confidence or a breathing space to understand himself and untangle his mind. But I don't think she was successful in filling the void in him. And I digressed didn't I?a-hard-days-night-john-2 

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Not sure where to place this, anyone with a better idea please let it be known and i'll get it it shifted.

shanghaidaily.com feature looks at a new book titled 'The Making of John Lennon' (to be published on the 28th November 2014) which examines John's childhood and all that happened as he grew up, and how much it contributed to his and the Beatles success.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
14 November 2015
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In a recent Billboard interview, Paul had this to say about John and the song Help!

After two years of breakneck recording and touring, Lennon was unhappy in his marriage to his former college sweetheart and stuffed with drugs. Tasked with writing a song for The Beatles' second film, he began to erase the band's merry, dashing veneer with "Help!" "I turned up at John's house for a writing session," recalls McCartney, "and saw the opportunity to add a descant [melody in the second verse]. We finished it quite quickly; we went downstairs and sang it to John's wife at the time, Cynthia, and a journalist he was friendly with called Maureen Cleave. We were very pleased with ourselves."

Lennon later said, "I was fat and depressed, and I was crying out for help," though he also masked his misery with the song's chirpy tempo. Adds McCartney, "He didn't say, 'I'm now fat and I'm feeling miserable.' He said, 'When I was younger, so much younger than today.' In other words, he blustered his way through. We all felt the same way. But looking back on it, John was always looking for help. He had [a paranoia] that people died when he was around: His father left home when John was 3, the uncle he lived with died later, then his mother died. I think John's whole life was a cry for help."

Yes, I think he was haunted by his inner emptiness. Often. Strongly. Sadly.

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14 November 2015
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@Ahhh Girl That was such an awesome interview. Have you read the other recent one where they named the Beatles the best band of all time and Adele's 21 the best album? (Adele's probably my second favorite artist, coincidentally. I love her released singles on that album, but as for the Beatles.... Every single song on their albums is like a single.)

stay-on-topic I liked what Paul had to say about how John transferred his feelings into "Help!" It's such a good tactic for writers. Instead of saying straight out how insecure he felt about his life, he said, "When I was young/So much younger than today...." I love how those lyrics always manage to make me feel better. :)

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