George Harrison’s hypocritical stance on faith


As an icon of the seismic cultural shift that was the Sixties, George Harrison had so much to say about faith and spirituality. Certainly, the affect of his curiosity in yogic practices and Jap non secular philosophies even made its means into The Beatles‘ music and, by extension, standard tradition.

Harrison found Jap faith via his love of classical Indian music, a ardour which was sparked by David Crosby and, later, by Roger McGuinn, who launched him to the work of Ravi Shankar, the famend sitar participant who would go on to change into Harrison’s mentor.

As he turned a extra assured participant, he began including sitar traces to The Beatles’ recordings, corresponding to that of their 1965 hit ‘Norweigian Wooden’. That very same yr, Harrison determined to journey as soon as once more to India, the place he was set to proceed his research with Shankar. Indian society couldn’t have felt extra totally different from the fire-and-brimstone catholicism that Harrison and his bandmate Paul McCartney had been purchased up on of their native Liverpool. “The distinction over right here is that their faith is each second and each minute of their lives,” Harrison mentioned of India. He clearly felt a connection to the non secular heritage of the nation, however the identical can’t be mentioned of Christianity.

“And to go on to faith, I feel faith falls flat on its face. All this ‘love thy neighbour’, however none of them are doing it,” Harrison as soon as mentioned throughout a very inflammatory interview. “How can anyone get themselves into the place of being Pope and settle for all of the glory and the cash and the Mercedes-Benz and that? I might by no means be Pope till I’d bought my wealthy gates and my posh hat. I couldn’t sit there with all that cash on me and imagine I used to be spiritual.”

For Harrison, it was the hypocrisy of institutionalised faith, and extra particularly the church, that actually angered him. “That’s one thing I would like you to get down in my article,” he instructed the interviewer. “Why can’t we deliver all this out within the open? Why is there all these things about blasphemy? If Christianity’s nearly as good as they are saying it’s, it ought to stand as much as a bit of dialogue.”

Curiously, nevertheless, Harrison clearly internalised a few of the basic concepts that underpin western faith. In a separate interview, he made his distaste for lecturers and different authority figures very clear, arguing: “Infants when they’re born, are pure,” he mentioned. “Regularly they get extra impure with all of the garbage being pumped into them by society and tv and that; until step by step they’re dying off, filled with every thing.”

Harrison’s concept that individuals are born harmless and are step by step made impure by society sounds so much just like the distinctly Christian idea of sin to me. However, for Harrison, it was not the satan drawing folks into temptation, however mass tradition – a tradition he was an important a part of. It’s these contradictions that make Harrison such an fascinating and sophisticated character, and which maybe clarify the constant reappraisal of his personal spirituality. It was as if he was at all times in search of one thing, trying to find some sense of that means in an more and more materialistic and unfeeling world.

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