Sunday, August 17, 2008

Eric Hoffer

If you've been around this blog for very long, you may recall that one of my favorite writers is Eric Hoffer, the so-called "Longshoreman Philosopher." My mother introduced me to his work many years ago, and I always enjoy going back and reading through his numerous books to enjoy his insights on all topics. My favorite of his books was his first, The True Believer, which was a penetrating look at the dynamics of mass movements and fanaticism (a topic in which I am hugely interested).


While I was traveling last week, I needed a fairly thin book to take with me on the plane (you never know any more when they'll start charging for carry-ons), and I selected another of Hoffer's books, Reflections on the Human Condition...only 86 pages long, but crammed with wonderful insights into human nature. Here are some of my favorite quotes from this great book:

#46 - "It is cheering to see that the rats are still around - the ship is not sinking."

#88 - "An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head."

#141 - "People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."


#52 - "It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as native Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it." (I'll have more to say on this one tomorrow)

Eric Hoffer's books are short and most are divided into brief sections only a few lines or a short paragraph long. Individual sections may be short, but his writing style is clear and compelling and his comments and insight are marvelous. Next time you're in the library, check him out. You won't be sorry.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

I'll have to check him out at some point :)

Enjoy your Sunday

Mike said...

I think pound 88 is contradictionallying confusing. I can’t seem to figure out that if the space is junk filled, then how can it be empty. Empty of what? I just can’t seem to get it into my head!

Bilbo said...

Mike - I rest my case.