From Leonard Cohen, Personal Interview with Winfried Siemerling. 2 November 1990, North York. Unpublished. Quoted in Interior Landscapes and the Public Realm: Contingent Mediations in a Speech and a Song by Leonard Cohen by Winfried Siemerling. Canadian Poetry: No. 33, Fall/Winter, 1993. Originally posted March 29, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I’m not astounded at the various forms of aberrated behaviour that are reported or seen. I’m surprised there isn’t more considering what people are up against today. As I see it, just walking the streets of the various cities I visit, I’m surprised that people are so kind and so compassionate and still so considerate, considering the kinds of conditions that we’re living in today. I mean they aren’t that bad, I guess. When I pull up at a stop sign in the middle of the winter or a bus stop and there are 20 people waiting out there in the cold to get their bus at 5 or 6 in the morning, I’m surprised that the social fabric is still holding, that they don’t pull me out of my car. I’m surprised that the thing holds together. I think there is a tremendous amount of goodwill in the United States. I am always surprised as I say, that the thing holds together, that people are really as good to one another as they are.
From Leonard Cohen: A Portrait in First Person. Interviewer: Moses Znaimer. CBC, 1988.
Credit Due Department: Photo “Leonard Cohen, 1988 01” by Gorupdebesanez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons. Originally posted March 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Everybody’s kind of hanging onto their broken orange crate in the flood, and when you pass someone else, to declare yourself an optimist or a pessimist, or pro-abortion or against abortion, or a conservative or a liberal, these descriptions are obsolete in the face of the catastrophe that everybody’s really dealing with.
Note: Originally posted January 25, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Not having a self is what we all most passionately desire. We desire it in love, we desire it in food, we desire it visually in sunsets. We want to give ourselves to experience and when you give yourself to an experience you have no self, and that’s why it feels good.
From Leonard Cohen Discusses Spirituality (in no certain terms): CBC-Television 1997. Originally posted July 15, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I really like that life, it’s very regulated and it has some kind of a military crispness to it . And then, you’re doing it for a reason, it’s not to build up your muscles, it’s not just a macho exercise, it’s to kind of cook your mind so that you can hear what you’re saying, because you can’t hear what you’re saying if you’re full of yourself. … you know most of us are not open most of the time, we pretend that we are open, but mostly you’re running your own dramatic event of which you are the hero or the heroine. Usually that’s what we are doing most of the time.
So there you get so tired that you can’t pretend, and that’s all that a monastery is. They make you so tired that you give up pretending.
The youth stops being so important, you’ re too tired to maintain the hero that you think you are or the failure that you think you are, whatever the version of yourself that you bought into is … Those versions of yourself are not very useful. I mean, they’re useful when you’ve got to operate, but they’re not useful up there. We all need those versions of ourselves, and it’s perfectly alright. I mean – you’ve got to be an interviewer, I’ve got to be the guy who has written Suzanne or whatever it is – we have to be the things that we are, so that the enterprise can unfold appropriately. But when you’re up there, those versions of yourself they’re not useful. They make sure through lack of sleep, and hard work that, if you’re lucky you can let those things go and actually learn a thing or two. You just get a little more open.
From a 2005 interview with Kari Hesthamar for Norwegian radio
Credit Due Department: Photo by Cynthia Krause from Whittier, California – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted October 15, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric