Come Together

By the way, you did know “Come Together” is about Jesus, right?  Go back and read the lyrics again.  “One thing I can tell you is you got to be free,” man.   Doesn’t matter what John thought he was writing about, and it definitely doesn’t matter what he says he wrote it about. (He claims it was sort of a stream-of-consciousness thing, which means we don’t have to agree to disagree.)

“Hold you in his armchair, you can feel his disease.”  If you don’t know to what disease John refers, you need to wake up.

Ask to be made wise.  I dare you.  Understand, there are certain ways you can ask that question in which you will be made one degree wiser than you asked.


“Old flattop” is an image from an old Chuck Berry song, about racing a flatbed semitruck down the Jersey Turnpike, that it was like flying.    Key to this image, I think, is the juxtaposition of speeding mass against “grooving up slowly.”

I believe “joo-joo” refers to spiritual weirdness; I think it sorts with “voo-doo” and “gris-gris” but not certain about that.

“Holy roller” is a dismissive term used to describe Christians, especially those prone to proselytizing.  I believe the dismissive tone is being used ironically.

“Hair down to his knees” refers to the white/western image of Christ, but I suspect it’s also meant to refer to hippie culture and the pathway toward spirituality that movement advocated.  I remember my Dad saying that hippies were walking around “looking like Jesus,” and I suspect he wasn’t the only one saying that back then, and that Lennon wasn’t the only one to appreciate the irony.

The bare foot is an important Christian symbol that recalls, among other things, the story of the woman washing His feet and drying them with her hair.  Am unable to parse that story theologically but it is a poignant image for many Christians.

I have no idea what monkey finger is, or the symbolic significance of shooting coca-cola.
“I know you, you know me” is an obvious biblical reference.  See Luke 12:7.  There are others, seems like I recall a similar passage in Matthew that’s more to the point; but like I said, last time I read the Bible was when I was a kid.

As I previously mentioned, “got to be free” I think speaks to liberation theology.

“Come together over me” reminds me of the Last Supper, the basis for the rite of Communion.

The next two lines are thought to be personal metaphors.  We can talk about the Oedipal complex, the tendency of straight males to see God as a woman, and to project that upon their love object if you like.

“Spinal cracker” refers to a type of doctor; it’s a rude reference to chiropractic physicians.  I suspect this is an ironic reference to the the legend that Christ proved his divinity by healing, which today Christians see as a metaphor for salvation.

“Feet down below his knees” gets the foot image in there again, and I think this is a reference to humanity, in the same sense that we say, “he puts his pants on one leg at a time.”

The “disease” is death, folks.  Once again, we emphasize the fact that Jesus was human. The idea of the avatar — that the Higher Power sometimes takes human form — is a powerful, ancient concept that is not limited to Christianity.   The story of the avatar shows God understands us.  Shows She loves us, actually.  Shows He’s on our team.  That’s the one thing Zen Buddhists, who claim not to believe in anything,  won’t let go of:  the avatar; or as they look at it, the Boddhisatva.  It’s a powerful image; don’t slam Christianity (or Zen) until you understand that.

Next three lines, who knows.  “Early warning” could be a reference to prophetic vision.

“One and one and one is three” hammers home the point as a reference to the Trinity. Trinitarian theology is rare, and the only extant faith that is trinitarian is Christianity.

These images most likely had been banging around in Lennon’s head since he was a little kid.  He was raised in an explicitly Christian culture; if you’re British, the Church of England has something to say about your cultural identity, even if you aren’t religious.  Some of those images — like that of the avatar — are banging around in all of our heads.  This is a critically important concept, and it is absolutely imperative that you understand this.  There is species-specific information in the subconscious mind, and this information takes the form of knowledge, not just behavior.  The concept of the avatar is knowledge that we all have.  This is a part of the Self that we share with other people.  **Pay attention:  there are aspects of the Self that transcend spatial and temporal boundaries.**

The official story is that Lennon wrote this song for Leary.  I think it’s obvious what his thoughts were about Leary.  That he was on to something.  That he was here to help us, and was persecuted as a result (because he had just been arrested for possession.)  He’s setting Leary up as a Christ figure.

People think Leary advocated for recreational drug use.  He did not.  Read “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test” and see what Leary’s persona really was like in the underground community back in the day.   Back then, they thought he was too darn serious, way too wrapped up in spirituality.  Compare that with the modern attitude toward Leary, which is that he was too shallow and flippant, that he wasn’t serious enough, that he was too wrapped up in his own ego.  That’s  the disconnect.  Funny thing is, “Come together” was Leary’s campaign slogan; he commissioned this song for his gubernatorial campaign.  Never used it.  I think we now know why.

This song might have started off as a comparison between Leary and Jesus, but the question then became, what is Jesus? I’ll give Lennon credit for having the courage to address that question, in the context of the time. The frequent use of irony shows he wasn’t that courageous.  But I’m still giving him credit.