Zitate von Eric Hoffer

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Eric Hoffer

Geburtstag: 25. Juli 1898
Todesdatum: 21. Mai 1983

Eric Hoffer war ein sozialkritischer US-amerikanischer Philosoph und Autor. Seine Ideen hat er in zehn Büchern dargestellt, deren erstes, The True Believer, sowohl von ihm selbst als auch von der Kritik als sein bestes und wichtigstes angesehen wird. Im Februar 1983 wurde er von Ronald Reagan mit der Presidential Medal of Freedom ausgezeichnet. Wikipedia

Zitate Eric Hoffer

„If anybody asks me what I have accomplished, I will say all I have accomplished is that I have written a few good sentences.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Manuscript note, quoted at The Eric Hoffer Award official site http://www.hofferaward.com/

„Those who discover things for themselves and express them in their own way are not overly bothered by the fact that others have already discovered these things — have even discovered them over and over again — and have expressed what they found in all manner of ways.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Entry (1960)
Eric Hoffer and the Art of the Notebook (2005)
Kontext: Total innovation is a flight from comparison and also from imitation. Those who discover things for themselves and express them in their own way are not overly bothered by the fact that others have already discovered these things — have even discovered them over and over again — and have expressed what they found in all manner of ways.

„The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Israel's Peculiar Position (1968)
Kontext: The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese — and no one says a word about refugees.
But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab.
Arnold J. Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace.

„There is fear and intolerance in pride; it is sensitive and uncompromising. The less promise and potency in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Section 35
The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)
Kontext: Pride is a sense of worth derived from something that is not organically part of us, while self-esteem derives from the potentialities and achievements of the self. We are proud when we identify ourselves with an imaginary self, a leader, a holy cause, a collective body or possessions. There is fear and intolerance in pride; it is sensitive and uncompromising. The less promise and potency in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection.
It is true that when pride releases energies and serves as a spur to achievement, it can lead to a reconciliation with the self and the attainment of genuine self-esteem.

„A society becomes stagnant when its people are too rational or too serious to be tempted by baubles.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Section 28
Reflections on the Human Condition (1973)
Kontext: Man is a luxury-loving animal. Take away play, fancies, and luxuries, and you will turn man into a dull, sluggish creature, barely energetic enough to obtain a bare subsistence. A society becomes stagnant when its people are too rational or too serious to be tempted by baubles.

„We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Sections 128 - 129
The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)
Kontext: 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.... It is thus with most of us: we are what other people say we are. We know ourselves chiefly by hearsay.

„No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion — it is an evil government.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Section 147
The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)
Kontext: The only index by which to judge a government or a way of life is by the quality of the people it acts upon. No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion — it is an evil government.

„Wordiness is a sickness of American writing. Too many words dilute and blur ideas.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Letter to Mrs. Blumberg (27 September 1977)

„Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.“

—  Eric Hoffer, buch The True Believer

The True Believer (1951), Part Three: United Action and Self-Sacrifice
Kontext: It is easier to hate an enemy with much good in him than one who is all bad. We cannot hate those we despise. The Japanese had an advantage over us in that they admired us more than we admired them. They could hate us more fervently than we could hate them. The Americans are poor haters in international affairs because of their innate feeling of superiority over all foreigners. An American's hatred for a fellow American (for Hoover or Roosevelt) is far more virulent than any antipathy he can work up against foreigners. It is of interest that the backward South shows more xenophobia than the rest of the country. Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life. <!-- p. 96

„In all my life I never competed for fortune, for a woman, or for fame. I learned to write in total isolation.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Entry (1981)
Eric Hoffer and the Art of the Notebook (2005)
Kontext: In all my life I never competed for fortune, for a woman, or for fame. I learned to write in total isolation. My first work was also my best, and the first thing published. I never belonged to a circle or clique. I did not know I was writing a book until it was written. When my first book was published there was no one near me, an acquaintance let alone a friend, to congratulate me. I have never savored triumph, never won a race.

„Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect.“

—  Eric Hoffer

The Temper of Our Time (1967)
Kontext: Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs, and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect. They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom, justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect. The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom, tolerance, and equity.

„This last faculty is one of the most essential and elusive“

—  Eric Hoffer, buch The True Believer

Section 90
The True Believer (1951), Part Three: United Action and Self-Sacrifice
Kontext: Exceptional intelligence, noble character and originality seem neither indispensable nor perhaps desirable. The main requirements seem to be: audacity and a joy in defiance; an iron will; a fanatical conviction that he is in possession of the one and only truth; faith in his destiny and luck; a capacity for passionate hatred; contempt for the present; a cunning estimate of human nature; a delight in symbols (spectacles and ceremonials); unbounded brazenness which finds expression in a disregard of consistency and fairness; a recognition that the innermost craving of a following is for communion and that there can never be too much of it; a capacity for winning and holding the utmost loyalty of a group of able lieutenants. This last faculty is one of the most essential and elusive.

„People who are clear-sighted, undeluded, and sober-minded will not go on working once their reasonable needs are satisfied. A society that refuses to strive for superfluities is likely to end up lacking in necessities. The readiness to work springs from trivial, questionable motives.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Journal entry (22 February1959, 8:15 P.M.)
Working and Thinking on the Waterfront (1969)
Kontext: There is, for instance, the fact that there is a greater readiness to work in a society with a high standard of living than in one with a low standard. We are more ready to strive and work for superfluities than for necessities. People who are clear-sighted, undeluded, and sober-minded will not go on working once their reasonable needs are satisfied. A society that refuses to strive for superfluities is likely to end up lacking in necessities. The readiness to work springs from trivial, questionable motives. … A vigorous society is a society made up of people who set their hearts on toys, and who would work for superfluities than for necessities. The self-righteous moralists decry such a society, yet it is well to keep in mind that both children and artists need luxuries more than they need necessities.

„The ratio between supervisory and producing personnel is always highest where the intellectuals are in power.“

—  Eric Hoffer

The Temper of Our Time (1967)
Kontext: The ratio between supervisory and producing personnel is always highest where the intellectuals are in power. In a Communist country it takes half the population to supervise the other half.

„Actual creativeness is a matter of moments.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Entry (1956)
Eric Hoffer and the Art of the Notebook (2005)
Kontext: Actual creativeness is a matter of moments. One has to piece together the minute grains to make a lump. And it is so easy to miss the momentary flashes, it is like sluicing in placer mining. He who lets the flakes float by has nothing to show for his trouble.

„There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Section 181
The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)
Kontext: There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life. Moreover, when we have an alibi for not writing a book, painting a picture, and so on, we have an alibi for not writing the greatest book and not painting the greatest picture. Small wonder that the effort expended and the punishment endured in obtaining a good alibi often exceed the effort and grief requisite for the attainment of a most marked achievement.

„They hate not wickedness but weakness. When it is their power to do so, the weak destroy weakness wherever they see it.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Section 42
The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)
Kontext: It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from the sense of inadequacy and impotence. They hate not wickedness but weakness. When it is their power to do so, the weak destroy weakness wherever they see it.

„The autonomous individual, striving to realize himself and prove his worth, has created all that is great in literature, art, music, science and technology. The autonomous individual, also, when he can neither realize himself nor justify his existence by his own efforts, is a breeding call of frustration, and the seed of the convulsions which shake our world to its foundations.“

—  Eric Hoffer

Section 29
The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955)
Kontext: A fateful process is set in motion when the individual is released "to the freedom of his own impotence" and left to justify his existence by his own efforts. The autonomous individual, striving to realize himself and prove his worth, has created all that is great in literature, art, music, science and technology. The autonomous individual, also, when he can neither realize himself nor justify his existence by his own efforts, is a breeding call of frustration, and the seed of the convulsions which shake our world to its foundations.
The individual on his own is stable only so long as he is possessed of self-esteem. The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task which taxes all of the individual's powers and inner resources. We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day. When, for whatever reason, self-esteem is unattainable, the autonomous individual becomes a highly explosive entity. He turns away from an unpromising self and plunges into the pursuit of pride — the explosive substitute for self-esteem. All social disturbances and upheavals have their roots in crises of individual self-esteem, and the great endeavor in which the masses most readily unite is basically a search for pride.

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