Leonard Cohen On Dealing With Disaster: “You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.”


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.

3 Replies to “Leonard Cohen On Dealing With Disaster: “You don’t avoid the situation – you throw yourself into it, fearlessly.””

  1. Dennis

    It still feels somehow wrong to wake up in the morning and then remembering that has rally gone.
    You know that feeling when you drive by a place where you know some friend or member of your family lives and it feels somehow warm and connected, even though you might not have been in contact for a while? Just you feel good knowing the person is living his or her life there right now. And when this person someday moves or dies, this place suddenly starts to feel hollow, cold and even hostile in a way every time you drive by then?

    That’s how it feels about the world every morning now when I wake up and remember he’s gone for good.

    Still sometimes I can’t really face it.
    So I wrote about it.


    the mind is slow,
    the news are fast.
    Still cannot grasp
    the facts.

    the mind is slow,
    the heart is sore.
    Still cannot grasp
    the loss.

    the mind is slow,
    the soul is blunt.
    I cannot grasp
    the bitter truth.

    Just cannot grasp
    at all.