A Manual For Living With Defeat
Lessons From Leonard Cohen – A Manual For Living With Defeat is a compendium of Leonard Cohen’s observations that offer insight into living in this imperfect world. Links to all posts in this series and information about how this collection differs from other sets of so-called lessons from Leonard Cohen can be found at Lessons From Leonard Cohen – Introduction.
Lesson #11: “Growing up involves forgiving – not using relationships as an alibi”
“It’s a mistake to blame things on other people, especially your parents. Everybody suffers, but growing up involves forgiving – not using relationships as an alibi”1
“I don’t think about my childhood much. I don’t think that it’s a legitimate explanation of one’s life. I think that in order to survive one must be reborn, one must overcome one’s childhood, the injustices, and recognize the privileges. You can’t use your past as an alibi. In the Orient they say ‘to awaken.’ The Christians say ‘to be reborn.’ Whatever the metaphor, I think there comes a moment when we must do it if we want to survive, have self-respect, and take advantage of our new circumstances that we have not yet even touched. The people who die are those who refuse to recognize their new life circumstance and continue to use the old one as an excuse for their shame or laziness. Of course one learns strategies and techniques of survival as a child and I’m not saying one must throw away all they have acquired. But I think there comes a time when the old strategies stop working and life crumbles.”2
Lessons From Leonard Cohen
All published posts in this series can be found at
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 entry was originally posted on Jan 16, 2018.
- Leonard Cohen: Thoughts Of A Ladies’ Man by Elizabeth M. Thomson. 1979 interview reposted to FolkTracks: Jan 12, 2017.
- Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: 1991) [via online translation]