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Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer (25 July 1902 21 May 1983) was an American writer on social issues. His first book, The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements (1951) is widely recognized as a classic on mass-movements and the psychological roots of fanaticism. Despite rising to fame with the success and popularity of this work, he continued to work as a longshoreman until retiring at age 65.
Found 153 thoughts of Eric Hoffer

Take man's most fantastic invention- God. Man invents God in the image of his longings, in the image of what he wants to be, then proceeds to imitate that image, vie with it, and strive to overcome it.

Eric Hoffer

One might equate growing up with a mistrust of words. A mature person trusts his eyes more than his ears. Irrationality often manifests itself in upholding the word against the evidence of the eyes. Children, savages and true believers remember far less what they have seen than what they have heard.

Eric Hoffer

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.

Eric Hoffer

We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many inventions had their birth as toys.

Eric Hoffer

Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity

Eric Hoffer

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

Eric Hoffer

To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.

Eric Hoffer

It is a sign of a creeping inner death when we no longer can praise the living.

Eric Hoffer

We often use strong language not to express a powerful emotion but to evoke it in us.

Eric Hoffer

It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.

Eric Hoffer

It is easier to love humanity as a whole that to love one's neighbor.

Eric Hoffer

The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.

Eric Hoffer

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.

Eric Hoffer

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

Eric Hoffer

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.

Eric Hoffer

We cannot be sure that we have something to live for unless we are ready to die for it.

Eric Hoffer

The link between ideas and action is rarely direct. There is almost always an intermediate step in which the idea is overcome. De Tocqueville points out that it is at times when passions start to govern human affairs that ideas are most obviously translated into political action. The translation of ideas into action is usually in the hands of people least likely to follow rational motives. Hence, it is that action is often the nemesis of ideas, and sometimes of the men who formulate them. One of the marks of the truly vigorous society is the ability to dispense with passion as a midwife of action - the ability to pass directly from thought to action.

Eric Hoffer

The uncompromising attitude is more indicative of an inner uncertainty than a deep conviction. The implacable stand is directed more against the doubt within than the assailant without.

Eric Hoffer

It is thus with most of us; we are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.

Eric Hoffer

All leaders strive to turn their followers into children.

Eric Hoffer

People unfit for freedom - who cannot do much with it - are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute of a "have" type of self. It says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for power is basically an attribute of a "have not" type of self.

Eric Hoffer

There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.

Eric Hoffer

The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility.

Eric Hoffer

We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.

Eric Hoffer

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.

Eric Hoffer
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