Eric Hoffer
Quotations


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

One of the marks of a truly vigorous society is the ability to dispense with passion as a midwife of action--the ability to pass directly from thought to action.

Perhaps a modern society can remain stable only by eliminating adolescence, by giving its young, from the age of ten, the skills, responsibilities, and rewards of grownups, and opportunities for action in all spheres of life. Adolescence should be a time of useful action, while book learning and scholarship should be a preoccupation of adults.

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.

Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.

Animals often strike us as passionate machines.

The remarkable thing is that it is the crowded life that is most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crises is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even its few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty.

The difficult and risky task of meeting and mastering the new--whether it be the settlement of new lands or the initiation of new ways of life--is not undertaken by the vanguard of society but by its rear. It is the misfits, failures, fugitives, outcasts and their like who are among the first to grapple with the new.

When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths.



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