“There is no escape from loneliness except in yourself…” Leonard Cohen

Interviewer: I have always interpreted the your songs in a pained expressions of loneliness. Do you still feel this kind of pain even though you have found consolation and warmth in Suzanne and your children?

I think marriage can also create real loneliness. When you get married and live with your wife, you begin to realize that there is no kind of comfort or repentance for inner loneliness. Not in marriage, not in friendships, not in money – nowhere. There you can look for comfort only for yourself and for your own self, and only then will you realize what your real turmoil is. And once you have gone through all this, it should comfort you and make you less lonely and depressed. But then you realize that the same feeling is still there – there is no escape from loneliness except in yourself. You can cling to me and get a lot of strength and comfort, but it will not release you from the pain forever. Life is only to be seen in some places in some places.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From ”En tunne vanhenevani lainkaan” – Leonard Cohen Soundissa 1976: The 2016 reprint of a June 1976 Leonard Cohen interview by Dougie Gordon. (Soundi: Nov 11, 2016) Via computer translation.

Credit Due Department: 1974 photo of Leonard Cohen by Emily Bindiger

Leonard Cohen On Experiencing “The True Self” – “Our Real Nourishment”

You’ve said having sexual intercourse is the greatest peace. Is that zero?

The sexual embrace is beyond self. You don’t exist as you. Your partner doesn’t exist as your partner. That is the place we all come from. Then we come back to life. That zero or emptiness or absolute is when we don’t have any questions. The self we have is just the result of a question. The question is who am I? So we invent a self, a personality. We sustain it, we create rules for it. When you stop asking those questions in those moments of grace, as soon as the question is not asked and the dilemma is dissolved or abandoned, then the true self or absolute self rushes in. That’s our real nourishment. A real religious education makes that experience available to people. The kinds of religious education available today are mostly concerned with a very specific definition of what God is. Just to define God specifically is a great mistake. It’s better to have a kind of education that doesn’t even mention God, that allows people to experience that absolute or the dissolution of the particular self.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Interview / Leonard Cohen By Alan Twigg. Essay Date: 1979, 1984, 1985. ABC Bookworld. Originally posted Mar 27, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On His Violation Of The “Socratic Imperative To Know Thyself”

I’m not a great examiner. I suppose it’s violating some Socratic imperative to know thyself, if that’s who it was, but I’ve always found that examination extremely tedious.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen, speaking to Sylvie Simmons, quoted in Leonard Cohen 1934–2016 by Phil Alexander (Mojo: November 11, 2016). Photo by Dominique BOILE

DrHGuy Note: Who Said “Know Thyself?”

Well, lots of folks, including but not limited to Socrates. Of the sources I checked, Wikipedia offers the most straightforward exposition. Excerpts follow:

The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” or “gnothi seauton” is one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias. The aphorism came from Luxor in Ancient Egypt.

… The aphorism may have come from Luxor in Ancient Egypt. Pre-Socratics like Thales of Miletus and Pythagoras of Samos are thought by some to have had ancient Egyptian influences, according to Greek folklore and later writers including Aristotle. In any case the saying assumes a distinctive meaning and importance in Greek religion and thought. The Greeks attributed much of their wisdom to Egyptian sources.

… Plato employs the maxim ‘Know Thyself’ extensively by having the character of Socrates use it to motivate his dialogues. Plato makes it clear that Socrates is referring to a long-established wisdom

Leonard Cohen On The Value Of Ritual As A “Peaceful Moment”


It’s nice to have any peaceful moment, a moment that there is a form where you can relax in, and you don’t have to improvise in, because usually when you live a life without a ritual form, you will have to continue to have to improvise, and I’m not so good at it. I find it very difficult to improvise continuously. So I’m very grateful when the kids and my friends come Friday night, and I know what the form is, what the form of the meal is going to be, and what the tone is going to be, so for that reason it’s very relaxing. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Looks Back On The Past (unedited interview for Norwegian Radio) by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Credit Due Department: Photo by Anjani Thomas.

“I find that more and more I inhabit the front line of my own life, with missiles and shrapnel flying through the air…” Leonard Cohen

I find that more and more I inhabit the front line of my own life, with missiles and shrapnel flying through the air. You really don’t have the opportunity to develop much of a strategy about things. Certainly not about your career, and not even about your loves or dreams. So there’s a certain urgency to the moment and how to negotiate from one instance to the next.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen, The Lord Byron of Rock-and-Roll by Karen Schoemer New York Times: November 29, 1992. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric