For many of the followers of the Beatles and of the mysticism-induced hippie movement of the late sixties, this was a signal that has indicated the beginning of the disillusionment. The way they heard it, Lennon was saying that, while we can try the meditation and the numerous other spiritual paths, it's all in vain -- our world stays forever the same.
This sounds quite pessimistic. However, there is a different way to look at it, and then it becomes obvious that Lennon was speaking the truth.
Before we get to take such a look, we must consider the motives and the reasoning behind any movement that would like to change our world. As many philosophers and religious authorities have confirmed for us, something is amiss in our lives, and it would be nice if we could fix it somehow. It is not hard to agree with this approach. By our very nature, we humans are fixers. This means that we like to pick things apart and then rebuild them, and in general, we like to be constructive.
Isn't it only natural, then, that once we identify the problem, we leap right into trying to fix it? That sounds reasonable enough. The only trouble is, there is more than one diagnosis of the same set of symptoms, and in addition, the various diagnoses sometime contradict each other.
For instance, at different times various authorities or schools of thought have suggested that if the human problem is in the lack of happiness, or in the excessive misery, then either we should strive to increase the amount happiness, or to decrease the amount of misery. But it is precisely in proposing how to achieve that common-sense goal that those schools differ and sometimes collide with each other. There are many documented extremes (we will only briefly describe some of them here):
Even at this early point in the analysis, we can stop and ask ourselves: what is it that we can conclude by looking at the so far described systems and their proposed solutions? What is it that they all have in common?
The answer to these questions is fairly straightforward: it is a simple fact that the creators of these systems strive to intellectually isolate the problem. Once the problem has been stated, the almost knee-jerk reaction follows: do the opposite! It is a very common-sense approach -- for instance, if the problem is in the fact that the majority is assaulted by the poverty, let's organize ourselves in such a way that we "fix things" and produce material wealth. Or, conversely, let's condition them not to be obsessed with their poverty and the problems associated with it. By the same token, if humans feel so oppressed by their inherent free will that they feel it is a big burden on them, let's organize them in some sort of a system of slavery.
There is one unavoidable constant in each
of the numerous systems that have been proposed throughout the ages: nothing
seems to be working. Whatever has been attempted, has never produced any
fruit. People will be unhappy and miserable, and there is no system in
the world that can change that. "Nothing's gonna change my world".