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Eric Hoffer (1902 – 1983)


American writer on social and political philosophies.
Eric Hoffer
Perhaps people throw themselves into heated polemics to give content to their lives, to warm their hearts. What Luther said of hatred is true of all quarreling. There is nothing like a feud to make life seem full and interesting.
Hoffer quotes
It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from the sense of inadequacy and impotence. They hate not wickedness but weakness. When it is their power to do so, the weak destroy weakness wherever they see it.
Hoffer
The Renaissance was a time of mercenary soldiers, ours is a time of mercenary labor.




Hoffer Eric quotes
A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.
Hoffer Eric
The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
A ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed, and wasted at will.
Eric Hoffer quotes
I have never felt that I had a thought too profound for others to understand. On the contrary, it always seemed to me axiomatic that what was clear to me should be clear and easy to everyone else. This despite the fact that it often took me years to grope my way to an idea.... I can spend days and even months on a single sentence. I do not know how to skip. To think and write with me is like putting brick on brick.
Eric Hoffer
A fateful process is set in motion when the individual is released "to the freedom of his own impotence" and left to justify his existence by his own efforts. The autonomous individual, striving to realize himself and prove his worth, has created all that is great in literature, art, music, science and technology. The autonomous individual, also, when he can neither realize himself nor justify his existence by his own efforts, is a breeding call of frustration, and the seed of the convulsions which shake our world to its foundations.
The individual on his own is stable only so long as he is possessed of self-esteem. The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task which taxes all of the individual's powers and inner resources. We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day. When, for whatever reason, self-esteem is unattainable, the autonomous individual becomes a highly explosive entity. He turns away from an unpromising self and plunges into the pursuit of pride the explosive substitute for self-esteem. All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride.
Hoffer Eric quotes
Man is a luxury-loving animal. Take away play, fancies, and luxuries, and you will turn man into a dull, sluggish creature, barely energetic enough to obtain a bare subsistence. A society becomes stagnant when its people are too rational or too serious to be tempted by baubles.
Hoffer
I could never figure out or probably did not take the trouble to figure out what the great philosophical problems are about. The momentous statements I come across are at best a storm in a teacup. There are quite a number of people who have a vested interest in the stuff, make a noble living out of it, and they conspire with one another to keep it alive.
Hoffer Eric
Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.
Eric Hoffer
Charlatanism of some degree is indispensable to effective leadership. There can be no mass movement without some deliberate misrepresentation of facts.




Eric Hoffer quotes
One is not quite certain that creativeness in the arts, literature, and science functions best in an environment of absolute freedom. Chances are that a relatively mild tyranny stimulates creativeness.
Eric Hoffer
It is apparently vital that we should be in the dark about ourselves not to be clear about our intentions, fears, and hopes. There is a stubborn effort in us to set up a compact screen between consciousness and the self.
Hoffer quotes
Actual creativeness is a matter of moments. One has to piece together the minute grains to make a lump. And it is so easy to miss the momentary flashes, it is like sluicing in placer mining. He who lets the flakes float by has nothing to show for his trouble.
Hoffer Eric
The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is leading them to a promised land than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves. Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a fulfillment. Whither they are led is of secondary importance.
Hoffer Eric quotes
One wonders whether a generation that demands instant satisfaction of all its needs and instant solution of the world's problems will produce anything of lasting value. Such a generation, even when equipped with the most modern technology, will be essentially primitive it will stand in awe of nature, and submit to the tutelage of medicine men.
Eric Hoffer
Good and evil grow up together and are bound in an equilibrium that cannot be sundered. The most we can do is try to tilt the equilibrium toward the good.
Eric Hoffer quotes
There can be no freedom without freedom to fail. page 80, Buccaneer Books edition (1990) ISBN 0899667481 172 pages total
Eric Hoffer
The attitude of the intellectual community toward America is shaped not by the creative few but by the many who for one reason or another cannot transmute their dissatisfaction into a creative impulse, and cannot acquire a sense of uniqueness and of growth by developing and expressing their capacities and talents. There is nothing in contemporary America that can cure or alleviate their chronic frustration. They want power, lordship, and opportunities for imposing action. Even if we should banish poverty from the land, lift up the Negro to true equality, withdraw from Vietnam, and give half of the national income as foreign aid, they will still see America as an air-conditioned nightmare unfit for them to live in.
Hoffer Eric
It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.


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