Man is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and the like is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story -- a story that is basically without meaning or pattern.
It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor.
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.
We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
A grievance is most poignant when almost redressed.
The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
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.
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.
What greater reassurance can the weak have than that they are like anyone else?
Social improvement is attained more readily by a concern with the quality of results than with the purity of motives.
Many of the insights of the saint stem from their experience as sinners.
Where everything is possible miracles become commonplaces, but the familiar ceases to be self-evident.
Craving, not having, is the mother of a reckless giving of oneself.
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.
In human affairs, the best stimulus for running ahead is to have something we must run from.
To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
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.
It is part of the formidableness of a genuine mass movement that the self-sacrifice it promotes includes also a sacrifice of some of the moral sense which cramps and restrains our nature.
The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.
Animals often strike us as passionate machines.
More significant than the fact that poets write abstrusely, painters paint abstractly, and composers compose unintelligible music is that people should admire what they cannot understand indeed, admire that which has no meaning or principle.
Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength.
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.
The capacity for getting along with our neighbor depends to a large extent on the capacity for getting along with ourselves. The self-respecting individual will try to be as tolerant of his neighbor's shortcomings as he is of his own.
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.
The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood.
Anger is a prelude to courage.
It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise. This is true of men as of dogs.
Whenever you trace the origin of a skill or practices which played a crucial role in the ascent of man, we usually reach the realm of play.
There is a grandeur in the uniformity of the mass. When a fashion, a dance, a song, a slogan or a joke sweeps like wildfire from one end of the continent to the other, and a hundred million people roar with laughter, sway their bodies in unison, hum one song or break forth in anger and denunciation, there is the overpowering feeling that in this country we have come nearer the brotherhood of man than ever before.
More Eric Hoffer Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - Life - People - Power - World - Society & Civilization - Soul - Mind - Youth - Contemplation - Time - Actions - Mastery & Expertise - Change - Abilities - Belief & Faith - Sense & Perception - Compassion - Death & Dying - View All Eric Hoffer Quotations
O. Henry - Niccolo Machiavelli - Napoleon Hill - Thomas Paine - Thomas Kuhn - Paul Davies - Milan Kundera - Edward Fairfax - Antiphanes - Anne Frank