Eric Hoffer


Do you love reading non-fiction books? As a matter of the fact that, most of avid readers I know are into the fiction books, because, it seems to them that reading such books help them discover new lands, new cultures and new people better than non-fiction books. Another point is that we as human being are being deeply depressed and overwhelmed by the troubles of the real life.From this point of view, reading the genres I stated above is salvation for people.

Anyway, to speak in a direct or frank manner, I have recently found out the American philosopher Eric Hoffer, who died May 21, 1983.The Author has a very interesting and intriguing life story. He lost the eyesight of his eyes when he was seven years old with an unknown reasond and his eyesight returned abruptly when he turned into fifteen years old. With the fear of losing out the eyesight again, the author dedicated himself to the reading. In other words, he began to read voraciously. For the rest of his life, he found jobs as a migrant farm worker and a manual labourer. Throughout his life, he also wrote books attached above and was invited by some university as a speaker. Even though he never studied in a school and got educated officially, a position as a consultant was proposed by some universities.

I first read "The Ordeal of Change" written by Hoffer and his remarks impressed me deeply. The Ordeal of Change  is a collection of 16 essays . All deal with political, social and philosophical ideas. The topics range from the origin and stimulus of political change, the working class and management, fanaticism, human nature and the ironies of individual freedom. Some quotes taken from the book via Goodreads are as follow; For your information, quotes were taken, because I read it in Turkish

  • “The individual's most vital need is to prove his worth, and this usually means an insatiable hunger for action. For it is only the few who can acquire a sense of worth by developing and employing their capacities and talents. The majority prove their worth by keeping busy.” 
  • “It has been often 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 fruits of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from the sense of their inadequacy and impotence. We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression.” 
  • “Seen as a process of imitation, it becomes understandable why the Westernization of a backward country so often breeds a violent antagonism toward the West. People who become like us do not necessarily love us. The sense of inferiority inherent in the act of imitation breeds resentment. The impulse of the imitators is to overcome the model they imitate—to surpass it, leave it behind, or, better still, eliminate it completely. Now and then in history the last was done first: the imitators began by destroying the model and then proceeded to imitate it. We are apparently most at ease when we imitate a defeated or dead model.” 
  • “The Communist Manifesto condemned the bourgeoisie not only for pauperizing, dehumanizing, and enslaving the toiling masses, but also for robbing the intellectual of his elevated status. “The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe.” Though the movement was initiated by intellectuals and powered by their talents and hungers, it yet held up the proletariat as the chosen people—the only carrier of the revolutionary idea, and the chief beneficiary of the revolution to come. The intellectuals, particularly those who had “raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole,” were to act as guides—as a composite Moses—during the long wanderings in the desert. Like Moses, the intellectuals would have no more to do once the promised land was in sight. “The role of the intelligentsia,” said Lenin, “is to make special leaders from among the intelligentsia unnecessary.”

The book is pretty good and I am sure that you will love it.

Another book giving popularity to the Hoffer is “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements”. It is another book has spectacular and considerable remarks. The book seeks to explain the causes of mass movements and how political upheavals emerge predictably from psychological and sociological predispositions (inclinations). Some of remarkable quotes taken are stated as follow;

  • “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.” 
  • “The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.” 
  • “A movement is pioneered by men of words, materialized by fanatics and consolidated by men of action.” 
  • “The permanent misfits can find salvation only in a complete separation from the self; and they usually find it by losing themselves in the compact collectivity of a mass movement.” 
  • “To wrong those we hate is to add fuel to our hatred. Conversely, to treat an enemy with magnanimity is to blunt our hatred for him” 
  • “A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business. 
    This minding of other people's business expresses itself in gossip, snooping and meddling, and also in feverish interest in communal, national, and racial affairs."

Furthermore, I would like to say more but these books are the ones I have recently read but they are worth of reading.

Be safe, Enjoy your read..............


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  • Dear SNR 

    Thanx for dropping by. Well I sometimes buy books but those books are the ones translated into Turkish. The books in English language is taken from " "or and I read them by my kobo e-reader or there is an Android app called as "any books" you can read on that application

  • Hi Batu, 

    Thanks for giving the reference if the books. I have a question.... You read a lot of books. So you read ebooks or u buy all of them? 

    If ebooks then where can I find such books any app is there where I can find some books to read.

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