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Quotations From ERIC HOFFER


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  • When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 33 (1955). Hoffer adds, "A society which gives unlimited freedom to the individual, more often than not attains a disconcerting sameness. On the other hand, where communal discipline is strict but not ruthless ... originality is likely to thrive."

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  • It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 124 (1955).
  • Man staggers through life yapped at by his reason, pulled and shoved by his appetites, whispered to by fears, beckoned by hopes. Small wonder that what he craves most is self-forgetting.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aphorism 219 (1955).

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  • The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 280 (1955).

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  • Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about. And since we know least about ourselves, we are ready to believe all that is said about us. Hence the mysterious power of both flattery and calumny.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 128 (1955). In the aphorism following, Hoffer added: "It is thus with most of us: we are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay."

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  • Dissipation is a form of self-sacrifice.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 9 (1955). Hoffer adds: "The passage from this to other forms of self-sacrifice is not uncommon. Passionate sinning has not infrequently been an apprenticeship to sainthood."
  • To the old, the new is usually bad news.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 268 (1955).
  • There is sublime thieving in all giving. Someone gives us all he has and we are his.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 236 (1955).
  • The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 65 (1955).

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  • The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders.
    Eric Hoffer (1902-1983), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 218 (1955).
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