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 5
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.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.
Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear. Thus a feeling of utter unworthiness can be a source of courage.
There is in most passions a shrinking away from ourselves. The passionate pursuer has all the earmarks of a fugitive.
The chemistry of dissatisfaction is as the chemistry of some marvelously potent tar. In it are the building stones of explosives, stimulants, poisons, opiates, perfumes and stenches.
Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experience as a sinner.
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the remarkable fact that many inventions had their birth as toys.
We can never really be prepared for that which is wholly new. We have to adjust ourselves, and every radical adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem; we undergo a test, we have to prove ourselves. It needs inordinate self-confidence to face drastic change without inner trembling.