Lessons From Leonard Cohen: “Our Duty Is To Transcend Sorrow”

A Manual For Living With Defeat

Lessons From Leonard Cohen – A Manual For Living With Defeat is a collection of Leonard Cohen’s observations that offer insight into living in this imperfect world. (For information about how this series differs from other collections of so-called lessons from Leonard Cohen, see Lessons From Leonard Cohen – Introduction.)

Lesson #6: “Our duty is to transcend sorrow”

I don’t think you can regard whatever condition you are in as an experiment. When you’re in it, you are in it and our duty is to transcend sorrow. Nobody wants to stick around in these places. If you’ve got ways of getting out of them, I think it’s your responsibility to do so. As far as joy is concerned, the more the better. At the moment? I have a few laughs.1

I feel that, more and more, I need to be strong and cheerful, to greet the daily events, the daily abrasions that seem to greet me.2

More Lessons From Leonard Cohen

All posts in this series can be found at

Cohencentric Lessons From Leonard Cohen
A Manual For Living With Defeat

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  1. Posted at Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).  Sabatoge Times 22 March 2011 although the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). [emphasis mine] []
  2. Leonard Cohen…What’s Your Problem? Doom and Gloom by Patrick Humphries (Vox: February, 1993) [emphasis mine] []