In My Secret Life

Leonard Cohen's recent albums - share your views with others!
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Tue Jul 09, 2002 3:05 am

Hi Linda....Yes, Roberta was the immediate one to spring to mind when age and wisdom were being inextricably linked. Leonard quickly followed :) ....perhaps because I've not seen any specifics regarding his thought process at such a young age.

Thank you for asking about her. She's been very busy with school, projects, trips, etc. ......but stops in there as she's been able [occasionally]. I'm in private communication with her, which is where I get my information on her goings, comings, and well-being. I'll tell her that you remembered and asked about her, and she'll be thrilled. :D

I agree with everything else you've said here, regarding her, Leonard, and people in general, in regard to wisdom. It doesn't seem to come without prerequisite reflection, does it?

Lizzytysh
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peter danielsen
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The wisom of old

Postby peter danielsen » Thu Jul 25, 2002 3:00 pm

Maybe the meaning is that no one can figure life out. We can listen to the young and there views, there hits, or we can turn to the old. And both have some truth in their words, but in the end you just have to accept that the world is without specific meaning, that you´re alone in the wilderness, and that this in some way can be OK. "I don´t give a damn about the truth baby, exept for the naked truth."
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Thu Jul 25, 2002 4:00 pm

Excellent line to quote for this, Peter......"when it all comes down to dust"....."reality" is a matter of one's own perception [check out Waking Life on the Internet ~ a film exploring this truth].
~Lizzytysh
Edit: I'm aware that we don't make the "same" point with our quotes, just didn't want you to think I missed the point of yours, when I went on to mine.
Linda
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Postby Linda » Thu Jul 25, 2002 4:14 pm

I like your thoughts on that Peter. He likes naked I think! :wink: Naked body, naked thought, naked truth! Thought and truth could make life interesting. Naked body, well :lol: :cry: could use all the emoticons for that.
Linda
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Thu Jul 25, 2002 6:28 pm

That's very funny, Linda.... :lol: ~ your last comment [and so true].
~Lizzytysh
Ahrenkilde
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Re: In My Secret Life

Postby Ahrenkilde » Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:12 pm

I think he does express distrust in the "the wisdom of the old". In the Jewish tradition, "the old" has a special status, and it is part of practising a religion to consult and have trust in the wisdom of the old. Cohen knows that tradition is not always right.

What I think is more difficult to understand is in the ending of the song, where he say that it is "crowded and cold" in my secret life. Does it mean, that actually we are many who know, what is wrong and what is right in our secret life, and that we share this sadness about the worlds conditions, which therefor gives a potential for making the world a better place..
This could go together with the passage, "I know my orders" "cross the border to my secret life", mening, we should try to take in to the world what we know in our secret life. This is a spiritual mening.
Kodidog16
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Re: In My Secret Life

Postby Kodidog16 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:33 am

Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum but no stranger to the brilliance of Cohen's music. I was reading the replies and everyone has great ideas! They are all thought provoking. My frustration got the better of me while trying to figure out the meaning of this song so here's what I think. Maybe I'm not as deep as I thought I was:
I think it's about an undercover cop and here's why I think that.

1. "I'd die for the truth" referring to what would happen if his cover was blown
2. "I cheat and I lie, I do what I have to do to get by" and "I know what is wrong and I know what is right" are lines which lead me to think that he knows how far he can push it without crossing that line.
3."The dealer wants you thinking that it's either black or white" and "thank God it's not that simple" refers to the drug dealers he works with, how they think there is either good or evil; no medium. But for this cop, he lives right in the middle in his secret life.
4. "I bite my lip. I buy what I'm told" is a dead give away. I think it is suggesting that his superior officers are giving him orders on what drugs to buy and from who. Only, he's biting his lip because he's questioning his own ethics.
5."I'm always alone and my heart is like ice. And it's crowded and cold" refers to the horrible people in such great numbers who choose such evil lifestyles. He has to associate with these people all the time. They surround him. He's always alone because he is alone, morally. He's against all of it and now he feels himself becoming a ghost among thieves. His only "friends"are people he despises.

Shit! I think this song may be about the movie, "Donnie Brasco"
4. "
I'm your fan
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Re:

Postby I'm your fan » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:35 am

lizzytysh wrote:
(...)It seems to me that when phrases like "wisdom of old" are used in a deferential sense, that what is implied is their having stood the test of time. True, that everything was a "hit" at one point; however, the majority of those hits end up with "flash-in-a-pan" status. So, with that low survival rate, those that do and can be considered "wisdom" and "old" are referenced with an acknowledgement of that and respect. It also seems the "ancients" spent much more time considering those deeper issues than the populations today. Even in those more spiritual countries, more time seems spent dodging bullets and bombs than in extended reflection. (...)

Lizzytysh
I've found out this thread. I know it's a long time since the last post, but I wanted to point out something about the matter.

I agree with you, Lizzy; I only wanted to suggest a possible relation between the verses:

I buy what I’m told:
From the latest hit,
To the wisdom of old

and the verse from "Treaty":

We sold ourselves for love but now we’re free

More specifically, do you think there could be a possible relation between "I buy what I'm told" and "We sold ourselves for love but now we’re free"?

I know the context is different: we should read the entire stanza of "Treaty" and relate all the terms: "dancing in the streets the jubilee"; "...the ghost I made you be"; "Only one of us was real and it was me"... But I just wanted to point out the parallelism, if there is any, between the terms in italics.
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lizzytysh
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Re: In My Secret Life

Postby lizzytysh » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:17 pm

I've only just seen these posts, Kodidog and I'm Your Fan. Such interesting possibilities! The undercover cop and the movie. You support/substantiate your case very well. For me, it's a psychological song, but it wouldn't be the first time Leonard has morphed literal events/situations into psychological applications. Interesting that you posted this only one day before Leonard died.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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lizzytysh
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Re: In My Secret Life

Postby lizzytysh » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:28 pm

And now the tie-in to Treaty. I can easily imagine, I'm your fan, recurrent themes from one song to the next, with Leonard feeling there's still more to be done, with it. Buy and sold are certainly related terms... And Leonard makes them work within each context, still leaving plenty of room for individual interpretation. The first verse has more of a bleakness without resolution; the second begins with bleakness, but end with resolution. Leonard seems to have been coming to terms with where his life and himself had taken him. I'm sad that there can't be any more interviews for us to look for clues from him as to the meanings of and connections of his songs.
Again, I think that you, too, make a good case for your premise. I love it that both of you have revived threads this old to discuss Leonard's work and best guesses as to his thought processes.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde

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