American philosopher (1898-1983)
Eric Hoffer was an American moral and social philosopher. He was the author of ten books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983. His first book, The True Believer (1951), was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen, although Hoffer believed that The Ordeal of Change (1963) was his finest work. The Eric Hoffer Book Award is an international literary prize established in his honor. Berkeley College awards an annual literary prize named jointly for Hoffer.
Eric Hoffer Quotes Page 6
It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites--opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity--where energies flow smoothly in one direction--there will be much doing but no music.
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.
The wisdom of others remains dull till it is writ over with our own blood. We are essentially apart from the world; it bursts into our consciousness only when it sinks its teeth and nails into us.
How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization!
The compulsion to take ourselves seriously is in inverse proportion to our creative capacity. When the creative flow dries up, all we have left is our importance.
You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.
We need not only a purpose in life to give meaning to our existence but also something to give meaning to our suffering. We need as much something to suffer for as something to live for.
Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled.
Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end results of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.
The necessary has never been man's top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness. Unlike other forms of life, man's greatest exertions are made in the pursuit not of necessities but of superfluities.
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