There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Now, DrHGuy is happy – nay, ecstatic to stipulate that this is a genuinely insightful and propitious conceit. In fact, it was DrHGuy who put together that nifty graphic atop this post in order to promote Leonard’s notion (see Leonard Cohen On The Light In Anthem).
It is, however, a poetic metaphor and, like most members of that species, it is oversimplified and hyperbolic. This is the nature of the beast. Any expression of a philosophical, intellectual, scientific, sociological… concept that takes into account every possible circumstance, outcome, interpretation, etc is less likely to be a song or poem than a dense treatise in a professional journal or, worse, a legal document. And no one, not even Leonard Cohen is going to win over an audience by singing the municipal zoning ordinances of Tempe, Arizona.
It seems that now “There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in” is approaching Hallelujah-levels of ubiquity in certain environments and have become correspondingly more frequently accepted as a universal axiom, obviating any need for critical assessment.
Seeing The Light
Consequently, it has become necessary to issue the following two clarifications:
1. The expression, “There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in” does not mean that cracks always let in light or only lets in light. The crack in the Titanic, for example, let in a boatload of the North Atlantic Ocean.
2. Nor does is the entry of light restricted to structural flaws. A well made, intact skylight, for instance, is designed to and quite frequently does let in a good deal of light, its lack of cracks notwithstanding.
Just keep those two points in mind, and we’ll all be better off.
Originally posted Jan 16, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric