“That’s what a human is: a gathering around a perplexity.” Leonard Cohen

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This connection—the unavoidable presence of the Other—has driven us to religion. The great religion is the great work of art. We form ourselves around these problems. These problems exist prior to us, and we gather ourselves, almost molecularly, around these perplexities. That’s what a human is: a gathering around a perplexity.

 

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen quoted in Leonard Cohen: Several Lifetimes Already by Pico Iyer (Shambhala Sun, September, 1998).

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 November 26, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

One thought on ““That’s what a human is: a gathering around a perplexity.” Leonard Cohen

  1. Leonard Cohen would have been familiar with the 12th century treatise: “The Guide for the Perplexed” by Maimonides. No doubt Cohen was attuned to the discussions in Book Three of the Guide on the mystical Work of the Chariot, or what was called, the Merkavah: an earlier envisioning of what would later become the Kabbalah. Other than Elliot Wolfson, I am unaware of any other scholar delving into this theme of ‘perplexity’, Merkavah and Kabbalah who could make the case for a direct connection to Leonard Cohen work. It is my hope that Dr. Wolfson will someday grace us with a book on Leonard Cohen, and help us with our perplexities! Until then, I propose that Cohen was, with this quote, pointing directly to “The Guide for the Perplexed” by Maimonides.

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