Eric Hoffer


American Longshoreman, Social Writer and Philosopher awarded Presidential Medal of Freeedom

Author Quotes

Youth itself is a talent, a perishable talent.

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.

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

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.

We are more prone to generalize the bad than the good. We assume that the bad is more potent and contagious.

Unpredictability, too, can become monotonous.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

The greatest weariness comes from work not done.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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American Longshoreman, Social Writer and Philosopher awarded Presidential Medal of Freeedom