Leonard Cohen On The Significance Of “A Manual For Living With Defeat”

We are all living defeat and with failure and with disappointment and with bewilderment. We are all living with these dark forces that modify our lives. I think the ‘Manual For Defeat’ is to first of all acknowledge that everyone suffers, that everyone is engaged in a mighty struggle for self-respect, for meaning, for significance. I think the first step would be to recognise that your struggle is the same as everyone else’s struggle, and that your suffering is the same as everyone else’s suffering. “I think that’s the beginning of a responsible life, otherwise you’re in a continual savage battle with each other. Unless we recognise that each of us suffer in the same way there’s no possible solution: political or social or spiritual. So that would be the beginning, the recognition that we all suffer.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


“A manual for living with defeat” is from the lyrics of Going Home:

He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat

Cohen’s description of a Manual For Living With Defeat is only one part of Q Magazine’s piece on The London Preview Of Popular Problems. This is the Best Of Show in its category: Column – “I’m a closet optimist…” Last night in London with Leonard Cohen by Paul Stokes (Q Magazine: September 17, 2014)

Note: Originally posted September 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric