“I tried all the conventional remedies [for depression] – wine, women and song. Nothing worked, including religion” Leonard Cohen On The Resolution Of His Clinical Depression

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For me, [the retreat at Mount Baldy Zen Center] was one of the many attempts I’ve made in the past thirty or forty years to address a condition known as acute clinical depression. I tried all the conventional remedies – wine, women and song. Nothing worked, including religion. But fortunately, this condition dissolved. [Interviewer: With being on the mountain?] I don’t know. I don’t know how it began or how it ended, but, thankfully, it did end. Nothing worked for me. Not the recreational drugs, nor the obsessional drugs, nor the pharmaceutical medications. The only effect Prozac had on me, I confused with a spiritual achievement – I thought I’d transcended my interest in women. I later learned the destruction of the libido is one of the side effects. But it’s a mysterious conclusion, because I really don’t know what happened. I read somewhere that as you get older, the brain cells associated with anxiety begin to die. [Pauses] A lot of other brain cells die, too, so you’ve got to watch out.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen on Becoming a Monk, Why His Opinions Don’t Matter by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone: Nov 8, 2001.

More about Leonard Cohen’s depression can be found at .  All Cohencentric posts on this issue are collected at .

“You know what the greatest thing would be. It would be to play a concert in front of 50,000 middle-aged people.” Leonard Cohen On The Wisdom Of Older People (1970)

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You know what the greatest thing would be. It would be to play a concert in front of 50,000 middle-aged people. God, that would be so great. If we could only get together. We could share things. God, these older people really do know what they’re talking about. They have wisdom. Young ideas could be mixed with them. Older people could add mature things. Oh yes, if we could get together. We must, you know, we really must. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Talks To Roy Hollingworth by Roy Hollingworth (Melody Maker: Sept 5, 1970). Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Thanks to Rike, who contributed this article.

“I see a time when Elders will be honored…” Leonard Cohen, 1968


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So many I speak to are in a personal moral crisis. We are in the midst of a moral revolution. I see a time when Elders will be honored. By the time the hippies are old, they may be the Elders and heal the gap between the generations. There will be a society when the old are consulted again.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Also see Leonard Cohen’s Lays Out His Mission In 1974: “To Become An Elder”

From Poet Writer Singer Lover Cohen by Paul Grescoe. Canadian Magazine: February 10, 1968.Photo from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, ASC01709. Originally posted April 13, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen invokes Yeats on aging: “‘A foolish passion in an old man,’ that’s not a bad calling…”

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What Yeats said about ‘a foolish passion in an old man,’ that’s not a bad calling. To stay alive in the heart and the spine and the genitals, to be sensitive to these delicious movements, is not a bad way to go.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993

DrHGuy Note: Leonard Cohen’s Yeats reference appears to be to the final line of A Prayer For Old Age by William Butler Yeats:

God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song’s sake a fool?

I pray—for word is out
And prayer comes round again—
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

Note: Originally posted Jan 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“You sense the destruction of your body & your mind, and you feel here is…the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.” Leonard Cohen


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The clear sense that you know you’re in the homeward stretch is a very compelling component in writing. A lot of other things fall away that you hope would satisfy you like human life, and your work becomes a kind of haven, and you want to go there, and you’re grateful when the time opens in such a way that you can actually sit down and work at your own work, because everything else somehow has failed. I’m speaking not just for myself. Somehow, just in the nature of things, you know, the disappointments accumulate, and the obstacles multiply and you sense the destruction of your body, and your mind, and you feel here is the last arena, ‘arena’ is too big, the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Coffee and candour with Cohen by Simon Houpt (Globe & Mail: Feb. 27, 2009). Originally posted July 25, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Growing Old “It’s one of the most compassionate ways of saying goodbye that the cosmos could devise …”


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It’s one of the most compassionate ways of saying goodbye that the cosmos could devise. I think it’s perfect. It’s an impeccable way to get off centre stage, and everything that happens to you seems so appropriate.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Life Of A Lady’s Man by Brian D. Johnson. Maclean’s: Dec 7, 1992. Originally posted Jul 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric