“Why is an artist whose work sounds like prayers and who sings of failure and guilt so popular in a country which appears to have lost all religion?”
The curious phenomenon of Leonard Cohen by Philipp W Rosemann (RTE: Apr 12, 2018) is an insightful essay on Leonard Cohen’s significance to contemporary life, especially as religion appears to be losing its ability to grant peace and succor. I’ve included an excerpt but do yourself a favor and read the entire piece (available at the link).
Cohen remained a seeker: a devout Jew who introduced his children to the faith of his fathers, a follower of Jesus, a monk in a Buddhist community in California, a disciple of a Hindu sage, a doubter, a hapless lover, a wonderful father, a sex maniac, an alcoholic … a human being.
Let me suggest that it is precisely this combination of contradictory attributes that makes Cohen attractive to us in the contemporary world. He was one of us, a human being who had lost the certainty that previous generations were able to enjoy. Cohen’s art does not gloss over the difficulties of contemporary life, but throws them into sharp relief—mercilessly, but also beautifully. He acknowledges the reality of suffering in a world that we increasingly expect to bend to our will. He encourages us not to give up on the quest for what really matters, even if we don’t know where the road may lead us.
Credit Due Department: Phots by Baggio – Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons