George Harrison Wrote ‘I Me Mine’ After Watching a European Ball on TV but It’s Really About ‘the Eternal Problem’

After watching a fancy European ball on TV, George Harrison wrote The Beatles’ “I Me Mine.”

The ball, which showed the aristocracy dressed to the nines and wearing all kinds of jewels, made George think of self-centeredness. However, by the time George finished writing the simple song, it was about something deeper than pomp and circumstance.

George Harrison in a jacket posing at Apple Headquarters in London, 1969.
George Harrison | Mirrorpix/Getty Images

George Harrison wrote ‘I Me Mine’ after watching a European ball on TV

In Part 1 of Peter Jackson’s new three-part documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, George told Ringo Starr and director Michael Lindsay-Hogg about a song he’d written the night before.

He’d watched a BBC 2 program called Out Of The Unknown the night before. After that, a program called Europa came on, which was “a look at pomp and circumstances through European eyes.”

The waltz scene inspired George to write “I Me Mine.” He played it for the rest of the group, but they didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about it.

So, in one of his snarkier moments of the documentary, George said he didn’t “give a f*** if they wanted the song.” He’d put it in his musical.

The glitz and the glam of the European ball in Europa might have inspired George to write “I Me Mine.”

However, the lyrics quickly became something else. The song had a deeper meaning.

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George’s ‘I Me Mine’ morphed deeper into ‘the eternal problem’

In 1980, George named his memoir I Me Mine. It represented a “slightly cynical trinity of pronouns.” Everything that George had done in his life didn’t come from him; it came from God. So, he named the book I Me Mine as a joke.

In I Me Mine, George explained the song had a deeper meaning, just like the book title.

“‘I Me Mine’ is the ‘ego’ problem,” George wrote. “There are two ‘I’s: the little ‘i’ when people say ‘I am this’; and the big ‘I’, i.e. OM, the complete whole, universal consciousness this is void of duality and ego. There is nothing that isn’t part of the complete whole.

“When the little ‘i’ merges into the big ‘I’ then you are really smiling! So there is the little ego—the little ‘i’—which is like a drop of the ocean. Swami Vivekananda says, ‘Each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest that divinity.’

“We have to realise that we are potentially divine and then manifest that divinity—which is to get rid of the little ‘i’ by the drop becoming merged into the big ‘I'(the ocean).”

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LSD put the ego problem into perspective

In I Me Mine, George explained that LSD put the ego problem into perspective. “I supposed having LSD was like someone catapulting me out into space. The LSD experience was the biggest experience that I’d had up until that time,” George wrote.

“The mind goes so fast and so far, and I had flashes realisations, where I would work out the whole Universe and then get back to the starting point and think, ‘S***—I’m back to where I started’ because relativity goes round and round. It actually left me confused for a while, and after one dose of acid I felt I was stuck in this thing, which later I realised is called ‘relativity.’

“So the big ‘I’ I’m talking about is the absolute, whereas we’re in the relative where everything is good-bad, yes-no, up-down, black-white. That’s why they called it the heaven and hell drug! But life is heaven and hell, we see it as, or make it into, hell or heaven: there’s no heaven and hell beyond relativity.

“So suddenly, I looked around and everything I could see was relative to my ego, like ‘that’s my piece of paper’ and ‘that’s my flannel’ or ‘give it to me‘ or ‘I am’. It drove me crackers; I hated everything about my ego—it was a flash of everything false and impermanent which I disliked.

“But later, I learned from it: to realise that there is somebody else in here apart from old blabbermouth (that’s what I felt like—I hadn’t seen or heard or done anything in my life, and yet I hadn’t stopped talking). Who am ‘I’ became the order of the day.

“Anyway, that’s what came out of it: ‘I Me Mine’. The truth within us has to be realised: when you realise that everything else that you see and do and touch and smell isn’t real, then you may know what reality is and can answer the question ‘Who am I?’

“Allen Klein thought it was an Italian song—you know, ‘Cara Mia Mine’, but it’s about the ego: the eternal problem…”

So, George’s “I Me Mine” is about self-centeredness, but it’s also about something more profound. But George’s songs always had a deeper meaning.

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