“There’s enjoyment that comes through seriousness …” Leonard Cohen explains “why I write such sad songs”

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Why I Write Such Sad Songs: It isn’t that I choose to. This is what I am. Seriousness, rather than depression is, I think, the characteristic of my work. I like a good laugh, but I think there’s enjoyment that comes through seriousness. We all know when we close the door and come into your room and you’re left with your heart and your emotions, it isn’t all that funnyquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Yakety Yak: Midnight Confessions and Revelations of 37 Rock Stars & Legends by Scott Cohen (Fireside: June 21, 1994). Photo by Rama (Own work) [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted May 4, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Clarity, Mystery, And Keeping Your Mouth Shut – According To Leonard Cohen


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Clarity is one of the things I like to go for. I don’t think we’re ever free from this mysterious mechanism, though. Mystery can go all the way from not knowing what to do with yourself to standing in awe at the vast activity of the cosmos which no man can penetrate. I don’t think we’re ever free from any of that. On the other hand, you can’t go around continually expressing your awe before these celestial mechanics. These are things that maybe we should keep to ourselves. I think that we’re surrounded by, infused with and operate on a mysterious landscape, every one of us. It’s something to keep your mouth shut about if it really is a mystery.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabatoge Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). Originally posted January 6, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Guilt: “Guilt should be studied and embraced and understood and blessed …”


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I think that to do violence to guilt is a great mistake, to establish a medicine based on dissolving guilt is folly. On the contrary, I think guilt should be studied and embraced and understood and blessed.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Cohen Heads Back to The Future by Spencer Bright. London Daily Mail: December 11, 1992. Originally posted January 14, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Q: Does [beauty] transform the world? Leonard Cohen: “I don’t know about the world. Beauty certainly does something for me. I’m a sucker for it.”

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabatoge Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). Originally posted Jan 30, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s “Nothing in this human realm is meant to work…” Quote Draws 30,000+ Hits – Why That Matters (Maybe)

Since its May 16, 2017 publication, the post, “Nothing in this human realm is meant to work. So once you can deeply appreciate that…the mind of compassion grows if you understand that everybody’s up against it.” Leonard Cohen, has garnered more than 30,000 hits on this site alone (to put this in perspective, Cohencentric.com routinely draws 5,000-6,000 unique views over 24 hours, and the most popular post on a given day routinely accounts for a few hundred of those hits)  – as well as many, many more views on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

This is noteworthy for several reasons:

1. This post didn’t mark a special occasion. Hits have often increased by magnitudes of 10-20 when, for example, albums were issued, honors awarded, birthdays celebrated … .  This post was not tied to an extraordinary event. In fact, when previously posted Dec 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric, this quotation drew less than 100 views.

2. It’s not a short, simple post. The advice almost universally proffered to those posting on blogs, Facebook and other social media is “keep it short.” The admonition from Anatomy of a Perfect Facebook Post: Exactly What to Post to Get Better Results is representative: “A perfect Facebook post …  is brief—40 characters or fewer.”1  It turns out that Leonard uttered only a few pithy pronouncements – and this isn’t one of them. Viewers had to read more than 40 characters. More significantly, the thoughts expressed were neither simple or intuitive.

3. It’s not a visual post. The post centered not on a great photo, a musical performance, or even an interview video but on printed words, There is a photo that’s interesting but would hardly be a draw presented in isolation and there is a link to the interview video from which the quote was taken, but fewer than 10% of viewers also went to the video,

4. The hits were overwhelmingly generated by Facebook. On occasion, Cohencentric posts have benefited from links that appeared on fan sites for Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Berry, and others. And sometimes, the Google algorithm du jour have resulted in an influx of viewers. Heck, there have been Cohencentric links published in the New York Times, Mojo, Rolling Stone, and other notable publications. In this case, however, the referral source was Facebook. The stats app for Cohencentric lacks the sophistication to indicate which Facebook pages contributed but experience indicates that the Cohen fan pages alone don’t generate this volume of views. (The official Leonard Cohen Page does sometimes cause tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of views, but no link to this post appeared there.)

Why The Popularity Of This Quotation Is Important – Maybe

The significance is, in a sense, obvious: the message conveyed by Leonard’s quotation clearly registered with a large number of folks. That doesn’t mean, by the way, that everyone agreed with the concept. It does mean that it engaged a massive audience – without the benefit of a Leonard Cohen musical performance or a Leonard Cohen poem or anything more than a portion of a transcript of a 1997 interview held at Leonard’s cabin at the Mount Baldy Zen Center. It’s the unadorned notion that struck a chord. Now, that’s remarkable.

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  1. Length is not the only issue article dealt with by this article; it’s just the bit that applies here. []

Leonard Cohen on “The reanimation of the blood-lust which human beings seem to fall back on whenever they get mildly bewildered about their predicament” 1994


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As I said, ‘I have seen the future baby, it is murder.’  I would say one of the consequences is going to be tremendous disorder and the reanimation of the blood-lust which human beings seem to fall back on whenever they get mildly bewildered about their predicament. When the Berlin Wall came down, I wrote, ‘Give me back the Berlin Wall, give me Stalin and Saint Paul’ — there weren’t many people saying that at the time.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From A Purple Haze To A Purple Patch by Adam Sweeting (The Canberra Times: July 24, 1994)