More about this theme that endured throughout Leonard Cohen’s career as a singer-songwriter can be found at Leonard Cohen Lays Out His Mission In 1974: “To Become An Elder”
Sexual thoughts are supposed to come regularly once every six seconds. Whatever the statistic was, I wasn’t exempt from it, and am still not. I find a broadening of desire, if anything, as you get older.
From Cohen Heads Back to The Future by Spencer Bright. London Daily Mail: December 11, 1992. Originally posted Jan 15, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
For me, [the retreat at Mount Baldy Zen Center] was one of the many attempts I’ve made in the past thirty or forty years to address a condition known as acute clinical depression. I tried all the conventional remedies – wine, women and song. Nothing worked, including religion. But fortunately, this condition dissolved. [Interviewer: With being on the mountain?] I don’t know. I don’t know how it began or how it ended, but, thankfully, it did end. Nothing worked for me. Not the recreational drugs, nor the obsessional drugs, nor the pharmaceutical medications. The only effect Prozac had on me, I confused with a spiritual achievement – I thought I’d transcended my interest in women. I later learned the destruction of the libido is one of the side effects. But it’s a mysterious conclusion, because I really don’t know what happened. I read somewhere that as you get older, the brain cells associated with anxiety begin to die. [Pauses] A lot of other brain cells die, too, so you’ve got to watch out.
From Leonard Cohen on Becoming a Monk, Why His Opinions Don’t Matter by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone: Nov 8, 2001.
More about Leonard Cohen’s depression can be found at Depression & Leonard Cohen.. All Cohencentric posts on this issue are collected at
You know what the greatest thing would be. It would be to play a concert in front of 50,000 middle-aged people. God, that would be so great. If we could only get together. We could share things. God, these older people really do know what they’re talking about. They have wisdom. Young ideas could be mixed with them. Older people could add mature things. Oh yes, if we could get together. We must, you know, we really must.
From Leonard Cohen Talks To Roy Hollingworth by Roy Hollingworth (Melody Maker: Sept 5, 1970). Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Thanks to Rike, who contributed this article.
So many I speak to are in a personal moral crisis. We are in the midst of a moral revolution. I see a time when Elders will be honored. By the time the hippies are old, they may be the Elders and heal the gap between the generations. There will be a society when the old are consulted again.
From Poet Writer Singer Lover Cohen by Paul Grescoe. Canadian Magazine: February 10, 1968.Photo from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, ASC01709. Originally posted April 13, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
What Yeats said about ‘a foolish passion in an old man,’ that’s not a bad calling. To stay alive in the heart and the spine and the genitals, to be sensitive to these delicious movements, is not a bad way to go.
From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993
DrHGuy Note: Leonard Cohen’s Yeats reference appears to be to the final line of A Prayer For Old Age by William Butler Yeats:
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;
From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song’s sake a fool?
I pray—for word is out
And prayer comes round again—
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.
Note: Originally posted Jan 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric