“A confident people is not exclusive. A great religion affirms other religions. A great culture affirms other cultures. A great nation affirms other nations. A great individual affirms other individuals, validates the beingness of others.” Leonard Cohen 1994

From Jewish Book News Interview With Leonard Cohen By Arthur Kurzweil And Pamela Roth: 1994. Originally posted July 29, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I have no aspirations. My mind doesn’t work that way. I think more like—a dog, a TV set, and a woman by my side when I think of the really wonderful things.” Leonard Cohen

 

Do you aspire to dance naked, like David, in the streets?

quoteup2
I have no aspirations. My mind doesn’t work that way. I think more like—a dog, a TV set, and a woman by my side when I think of the really wonderful things… in those moments when those things can be appreciated, they all have the same value, the same weight. That’s what brings the peace… all things have the same weight in what we call peace. Those are the really lovely moments.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From My Long-Overdue Love Letter to Leonard Cohen by Elizabeth Boleman-Herring (Huffington Post: July 2, 2012). The quotation is from a June 18, 1988 interview. The photo of Leonard Cohen with Gershwin, Sharon Robinson’s black lab ©Herman Leonard Photography. The photo of Leonard Cohen and Rebecca De Mornay was taken by Gerrit Terstiege (1993). The image of Leonard Cohen getting lost in that hopeless little screen is a screenshot from Adrienne Clarkson’s 1989 documentary.

Q: What do you remember [about your childhood]? Leonard Cohen: “My mother crying. My father dying. My childhood was very ordinary.”

 

What do you remember [about your childhood]?

quoteup2
My mother crying. My father dying. My childhood was very ordinary. I always seemed to be living exactly the same childhood as all my friends. There were never any special stresses. Nothing extraordinary about it. I can’t even say that it’s extraordinary now. One’s own life is mysterious. The predicaments one finds oneself in at particular moments are the result of a web of inextricable circumstances which I certainly can’t penetrate. As you get older, you begin to accept the circumstances.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). Photo courtesy of Maarten Massa.

“[Democracy] makes people act, whether it’s for the good or the bad… But we see that the populations of the world are no longer content with their previous positions in regard to authority. Democracy makes everybody nervous.” Leonard Cohen 1993

quoteup2
I think we are on the edge of a democratic experiment. I think it has begun. I think that the idea has escaped into the world. It becomes a kind of necessity that is stronger than hope, and it will result in a tremendous amount of human suffering like all other ideas that get into the air like an infection. I don’t know whether there’s an absolute quality to democracy or to Islam or to Christianity, but it’s like fuel—it makes people act, whether it’s for the good or the bad, I couldn’t possibly decide. But we see that the populations of the world are no longer content with their previous positions in regard to authority. Democracy makes everybody nervous.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From The Future by Alberto Manzano (El Europeo: Spring 1993)

“My intentions run all the way from making a living to the highest and most arrogant aspirations of spirit seeking.” Leonard Cohen

LCMX2

Songs Sacred and Profane by Ira Mothner. Look: June 10, 1969. Photo from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, Originally posted Nov 13, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Please understand I never had a secret chart to get me to the heart of this or any other matter” Leonard Cohen Explains “Why I wouldn’t like to intrude on anybody’s life by trying to advise them”

quoteup2
That’s why I wouldn’t like to intrude on anybody’s life by trying to advise them. I mean the real truth about my visions is that I don’t have any special secret. I said it in a song. ‘Please understand I never had a secret chart to get me to the heart of this or any other matter’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Famous Last Words from Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman. Maclean’s: June 1972.

DrHGuy Note: The lines Leonard Cohen quotes, “Please understand I never had a secret chart to get me to the heart of this or any other matter,” are from the penultimate verse of The Stranger Song:

Well, I’ve been waiting, I was sure
we’d meet between the trains we’re waiting for
I think it’s time to board another
Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart of this
or any other matter
When he talks like this
you don’t know what he’s after
When he speaks like this,
you don’t know what he’s after.  [emphasis mine]

Note: Originally posted June 26, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The belief in a human fraternity, a compassionate society, people living in the name of something higher than their own greed has always been seductive to me.” Leonard Cohen On Political Systems

There was a lot going on in the world back then [late 1950s-early 1960s]: Israel, the Suez, the Cold War… Did you pick sides, did you have a strong opinion?

quoteup2
I backed everything. You can not suspect the megalomania that was my perspective in those times. It was true megalomania, but a strange one: I thought that the whole world was unfolding for the benefit of my observation and education. Everything that happened fit into my grand plan. I was not interested in practical problems. I had this plan, according to which everything had to be just so.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Were you satisfied with everything that was happening?

 

quoteup2
Yes, and I still am. For me, suffering was not a political issue, although I recognize that some systems produce more suffering than others. It would be idiotic not to recognize it. So I had the same feelings as everyone else vis-à-vis those systems; I was against them. But, on another level, I felt that suffering did not have a political origin, that it came from something much deeper, something inherent in the cross of human condition. I had no faith in my political opinions; they didn’t really interest me and they changed often. I was never really passionate about my opinions even back then. As you get older you see people adopt all kinds of nonsense. At one point or another every French intellectual was a Maoist, as if China had had a real alternative to the American industrial experience. You begin to see that these positions were absurd, that all these reservoirs of thought were totally exhausted. The left, for example, only survived in France for a time or in Italy where communist ideas had a real validity. Of course those ideas were very attractive to me but so were those in the Bible: I was always drawn to messianic ideas. The belief in a human fraternity, a compassionate society, people living in the name of something higher than their own greed has always been seductive to me.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate.

“Enter any bar and have a drink with the guy next to you…” Leonard Cohen On “The Essence Of A Human Life”

Sitting next to Leonard Cohen & having tea, only in NY 🙂

A post shared by @Mazi (@mazinadjm) on

quoteup2
Enter any bar and have a drink with the guy next to you. I have never met people who do not talk about the same thing: love sought, love lost, challenges missed, the things they are proud of, those who betrayed them, those who have been loyal to them. It’s the essence of a human life. I have never met someone whose inner life seemed very different from mine.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate.