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Eric Hoffer's Quotes

Eric Hoffer profile photo

Born: 1902-07-25
Profession: Writer
Nation: American
Biography of Eric Hoffer

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Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem.

Tags: Adjustment, Crisis

Our frustration is greater when we have much and want more than when we have nothing and want some. We are less dissatisfied when we lack many things than when we seem to lack but one thing.

Tags: Greater, Less, Seem

There is no loneliness greater than the loneliness of a failure. The failure is a stranger in his own house.

Tags: Failure, House, Loneliness

Call not that man wretched, who whatever ills he suffers, has a child to love.

Tags: Child, Love, Whatever

Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.

Tags: Compassion, Remain, Soul

It is the awareness of unfulfilled desires which gives a nation the feeling that it has a mission and a destiny.

Tags: Destiny, Feeling, Nation

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.

Tags: Give, Hatred, Life

The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.

Tags: Best, Game, History

We used to think that revolutions are the cause of change. Actually it is the other way around: change prepares the ground for revolution.

Tags: Change, Revolution, Used

Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us.

Tags: Alone, Evil, Good

Many of the insights of the saint stem from their experience as sinners.

Tags: Experience, Sinners, Stem

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.

Tags: Deceive, Propaganda, Themselves

It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.

Tags: Human, Obstacles, True

Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart.

Tags: Heart, Power, Win

To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.

Tags: Awareness, Become

A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.

Tags: Feels, Free, Majority

The real Antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity.

Tags: Idea, Real, Wine

A man by himself is in bad company.

Tags: Bad, Company, Himself

It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak.

Tags: Evil, Power, Sense

It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.

Tags: Age, Teacher, Time

Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.

Tags: Become, Kindness, Motive

The beginning of thought is in disagreement - not only with others but also with ourselves.

Tags: Beginning, Others, Thought

The best part of the art of living is to know how to grow old gracefully.

Tags: Art, Best, Living

The individual who has to justify his existence by his own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself.

Tags: Existence, Himself, Individual

Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled.

Tags: Smelled, Specific

The greatest weariness comes from work not done.

Tags: Done, Greatest, Work
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We are more prone to generalize the bad than the good. We assume that the bad is more potent and contagious.

Tags: Assume, Bad, Good

The pleasure we derive from doing favors is partly in the feeling it gives us that we are not altogether worthless. It is a pleasant surprise to ourselves.

Tags: Feeling, Ourselves, Surprise

Children are the keys of paradise.

Tags: Children, Keys, Paradise

Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.

Tags: Crucial, Far

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.

Tags: Eyes, Others, Words

The fear of becoming a 'has-been' keeps some people from becoming anything.

Tags: Becoming, Fear, Keeps

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.

Tags: Chief, Happiness, Search

There would be no society if living together depended upon understanding each other.

Tags: Living, Society, Together

To the old, the new is usually bad news.

Tags: Bad, News, Old

When cowardice is made respectable, its followers are without number both from among the weak and the strong; it easily becomes a fashion.

Tags: Both, Fashion, Strong

When people are bored it is primarily with themselves.

Tags: Bored, Primarily, Themselves

Where everything is possible miracles become commonplaces, but the familiar ceases to be self-evident.

Tags: Become, Miracles, Possible

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.

Tags: Enough, Happy

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 and talents.

Tags: Child, Source, Talents

A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.

Tags: Full, Spring, System

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

Tags: Action, Balance, Keep

Every intense desire is perhaps a desire to be different from what we are.

Tags: Desire, Intense, Perhaps

It is often the failure who is the pioneer in new lands, new undertakings, and new forms of expression.

Tags: Expression, Failure, Often

It is the around-the-corner brand of hope that prompts people to action, while the distant hope acts as an opiate.

Tags: Action, Hope, While

It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.

Tags: Degree, Difficult, Influence

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

Tags: Creature, Himself, Impossible

Social improvement is attained more readily by a concern with the quality of results than with the purity of motives.

Tags: Quality, Results, Social

There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.

Tags: Meet, Minds, Wherever

There is in most passions a shrinking away from ourselves. The passionate pursuer has all the earmarks of a fugitive.

Tags: Away, Ourselves, Passionate

To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.

Tags: Faith, Listen, Religion

To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question.

Tags: Call, Often, Question

We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.

Tags: Concerning, Knowledge, Open

We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.

Tags: Absolutely, Understand

We have rudiments of reverence for the human body, but we consider as nothing the rape of the human mind.

Tags: Body, Human, Mind

What greater reassurance can the weak have than that they are like anyone else?

Tags: Anyone, Else, Weak

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.

Tags: Passion, Society, Thought

A great man's greatest good luck is to die at the right time.

Tags: Good, Great, Time

A grievance is most poignant when almost redressed.

Tags: Almost, Grievance, Poignant

Animals often strike us as passionate machines.

Tags: Often, Passionate, Strike

Charlatanism of some degree is indispensable to effective leadership.

Tags: Degree, Effective, Leadership

Craving, not having, is the mother of a reckless giving of oneself.

Tags: Giving, Mother, Oneself

Dissipation is a form of self-sacrifice.

Tags: Facts

I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind.

Tags: Hang, Mind, Prejudices

It is a sign of creeping inner death when we can no longer praise the living.

Tags: Death, Living, Longer

It is not actual suffering but the taste of better things which excites people to revolt.

Tags: Actual, Suffering, Taste

It sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.

Tags: Desire, Seems, Sometimes

Man was nature's mistake she neglected to finish him and she has never ceased paying for her mistake.

Tags: Her, Him, Nature

Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.

Tags: Men, Weary

Nationalist pride, like other variants of pride, can be a substitute for self-respect.

Tags: Pride, Substitute

Sometimes we feel the loss of a prejudice as a loss of vigor.

Tags: Loss, Prejudice, Sometimes

Take away hatred from some people, and you have men without faith.

Tags: Away, Faith, Men

The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.

Tags: Future, Power, Shape

The weakness of a soul is proportionate to the number of truths that must be kept from it.

Tags: Number, Soul, Weakness

The world leans on us. When we sag, the whole world seems to droop.

Tags: Leans, Seems, Whole

There is sublime thieving in all giving. Someone gives us all he has and we are his.

Tags: Giving, Someone, Sublime

Unpredictability, too, can become monotonous.

Tags: Become, Monotonous

We do not really feel grateful toward those who make our dreams come true; they ruin our dreams.

Tags: Dreams, Grateful, True

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.

Tags: Played, Reach, Role

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains.

Tags: Faith, Move, Necessary

Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.

Tags: Good, Living, Wise

Youth itself is a talent, a perishable talent.

Tags: Perishable, Talent, Youth

There is probably an element of malice in our readiness to overestimate people - we are, as it were, laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size.

Tags: Later, Ourselves, Pleasure

Our passionate preoccupation with the sky, the stars, and a God somewhere in outer space is a homing impulse. We are drawn back to where we came from.

Tags: God, Sky, Stars

We have perhaps a natural fear of ends. We would rather be always on the way than arrive. Given the means, we hang on to them and often forget the ends.

Tags: Fear, Forget, Rather

The misery of a child is interesting to a mother, the misery of a young man is interesting to a young woman, the misery of an old man is interesting to nobody.

Tags: Mother, Woman, Young

It is remarkable by how much a pinch of malice enhances the penetrating power of an idea or an opinion. Our ears, it seems, are wonderfully attuned to sneers and evil reports about our fellow men.

Tags: Evil, Men, Power

We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.

Tags: Desire, Sometimes, Talent

Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something.

Tags: Feeling, Someone, Trust

Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy - the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.

Tags: Bankruptcy, Hope, Soul

In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

Tags: Change, Learned, Learning

Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength.

Tags: Imitation, Strength, Weak

The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.

Tags: Human, Men, Nature

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.

Tags: Bite, Hand, Lick

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.

Tags: Evil, Greatest, Ugly

We feel free when we escape - even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.

Tags: Escape, Fire, Free

The suspicious mind believes more than it doubts. It believes in a formidable and ineradicable evil lurking in every person.

Tags: Believes, Evil, Mind

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

Tags: Discover, Enemy, Means

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.

Tags: Blessings, Count, Master

It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor.

Tags: Humanity, Love, Whole
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