Feature image by Jay Russell
It was a Monday morning in May of 1969 and the then-14-year-old Levitan should have been getting ready to go to school.
Instead he grabbed his brother’s Super-8 camera and at 7am headed downtown to the King Edward Hotel where he had a sneaking suspicion John Lennon might be after hearing the Beatle had been spotted the night before at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.
Levitan entered the hotel, zoomed up to the top floor, and knocked on every door, hoping one would lead to the musical icon he’d always dreamed of meeting. A housekeeper saw him and asked if he was looking for ‘the Beatle.’
He said he was and she directed him to another room a few floors down. He saw Yoko Ono’s daughter Kyoko playing outside one of the rooms and knew he’d found “the centre of all things.”
If that wasn’t enough food for thought, consider this quote from Steven Yates in “The Boiling Frog Syndrome,” where he mirrors John in describing the problem with violent revolutions:
Large scale revolutions attempting to change all the institutions of society at once make it impossible for anyone – including the revolutionaries – to plan rationally. This is why, with very rare exceptions such as our own War for American Independence, they tend to leave everything worse off than it was before…
Thus revolutions tend to bring about bloody dictatorships rather than improved social systems by forcing abrupt change on entire, complex societies (political arrangements, economic relations, etc., at multiple levels) and they destabilize everything.
Relations that have formed over generations are suddenly broken apart. Human beings, like all systems, dislike instability intensely. In practice, they will turn to the first person who promises to restore stability to the system, and that person is usually a dictator who clamps down on the entire society from the center.
What do you think of Lennon’s thoughts on creating sustainable peace? Share in the comments!
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Ian MacKenzie is the founder and former editor of Brave New Traveler. He is Head of Video at Matador Network. Ian is also an independent filmmaker, with his first feature (One Week Job) released in 2010. His more recent projects include Sacred Economics and Occupy Love.
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