Top Ten Favorite Leonard Cohen Quotations: Voting Results

The top ten vote-winners from this past week’s balloting follow:

10. What happened to me was not that I got any answers, but that the questions dissolved. [Leonard Cohen on his time with Ramesh Balsekar]

From Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness by Mikal Gilmore (Rolling Stone: 30 November 2016)

9. [Leonard Cohen’s advice for success with women:] Listen well. Then listen some more. And when you think you are done listening. listen some more.

From What I Learned from My Wise Uncle Leonard Cohen by Jonathan Greenberg (Sonoma Independent: November 14, 2016).

8. There is no point in trying to forestall the apocalypse. The bomb has already gone off. We are now living in the midst of its aftermath. The question is: How can we live with this knowledge with grace and kindness?

From Stories Done: Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents by Mikal Gilmore. Simon and Schuster, Nov 11, 2008. The interview with Cohen from which this quotation is drawn took place in 1988.

7. I’m very fond of Jesus Christ. He may be the most beautiful guy who walked the face of this earth. Any guy who says “Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek” has got to be a figure of unparallelled generosity and insight and madness…A man who declared himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing would weather that compassion.

From Leonard Cohen In His Own Words by Jim Devlin.

6. I’ve also studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through.

From 2008 Tour stage banter.

5. The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.

From Leonard Cohen Returns to the Road, for Reasons Both Practical and Spiritual by Larry Rohter. New York Times: Feb 24, 2009.

4. To keep our hearts open is probably the most urgent responsibility you have as you get older.

From Leonard Cohen Interviewed by Anjelica Huston. Interview magazine: November, 1995.

3. The only moment that you can live here comfortably in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment when you embrace it all and you say ‘Look, I don’t understand a fucking thing at all – Hallelujah!

From How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns by John McKenna. RTE: May 9 & 12, 1988.

2. I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.

From a 1992 French TV interview.

1. The real weapons of mass destruction are the hardened hearts of humanity.

From First & Last (Norwegian TV show) March, 2007.


4 Replies to “Top Ten Favorite Leonard Cohen Quotations: Voting Results”

  1. Dolores

    I began liking Leonard Cohen in my early teens; it surprised me that I had not seen this quote. Also much older now I too know that I do not have all or any the answers, nor do I need all the answers.
    I feel fortunate to have seen him once in concert.
    There are so many of his quotes that are my favourites.

    10. What happened to me was not that I got any answers, but that the questions dissolved. [Leonard Cohen on his time with Ramesh Balsekar]

  2. Ria Bellen

    Thank you for sharing this Allan !!! I voted for this quotation to be number one. Let’s keep our heart open !

  3. PAT White

    Again, thankyou for all of these wondrous and grand memories!!! So much sadness brought so much gladness!!!!!