Leonard Cohen Responds To Highfalutin Questions: The Notion Of Time

Elegant Answers To Grandiloquent Questions: As I’ve repeatedly observed, Leonard Cohen gives good interview. I am especially taken with his responses to queries couched in highfalutin terms.


Question: I wonder how you respond to the idea of time and, from your zen point of view, perhaps, whether our linear idea of time has, in some way, caught up with us? And that there is a way to escape this notion of time, time no longer.


Well it’s a very bad idea to try to escape from time because you’ll be late for all your appointments and you won’t be able to get your kids to school on time. So, of course we have a dream and an appetite to dissolve time, and not feel it rushing at us or catching up on us. So it’s important to be able to hold both, to be able to experience both the absolute crushing urgency of them and to be able to dissolve it. Well, almost all the religions I know about provide the technology for experiencing this great affair without the conditioning factor of time. But you can’t live in that world either. So, the Book of Revelations is a kind of manual. It’s wonderful poetry and it’s wonderful revelation and it certainly does fulfill that great characteristic of charged writing by pulling the rug out from under you, and you are in a new world, and there is a new Jerusalem, and you are ready to embrace the notion of newness and rebirth and of a new cosmos, and it invites you to unfold that reality in your own heart and in your own life, that dissolving of time.


Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen, interviewed by Cindy Buissaillon for CBC Radio on August 25, 1995. Photo of Leonard Cohen with clock1 taken by Peter Torbijn from The Netherlands. The Cohen Clock is my own creation.


Also see: Leonard Cohen Responds To Highfalutin Questions: “Do you ever – not literally, but figuratively – turn a corner and bump into yourself?”

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This quotation was originally posted April 12, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

  1. Leonard Cohen was using the clock to emphasize his announcement to the audience of the second Amsterdam concert (August 22, 2012) that, by special dispensation, the concert could continue until 23.45 rather than stopping, as was the case for the previous night’s show, at the 23.30 curfew. []

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