Leonard Cohen’s “That’s How The Light Gets In” Methodology May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Today’s post focuses on establishing limits of validity of these well known lines from Leonard Cohen’s Anthem:

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.


Skylight photo by NordhornerIIOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Originally posted Jan 16, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen: An Illustrated Record By Mike Evans – Published Oct. 18, 2018

Dominique BOILE forwards these images from a volume he just acquired: Leonard Cohen: An Illustrated Record by Mike Evans. The following excerpt is from the Amazon site:

For more than four decades, Leonard Cohen’s mournful ballads of desire, heartbreak and lost faith have captivated audiences the world over. Now more popular than ever, the award-winning Canadian songwriter, novelist and poet is revered as a cultural icon and master of his craft. Published to coincide with Cohen’s 80th birthday in September 2014, this is the first complete guide to his studio and live albums. Offering a comprehensive overview of each LP – from writing and recording through to release and legacy – Leonard Cohen: An Illustrated Record is a richly illustrated tribute to the body of recorded work that has made Cohen a legend in his own lifetime.


Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Plexus (18 Oct. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0859655199
ISBN-13: 978-0859655194

“And if you want a doctor, I’ll examine every precious inch of you” Leonard Cohen Performs I’m Your Man – Dublin 2012

Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
Featuring Alex Bublitchi On Violin & Roscoe Beck On “Please”

Dublin: Sept 12, 2012
Video by

Originally posted Sep 13, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Landscapes Of The Spirit By David Peloquin; Photomontage By Martin Ferrabee – Part One: Initiation



Leonard Cohen has often been called a mystic, and ruminations on mysticism have always revolved around him and his work. This essay will not address the question of whether he was or was not a mystic. What I offer here a way to place the work of Leonard Cohen within the context of the great spiritual traditions by simply pointing out that much of his visionary art is resonant with the timeless perennial insights of the ages. I will offer examples where Leonard Cohen’s songs and poetry can be correlated with the traditional levels or stages of higher consciousness given by these wisdom traditions. As a unifying theme, we will follow the thread of Leonard Cohen’s lifelong relationship with the feminine Muse through initiation, communion, and union.

The Stages or Atmospheres of Consciousness

The metaphor of a Jacob’s Ladder to higher consciousness, with several rungs on which the seeker climbs in a specific sequence, is a familiar motif in the wisdom schools. Stage models are helpful as long as we remember that they are maps of the ascending order; not the actual territory itself. The depths or heights of spirit are often described as landscapes because they are, as Cohen explained, inhabitable. Here is a quote from Cohen the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca:

[Lorca] was the first poet who really touched me. I remember coming upon a book of his when I was fifteen or sixteen, and the universe he revealed and the lands he inhabited seemed very familiar. I think that’s what you look for when you read poetry; you look for someone to illuminate a landscape that you thought you alone walked on. Lorca did that for me.1

Continue Reading →

  1. Aurora Online With Leonard Cohen. An interview with Leonard Cohen by Marco Adria: July: 1990 []

Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker, Featured In Assassins Creed Origins Wins 2018 Best Sync Video Game Trailer

Best Trailer category:

Metro Exodus—Angel by Massive Attack
Football Manager—This Moment by Blossoms & Chase & Status
Onrush—Crevasse by The Qemists
The Crew 2—Fire by Barns Courney
Pro Evolution 2019—Ready or Not by Gizzle
Fallout 76—Take me Home, Country Roads by Copilot Music + Sound
Assassin’s Creed Origins—You Want it Darker by Leonard Cohen

“As far as I can see this is my last tour” Leonard Cohen 1972

As far as I can see this is my last tour. But the will is frail and I may fall back and it might take 10 more tours to finally quit, or this might be it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Famous Last Words from Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman. Maclean’s: June 1972. Originally posted Jun 25, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I did not come home to fool you” Leonard Cohen Performs Hallelujah – Montreal 2012

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Montreal: Nov 28, 2012
Video by Dirk Schlimm

Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Note: The best available video of each of the 43 songs performed during the 2012 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour can be found at the Best Of 2012 Leonard Cohen Tour Video Setlist.

Originally posted Nov 29, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric