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Eric Hoffer quotes (56)

The Paleolithic hunters who painted the unsurpassed animal murals on the ceiling of the cave at Altamira had only rudimentary tools. Art is older than production for use and play older than work. Man was shaped less by what he had to do than by what he did in playful moments. It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Art

To spell out the obvious is often to call it into question.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Obvious

Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Audience

Unpredictability too can become monotonous.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Precedent

Facts are counterrevolutionary.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Fact

Perhaps our originality manifests itself most strikingly in what we do with that which we did not originate. To discover something wholly new can be a matter of chance of idle tinkering or even of the chronic dissatisfaction of the untalented.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Original

Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Habit

However much we guard ourselves against it we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Others

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Hate

The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Prophecy

How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization!
Eric Hoffer   Category: Sacrifice

We can remember minutely and precisely only the things which never really happened to us.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Memory

Rudeness is the weak mans imitation of strength.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Rudeness

We do not really feel grateful toward those who make our dreams come true; they ruin our dreams.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Hope

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   Category: Word

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Discovery

It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Imitation

To grow old is to grow common. Old age equalizes we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Age

To believe that is we could but have this or that we would be happy is to suppress the realization that the cause of our unhappiness is in our inadequate and blemished selves. Excessive desire is thus a means of suppressing our sense of worthlessness.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Cause

Our greatest weariness comes from work not done.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Work

We find it hard to apply the knowledge of ourselves to our judgment of others. The fact that we are never of one kind that we never love without reservations and never hate with all our being cannot prevent us from seeing others as wholly black or white.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Judgment

There is a totalitarian regime inside every one of us. We are ruled by a ruthless politburo which sets our norms and drives us from one five-year plan to another. The autonomous individual who has to justify his existence by his own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Ruthless

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do we have no time for anything else we are the busiest people in the world.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Time

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Gratitude

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Happiness

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.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Chemistry

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.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Invention

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   Category: Learn

The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Leadership

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Faith

There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Chastity

Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself and yearns for the impossible.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Ambition

No matter what our achievements might be we think well of ourselves only in rare moments. We need people to bear witness against our inner judge who keeps book on our shortcomings and transgressions. We need people to convince us that we are not as bad as we think we are.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Achievement

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who survive; the learned find themselves fully equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Earth

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.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Adolescence

It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Evil

There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Friendship

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Enough

We can never have enough of that which we really do not want.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Self

There is sublime thieving in all giving. Someone gives us all he has and we are his.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Gift

However much we talk of the inexorable laws governing the life of individuals and of societies we remain at the bottom convinced that in human affairs everything in more or less fortuitous. We do not even believe in the inevitability of our own death. Hence the difficulty of deciphering the present of detecting the seeds of things to come as they germinate before our eyes. We are not attuned to seeing the inevitable.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Death

It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love ones neighbor.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Housework

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.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Creative

They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability or to misfortune rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Talent

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.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Music

We feel free when we escape even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Escape

The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Dictators

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Arithmetic

We usually see only the things we are looking for so much so that we sometimes see them where they are not.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Love

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   Category: Action

Youth itself is a talent a perishable talent.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Unsorted

The real Antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Idea

To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Complacency

It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Observe

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Freedom

Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experience as a sinner.
Eric Hoffer   Category: Saint