Leonard Cohen On Suffering & Grief #3: “You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.”

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It is, I think, a matter of tradition. You have a tradition on the one hand that says if things are bad we should not dwell on the sadness, that we should play a happy song, a merry tune. Strike up the band and dance the best we can, even if we are suffering from concussion. And then there’s another tradition, and this is a more Oriental or Middle Eastern tradition, which says that if things are really bad the best thing to do is sit by the grave and wail, and that’s the way you are going to feel better. I think both these efforts are intended to lift the spirit. And my own tradition, which is the Herbraic tradition, suggests that you sit next to the disaster and lament. The notion of the lamentation seemed to me to be the way to do it. You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: Leonard Cohen – London, June 1974 by Allan Jones. Uncut: Dec 2008.

Leonard Cohen On Suffering & Grief #2

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There are people in mourning; there’s shock and grief. I really feel that an analysis of the situation from any point of view is premature. Regardless of what position we come from, we are all involved in some kind of way. And, as I say, in the Jewish tradition, one is cautioned against trying to comfort the comfortless in the midst of their bereavement. The most I can hope for is that the songs [from the Ten New Songs album] in some small way have some utility in providing solace, because they are gentle and on the side of healing in some sort of way.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, quoted in Look Who’s Back at 67: Gentle Leonard Cohen by Frank DiGiacomo (New York Observer, Oct 15, 2001)

Leonard Cohen On Suffering & Grief #1

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As I grew older, I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen’s 2011 Prince Of Asturias Awards Speech

Note: Originally posted Jun 9, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric