One idea on [The Future] is that the human predicament has no solution. We were tossed out of the garden; this isn’t paradise. And to look for perfect solutions is a very difficult burden to bear. That’s my theme: It’s a mess – thank God.
From “7 Reasons Leonard Cohen Is the Next-Best Thing to God” by David Browne. Entertainment Weekly, Jan 8, 1993.
Kristine McKenna: I asked Leonard Cohen, “What’s your idea of an important achievement?”
There is only one achievement in life, and that’s the acceptance of your lot.
From Certain Age by Ottessa Moshfegh & Kristine McKenna (Harper’s: April 2016)
Not So Fast
At a later date, Kristine McKenna asked Leonard about his response.
You never went to a therapist?
For one reason or another, I didn’t have any confidence in the therapeutic model. Therapy seems to affirm the idea unconditionally of a self that has to be worked on and repaired. And my inclination was that it was holding that notion to begin with that was the problem — that there was this self that needed some kind of radical adjustment. It didn’t appeal to me for some odd reason.
Angst & Aquavit by Brendan Bernhard. LA Weekly: September 26, 2001.
For Cohen, Grief Is Joy by Lynn Van Matre (Chicago Tribune: Nov 23, 1975). Photo by Pete Purnell. Thanks to Rike, who discovered and contributed the article
The big change is the proximity to death. I am a tidy kind of guy. I like to tie up the strings if I can. If I can’t, also, that’s O.K. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun.
Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)
It’s the song that allows the light to come in. It’s the position of the man standing up in the face of something that is irrevocable and unyielding… and singing about it. It’s the position that the Greek Zorba had. When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That’s about all you can do.
This quotation is from the Jan 18, 2012 Old Ideas listening event in London moderated by Jarvis Cocker. An account of the event is found at Leonard Cohen shows there’s life in the old dog yet with launch of new album by Alex Needham (The Guardian: Jan 18, 2012):
When asked how a new song, Darkness, tallied with his famous line in the 1992 song Anthem that “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in ,” Cohen replied: “You’ve got me stumped there.”
After some prompting from Cocker, he finally divulged: “It’s the song that allows the light to come in. It’s the position of the man standing up in the face of something that is irrevocable and unyielding and singing about it. It’s the position that the Greek Zorba had – that when things get really bad, you just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig and that’s about all you can do.”
Originally posted Aug 1, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric