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Eric Hoffer Quotes

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

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

"Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity."

"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."

"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."

"The pre-human creature from which man evolved was unlike any other living thing in its malicious viciousness toward its own kind. Humanization was not a leap forward but a groping toward survival."

"Thought is a process of exaggeration. The refusal to exaggerate is not infrequently an alibi for the disinclination to think or praise."

"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."

"Facts are counterrevolutionary."

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

"However much we guard ourselves against it, we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. 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."

"To the excessively fearful the chief characteristic of power is its arbitrariness. Man had to gain enormously in confidence before he could conceive an all-powerful God who obeys his own laws."

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

"In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists."

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

"We find it hard to apply the knowledge of ourselves to our judgment of others. The fact that we are never of one kind, that we never love without reservations and never hate with all our being cannot prevent us from seeing others as wholly black or white."

"The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood."

"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."

"Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength."

"Nature is a self-made machine, more perfectly automated than any automated machine. To create something in the image of nature is to create a machine, and it was by learning the inner working of nature that man became a builder of machines."

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