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371 Society Quotes

We know that words cannot move mountains, but they can move the multitude; and men are more ready to fight and die for a word than for anything else. Words shape thought, stir feeling, and beget action; they kill and revive, corrupt and cure. The "men-of-words"- priests, prophets, intellectuals- have played a more decisive role in history than military leaders, statesmen, and businessmen.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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The nineteenth century planted the words which the twentieth century ripened into the atrocities of Stalin and Hitler. There is hardly an atrocity committed in the twentieth century that was not foreshadowed or even advocated by some noble man of words in the nineteenth.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputations.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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Where intellectuals have played a role in history, it has not been so much by whispering words of advice into the ears of political overlords as by contributing to the vast and powerful currents of conceptions and misconceptions that sweep human action along.

Thomas Sowell Quotes

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Much of what sophisticates loftily refer to as the "complexity" of the real world is in fact the inconsistency in their own minds.

Thomas Sowell Quotes

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All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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However different the holy causes people die for, they perhaps die basically for the same thing.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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There is a fundamental difference between the appeal of a mass movement and the appeal of a practical organization. The practical organization offers opportunities for self-advancement, and its appeal is mainly to self-interest. On the other hand, a mass movement, particularly in its active, revivalist phase, appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self. A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaningless of an individual existence. It cures the poignantly frustrated not by conferring upon them an absolute truth or by remedying the difficulties and abuses which made their lives miserable, but by freeing them from their ineffectual selves- and it does this by enfolding and absorbing them into a closely knit and exultant corporate whole.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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The vigor of a mass movement stems from the propensity of its followers for united action and self-sacrifice. When we ascribe the success of a movement to its faith, doctrine, propaganda, leadership, ruthlessness and so on, we are but referring to instruments of unification and to means used to inculcate a readiness for self-sacrifice. It is perhaps impossible to understand the nature of a mass movement unless it is recognized that their chief preoccupation is to foster, perfect and perpetuate a facility for united action and self-sacrifice.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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The rule seems to be that those who find no difficulty in deceiving themselves are easily deceived by others. They are easily persuaded and led.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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There is apparently no surer way of turning a thing into its opposite than by exaggerating it.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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In human affairs, the best stimulus for running ahead is to have something we must run from.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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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. In running away from ourselves we either fall on our neighbor's shoulder or fly at his throat.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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When our individual interests and prospects do not seem worth living for, we are in desperate need for something apart from us to live for. All forms of dedication, devotion, loyalty and self-surrender are in essence a desperate clinging to something which might give worth and meaning to our futile, spoiled lives.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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We run fastest and farthest when we run from ourselves.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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The revulsion from an unwanted self, and the impulse to forget it, mask it, slough it off and lose it, produce both a readiness to sacrifice the self and a willingness to dissolve it by losing one's individual distinctness in a compact collective whole.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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To our real, naked selves there is not a thing on earth or in heaven worth dying for. It is only when we see ourselves as actors in a staged (and therefore unreal) performance that death loses its frightfulness and finality and becomes an act of make-believe and a theatrical gesture. It is one of the main tasks of a real leader to mask the grim reality of dying and killing by evoking in his followers the illusion that they are participating in a grandiose spectacle, a solemn or lighthearted dramatic performance.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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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.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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The truth seems to be that propaganda on its own cannot force its way into unwilling minds; neither can it inculcate something wholly new; nor can it keep people persuaded once they have ceased to believe. It penetrates into minds already open, and rather than instill opinion it articulates and justifies opinions already present in the minds of its recipients.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth. The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others.

Eric Hoffer Quotes

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