Q: So you did not think in terms of provocation? Leonard Cohen: “I am more interested in reconciliation than in victory – reconciliation of different parts of society.”

So you did not think in terms of provocation [when writing Let Us Compare Mythologies]?

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I am more interested in reconciliation than in victory – reconciliation of different parts of society. I have always been in favor of an army, even at the height of the Vietnam War. Of course there must be an army, there must be hierarchies, classes. The institutions are OK. The problem is the people in these institutions. It is difficult to establish institutions, it takes a lot of time, especially democratic institutions. The form is not the problem, the problem is the content. We can clearly see in the East that the forms established in one night by manifesto were theoretically not organic forms, that they did not work. I have always instinctively felt the beauty of the forms we had [in the West], that it was not necessary to challenge and overturn them in a formal sense. That’s why I thought these revolutions were superficial – all the revolutions, in this case those inspired by Moscow, those that the leftists praised at that time. There is always the temptation to think that you live in the worst time, that everything must be revised. My sense was that I had no insight, no opinion on that.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via computer translation. Photos by Johann Agust Hansen