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Eric Hoffer

1902-1983 ,  American writer & philosopher
Eric HofferAmerican longshoreman and philosopher whose writings on life, power, and social order brought him fame.
He was self-educated (claimed to have had no formal schooling). This and his working-class background made Hoffer into a sort of popular hero.
He was the author of ten books. The True Believer (1951), was widely recognized as a classic, but Hoffer believed that The Ordeal of Change (1963) was his best work.

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People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

Nationalist pride, like other variants of pride, can be a substitute for self-respect.

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.

Charlatanism of some degree is indispensable to effective leadership.

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.

Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many.

A preoccupation with the future not only prevents us from seeing the present as it is but often prompts us to rearrange the past.

A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.

A great man's greatest good luck is to die at the right time.

Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy - the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.

Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.

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.

It is the around-the-corner brand of hope that prompts people to action, while the distant hope acts as an opiate.

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

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.

It is not at all simple to understand the simple.

Lack of sensitivity is perhaps basically an unawareness of ourselves.

In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.

Every extreme attitude is a flight from the self.

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

It is not actual suffering but a taste of better things which excites people to revolt.

Our frustration is greater when we have much and want more than when we have nothing and want some. We are less dissatisfied when we lack many things than when we seem to lack but one thing.

The technique of a mass movement aims to infect people with a malady and then offer the movement as a cure.

We cannot hate those who we despise.

We run fastest and farthest when we run from ourselves.

How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization.

An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything in to an empty head.

The less satisfaction we derive from being ourselves, the greater is our desire to be like others.

The ability to get along without an exceptional leader is the mark of social vigor.

A man by himself is in bad company.

Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us.

The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness.

A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.

Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one's balance and keep afloat.

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.

The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.

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


Similar sources

 William James

 Ayn Rand


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2017: Manolis Papathanassiou