Originally published January 28, 2011.
Republished September 2, 2015 after a web host transfer.
John Lennon advocated peace, but did not live peace. John Lennon repeatedly created conflict with individuals in his own life. All of the following references come from the book, John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman.
Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia, described him as needing to “shock and disgust people” (page 158).
Lennon had a “sarcastic tongue” and an “impulse to pillory human weakness or frailty wherever they revealed themselves”. Lennon targeted people with “cruel, usually pointless” practical jokes (page 182).
Lennon repeatedly mocked Stu Sutcliffe’s “musicianship and appearance” and made sure Stu always sat on the least comfortable seat on the van, “the metal ledge over the rear wheel”. Lennon repeatedly told Sutcliffe “he couldn’t sit with us or eat with us” (page 183).
Lennon shoplifted “jewelry, handkerchiefs, guitar stings, and a harmonica” (page 195).
During a concert in Germany, Lennon taunted his audience with the words “fuckin’ Nazis” and Hitlerites” (page 202).
Lennon called Brian Epstein “Eppy”, a name he knew Epstein hated and “wouldn’t care what he said to deflate” Epstein (page 257). Lennon’s “public cruelties” towards Epstein included “jibes at his race if not his sexuality” (page 503).
While in Germany, Lennon drew a picture of Jesus on the cross “with this big prick”. Lennon held up his picture on a balcony for everyone on the street to see (pages 267-268).
Again in Germany, Lennon put a table knife into his pocket after a meal. During a concert that night, “the first thing he does is pull out the knife and throw it at someone in the audience” ( pages 291-292).
Paul McCartney felt “bitterness” that Lennon made sure the songs they wrote together after the Please Please Me album would always be credited to “Lennon-McCartney” (page 297).
At a party to celebrate Paul McCartney’s twenty-first birthday, Lennon “repeatedly” punched DJ Bob Wooler “around the face and body”. Wooler suffered “bruised ribs and a black eye”. Lennon apologized under pressure, “muttering that he wasn’t sorry at all” (pages 310 and 311).
Alcohol could turn Lennon “moody, bellicose, cruel”. Even when sober Lennon could be “thoughtlessly malicious” (page 331).
Lennon’s attitude towards people with physical disabilities was “unrepentant mockery and mimicry” (page 334).
Lennon described George Harrison’s massively successful All Things Must Pass” album as “All right”. He described Paul McCartney’s McCartney album as “rubbish” and “so poor” (page 657).
In Paul McCartney’s Ram album, the song “Too Many People” suggested that Lennon had rejected the Beatles for Yoko Ono (page 668). On his Imagine album, Lennon included the song “How Do You Sleep?” in response to McCartney’s “Too Many People”. Biographer Philip Norman described McCartney’s attack as “mild and sidelong”. Norman described Lennon’s response as “violent and full-on, a nuclear missile answering a pinprick” (671-672).
In an interview Paul McCartney did with United Kingdom magazine Melody Maker, he said Lennon was the holdout to resolving their financial disputes. Lennon responded with a letter to the editor. Nine lines in the letter had to be removed “for fear of legal repercussions” (page 702).
Lennon spent time in Los Angeles where he wrote about his “gratuitous vandalism” in his diary (page 743).
John Lennon talked about peace but created conflict because he was in conflict with himself. He would have been able to create peace in his life only if he had been able to create peace with himself. If Lennon had understood his behavior style needs and how to satisfy them, he could have created some peace for himself.
Using the DISC behavior system, John Lennon was probably a High I. He enjoyed the spotlight when it satisfied his needs. He liked to talk, talking to reporters for hours during his first bed-in with his new wife, Yoko Ono. He used words to attack people when he felt stressed.
High I behavior style people like Lennon need recognition, approval, and admiration. They need to feel prestige. They need to maintain their dignity. They need support for their ideas.
Lennon could have gained peace with himself in two ways. First, he could have acknowledged the conflict he created and apologized for creating it. He could have figured out ways to work with people without sarcasm or insults.
Second, other people could have satisfied his needs. Concert audiences could have shown respect for Lennon by listening while he played his music, waiting to scream while they applauded. Audience members unable to sit quietly could have sung along with Lennon. Listening to Lennon would have preserved his dignity. Singing along with him would have shown support for the ideas behind his songs. That dignity and support would have given him prestige. Instead, Lennon’s continuously screaming audiences stripped him of his dignity, ignored his ideas, and denied him prestige for his ideas.
One tragedy of John Lennon’s life is that he did not have what he needed to be able create what he wanted. Fame did not satisfy Lennon’s needs. Wealth did not satisfy Lennon’s needs. Screaming audiences did not satisfy Lennon’s needs. John Lennon did not have the behavior style satisfaction he needed to be able to create the peace he wanted..
You can avoid the same tragedy in your life. Give yourself what you need so you have the ability to create what you want. Give your loved ones what they need so they have the ability to create what they want.
Visit smilessparksuccess.com for pages of information about satisfying DISC behavior style needs as well Spranger guiding value passions. Take advantage of the free PDF downloads for sparking both personal and professional success.
We could all create more of the peace John Lennon imagined by satisfying our own needs.
Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)
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