“If there is really a revolution, it’s against tyranny, and part of tyranny is the notion that there’s one kind of thing for everybody to do.” Leonard Cohen

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Danny Fields: Oh, Leonard. forgive me, but I have to bring up the revolution. What happened to it?

Leonard Cohen: (laughs) I think everyone perceives that these are times when the work is on the individual for himself, by himself, and the urgency is now for each man to make himself strong. I don’t think anybody is going to put together the whole pattern, or understand all the movements.

Danny Fields: Do you think all hopes for collective strength should be postponed?

Leonard Cohen: I think that people should clearly perceive what kind of activity strengthens them, and what kind of activity disintegrates them. I think those who have a talent or a gift for—or are nourished by—collective enterprise should throw themselves in with it, and those who are nourished by another kind of activity should embrace that. I think if there is really a revolution, it’s against tyranny, and part of tyranny is the notion that there’s one kind of thing for everybody to do.

Leonard Cohen Looks at Himself by Danny Fields. Soho Weekly News, Vol. 1, #9. December 5, 1974.

“We all tend to think our generation is the pivotal generation. The experience of the generations is that it isn’t so. Of course, if you’re dragged from your house at 3:00 in the morning, and you’re sent to a concentration camp, you may feel times are really bad.” Leonard Cohen

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Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993.

“I can’t buy the bullshit of who’s right and who’s wrong. I don’t care who wins the war.” Leonard Cohen

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You think it’s a good idea that blacks and whites should live together [in Los Angeles], but that’s not going to get you through the crisis that you are going to face daily going downtown. You’ve got to come up with a new position. If you’re going to heal this thing between blacks and whites, leaders must experience themselves as neither black nor white. If we are going to heal what is going down between men and women, we are going to have to produce spokesmen that are neither man nor woman, then come back to being a man or woman. It’s a question of how wide is your embrace. I can’t deal with the shackles of loneliness any longer. And it’s only when I break something, when I flee from something, when I locate something that is wilder, freer, deeper and crazier, can I survive from one moment to the next. I just can’t buy the bullshit. I can’t buy the bullshit of who’s right and who’s wrong. I don’t care who wins the war.

Remember what I say: ‘Duck!’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993.

“Democracy doesn’t come through legislation. It doesn’t come from above: we are creating it.” Leonard Cohen

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Democracy doesn’t come through legislation. It doesn’t come from above: we are creating it. [Democracy] is something to do with, as Ginsberg said, ‘The secret love that whites have for blacks and blacks have for whites.’
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Leonard Cohen

 

Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993.

“I alone among people saw [the collapse of the Berlin Wall] as a sinister event.” Leonard Cohen

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I alone among people saw [the collapse of the Berlin Wall] as a sinister event. I thought: ‘This is going to bring a lot of suffering with it.’ It’s just my gloomy and grim nature coming through.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Rebirth of a Ladies’ Man By Brendan Kelly. The Financial Post: December 12, 1992.
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“The great leader is the one – the great culture is the one – that affirms all cultures. The great nation is the one that affirms all nations, and the great leader is the leader that affirms all aspirations.” Leonard Cohen 1993

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You can battle for what is right. You can be a worker in the vineyards of the Lord. Nevertheless, you cannot define the spirit with a dogmatic position. The great leader is the one — the great culture is the one — that affirms all cultures. The great nation is the one that affirms all nations, and the great leader is the leader that affirms all aspirations. It is genius for the political right to come up with the term ‘political correctness,’ but a lot of the people who’ve gotten the short end of the stick in the past are really shoving it up your asshole now. That’s not very pleasant, either.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993.

Leonard Cohen, On Being Asked If His Songs Reflect World Conflicts: “I’ve tried over the years to find a political position that no one can actually decipher.”

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There seems to be within [Popular Problems] recurrent mentions of the military and war and battles. I was wondering if that reflected a current preoccupation with conflicts that are taking place at the moment?

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Of course it reflects the world that we live in. It was not deliberate but one picks up these things from the atmosphere… I’ve tried over the years to find a political position that no one can actually decipher.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: ‘I’m a closet optimist’ [a report on the Sept 16, 2014 London Press Preview Of Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems] by Andy Morris. Gigwise, Sept 16, 2014. Photo atop this post shared by High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom Facebook page

“Democracy is a faith, and it is an ideal and I think it is the greatest expression of western experience, this notion that there is a fraternity of men and women is a very, very high idea. It involves a deep, deep appetite that cannot be denied.” Leonard Cohen (1995)

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Democracy is the religion of the west and perhaps the greatest religion that the west has produced because it affirms other religions. Most religions have a lot of trouble affirming other religions. A great religion affirms other religions and a great culture affirms other cultures, and democracy is a faith, and it is an ideal and I think it is the greatest expression of western experience, this notion that there is a fraternity of men and women is a very, very high idea. It involves a deep, deep appetite that cannot be denied.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, interviewed by Cindy Buissaillon for CBC Radio on August 26, 1995. Originally posted April 13, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric