Yoko Ono at the Union: 10 best quotes with translations
On Friday evening, the really lovely elderly widow of John Lennon came to the Cambridge Union and said lots of really lovely things
If you were at the Union last night, you probably didn’t understand much of what Yoko Ono said. Unless, of course, you were high – like Yoko was (back in the day, obviously, not last night, obvs).
Yoko began with a wonderful speech about the “metallic voices” of today’s capitalist society and then, after a swig directly from the rim of a litre glass bottle of water, took ten moderated questions. Not that she really needed a moderator. More pressing was a translator.
Given this, here are her best (slightly adapted) quotes – with translations.
“We’re searching for a planet not to make friends but to colonise. . . . We Earth beings are ready to fight any-time to get our way.”
Yoko thinks humans are greedy and violent. She says this a lot. It is definitely not self-evident.
“Humanity is like a collage. Each little piece which is you we need for us.”
Yoko evidently has her own badly-worded variation of the common metaphor that ‘the sum of the parts make up the whole’.
“It is you who will tell you what to do is you.”
Yoko seems to be emphasising self-belief. But it’s slightly confusing.
“Many tragedies happen in the world and not just New York.”
Yoko thinks 9/11 is a bit overblown. She thinks the US did not know how to deal with it – the “tragedy” was their response to it.
ON BEING COMMITTED AND PROUD
“Commitment is a heavy word. I am committed to life. . . . I am most proud of surviving up till now. I think we should be proud, despite the incredible power against us.”
Yoko doesn’t like to commit – committing is a big deal. She does concede she’s committed to life. Which is heartening. And, no, there wasn’t an assassination attempt yesterday – Yoko is just proud to be alive. She is generally proud of being proud.
ON WHAT SHE THINKS TO BE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG
“Everything is beautiful. Any song that touches you is beautiful to you.”
Yoko said she would “not mention my own songs.”
ON VESTED INTERESTS AND WAR
“That is all just in your head . . . Human race is blessed with a brain that has elasticity – you can change it tomorrow; the brain is a weapon, sorry, an instrument.”
Yoko says the problem of the “establishment” and established interests – corporations and governments – in blocking world peace “is all just in your head.”
“It’s not just racism as much as sexism, ageism . . . these things just exist. We should not consider them things to think about.”
These things “just” exist, according to Yoko. Don’t think about them – think about “love” instead, she says.
Yoko is adamant about this. We’re not so sure. Clearly, Yoko isn’t stupid.
“Grow into beautiful, beautiful blossom.”
Yoko said goodbye. What a lovely, beautiful, lovely way to end.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know about Yoko Ono. YOLO. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had quite enough of the Union’s Beatles-themed line-up.