On the one hand, Israel and Hamas — mindless, impulsive and programmed cruelty — on the other, Leonard Cohen's lyrics

© 2023 Peter Free


19 October 2023



The dominating constants in the human condition . . .


. . . are stupidity and cruelty.


The historically brewed stew — that rapaciously chews Israel and Hamas — is eagerly also breeding elements of a much larger catastrophe, via the cognitively disabled, addictive hatred that fuels it.


The same has been true of the West's literally psychotic loathing of Russia and (now) China.


The United States and the European Union enthusiastically instigated and continue provoking both these fires.



In such arguably Manichean chaos, writhes a spiritual parable


Or more.



I am reminded of Leonard Cohen's song, Suzanne


His metaphor (in it) goes beyond its Christian reference.


Admittedly, perhaps, only for those who already have substantive souls, whether that by focused self-development or Godly creation:



And Jesus was a sailor

When he walked upon the water


And he spent a long time watching

From his lonely wooden tower


And when he knew for certain

Only drowning men could see him


He said "All men will be sailors then

Until the sea shall free them"


But he himself was broken

Long before the sky would open


Forsaken, almost human

He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone


© 1966 Leonard Cohen, Suzanne, LeonardCohen via YouTube



Fifty years later, Cohen may have been sadder . . .


. . . and ambiguously despairing.


Perceptive experience on this planet tends to exorcise youth's hopeful illusions.


The aged Cohen's, You Want It Darker's  — "We kill the flame" — goes to the heart of humanity's arguably most defining characteristic.


Here excerpted:



They're lining up the prisoners

And the guards are taking aim


I struggled with some demons

They were middle-class and tame


I didn't know I had permission

To murder and to maim

You want it darker


Hineni, hineni

I'm ready, my Lord


Magnified, sanctified

Be thy holy name


Vilified, crucified

In the human frame


A million candles burning

For the love that never came


You want it darker

We kill the flame


© 2016 Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker, LeonardCohen via YouTube



The moral? — Blessed be the peacemakers


Without them, humanity is lost.


It matters not to me which religion — or strain of secularism — sponsors the peace-making spirit.


Just that it is there, and its spirit glow.


Thus, we wrench the flame of holiness from nihilism's soulless avarice.