“I tried all the conventional remedies [for depression] – wine, women and song. Nothing worked, including religion” Leonard Cohen On The Resolution Of His Clinical Depression

For me, [the retreat at Mount Baldy Zen Center] was one of the many attempts I’ve made in the past thirty or forty years to address a condition known as acute clinical depression. I tried all the conventional remedies – wine, women and song. Nothing worked, including religion. But fortunately, this condition dissolved. [Interviewer: With being on the mountain?] I don’t know. I don’t know how it began or how it ended, but, thankfully, it did end. Nothing worked for me. Not the recreational drugs, nor the obsessional drugs, nor the pharmaceutical medications. The only effect Prozac had on me, I confused with a spiritual achievement – I thought I’d transcended my interest in women. I later learned the destruction of the libido is one of the side effects. But it’s a mysterious conclusion, because I really don’t know what happened. I read somewhere that as you get older, the brain cells associated with anxiety begin to die. [Pauses] A lot of other brain cells die, too, so you’ve got to watch out.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen on Becoming a Monk, Why His Opinions Don’t Matter by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone: Nov 8, 2001.

More about Leonard Cohen’s depression can be found at .  All Cohencentric posts on this issue are collected at .

“I have some work to do in the world and I try to do it the best I can; if I can find a public that is receptive to it, I’m happy. And if I can’t, then I’ll still continue doing it.” Leonard Cohen

From The Song Of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky (while the documentary itself was produced in 1980, Leonard Cohen made that statement during the 1979 Field Commander Cohen Tour that was the subject matter of Rasky’s film).

“I’ve always felt a kind of kinship with rock” Leonard Cohen On His Relationship To Rock Music

What’s your relationship to rock music?

I’ve always felt a kind of kinship with rock. Personally, I’ve lived that life more than any other, so my friends are in it. I’m probably more of a classical musician, but rock ‘n roll has been my cultural avenue. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Rebirth Of A Ladies’ Man by Steven Blush. Seconds No 22: June/July 1993. The image atop this post is the cover of Rock & Folk No. 131, Dec 1977 (illustration by Dominique Lechaud) from the private collection of Dominique BOILE.

“You know what a wreck my life is?” Leonard Cohen Kvetches (1969)

You know what a wreck my life is? I don’t do anything day upon day, and I lie around in despair and kvetch a lot, and I can’t put anything together. So how am I going to talk about these heavy mysteries?quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Songs Sacred and Profane by Ira Mothner. Look: June 10, 1969. Photo by Tony Vaccaro used in original article. See “Leonard Cohen was a monument” Tony Vaccaro Talks About His Iconic Leonard Cohen Photos – Nashville 1968. Originally posted Dec 10, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On How His Career Would Have Been Different “If I had one of those good voices”

I think if I had one of those good voices, I would have done it completely differently. I probably would have sung the songs I really like rather than be a writer.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

“Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough” By Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. Photo of Leonard Cohen at 1993 Juno Awards by George Kraychyk. Originally posted April 9, 2009 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