Leonard Cohen on The Story Of Isaac “The song doesn’t end with a plea for peace. It doesn’t end with a plea for sanity between the generations.”

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It has fathers and sons in it and sacrifice and slaughter, and an extremely honest statement at the end. It does say something about fathers and sons and that curious place, generally over the slaughtering block where generations meet and have their intercourse. I think probably that I did feel [when I wrote it] that one of the reasons that we have wars was so the older men can kill off the younger ones, so there’s no competition for the women. Also, completely remove the competition in terms of their own institutional positions. The song doesn’t end with a plea for peace. It doesn’t end with a plea for sanity between the generations. It ends saying, ‘I’ll kill you if I can, I will help you if I must, I will kill you if I must, I will help you if I can.’ That’s all I can say about it. My father died when I was nine, that’s the reason I put that one of us had to go.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Interview,by Robin Pike. ZigZag: October 1974. Image by Ji-Elle – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons

“I never try to say very interesting things to my friends. I think that’s one of the privileges of friendship.” Leonard Cohen

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From Exquisite, Unembarrassed and Undestroyed, Leonard Cohen at 71 by Greg Burk (LA Weekly, June 28 2006). Originally posted December 18, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I think our content is women and we are women’s content…” Leonard Cohen

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I think our content is women and we are women’s content. I know that my mind, my emotions are involved with a woman. Sometimes when I’m feeling strong, which is rare, I can get beyond that concern. But most of the time, what I care most about is whether or not I’m being welcomed by her and I think a lot of the time she worries about whether she is being welcomed by me. So we are each other’s content and we exist in that condition, which goes all the way from grave discomfort to absolute peace and everything in between. That seems to be what the activity between a man and a woman is.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen: A Portrait in First Person. Interviewer: Moses Znaimer. CBC, 1988. Note: Originally posted uly 5, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On His Childhood: “It was a very wise kind of upbringing, it didn’t invite self-indulgence…You learned good manners, you know, which is better than discipline.”

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[In] the epoch, the era, the time that I grew up, psychological profiles were not fashionable. You just followed orders, more or less, and whatever you could do on the sly you did. But it was a pretty disciplined kind of existence when I was a kid. There wasn’t the kind of youth rebellion that we see today, and authority and parental control were very strong, and nobody cared what your inner condition was as long as your shoes were underneath your bed in the right way… . No, we weren’t close to our parents, we didn’t really discuss our inner condition with our parents. It was a very wise kind of upbringing, it didn’t invite self-indulgence. … You learned good manners, you know, which is better than discipline.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From 2001 interview with Stina Lundberg. Originally posted June 18, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Men & Women At War

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A lot of people ask me about that song [‘There Is A War’], but a lot of people forget that the last line of every verse is, ‘Let’s get back to the war’. Of course, there’s all kinds of conflicts between men and women, rich and poor, all kinds of castes and classes. I talk of getting back to the war meaning that we have to throw ourselves into the predicament. If we are willing to get into it, to confront it, that’s one of the ways through it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabatoge Times. Posted Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). Photo of Leonard Cohen by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted Oct 10, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Talks About Courtly Love Negatively Impacting His Work

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I was attracted to that idea [courtly love] and it’s probably responsible for some atrocious work that I committed. We get hung up and fixated on ideas and sometimes they serve as coat hangers but you don’t really want to wear it with the hanger in it. So much of one’s work, I think, has got the hanger in it. In other words, you get hooked on an ideology or mythology, or a slogan or a position. And you kind of stiffen your work with it. That notion that there was a ritualized possibility between men and women that would get you over the obvious menacing and threatening and bewildering aspects of men and women together that a ritual, a courtly ritual could be invented or discerned or uncovered that would enable men and women to approach one another without the static that has reached deafening proportions today.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, interviewed by Cindy Buissaillon for CBC Radio on August 26, 1995. Originally posted April 12, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric