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Thread: Eric Hoffer

  1. #1
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Default Eric Hoffer

    ...

    Is the shit!!!

    Just spent some time skimming through my beat-up copy of Eric Hoffer's, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, and my oh my did I find some gems of pertinent wisdom.



    Some excerpts:

    - Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.

    - The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.

    - 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.

    - In times of peace and prosperity, a democratic nation is an institutionalized association of more or less free individuals. On the other hand, in times of crisis, when the nation's existence is threatened, and it tries to reinforce its unity and generate in its people a readiness for self-sacrifice, it almost always assumes in some degree the character of a mass movement.

    - It is a perplexing and unpleasant truth that when men already have "something worth fighting for," they do not feel like fighting. People who live full, worthwhile lives are not usually ready to die for their own interests nor for their country nor for a holy cause. Craving, not having, is the mother of a reckless giving of oneself.

    - It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. What we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbeliefs.

    - It is obvious, therefore, that in order to be effective a doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in.

    - To be in possession of an absolute truth is to have a net of familiarity spread over the whole of eternity. There are no surprises and no unknowns. All questions have already been answered, all decisions made, all eventualities foreseen. The true believer is without wonder and hesitation.

    - Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in the devil. Usually the strength of the mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: "No....We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one."

    - Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us. There is a guilty conscience behind every brazen word and act and behind every manifestation of self-righteousness.

    - People whose lives are barren and insecure seem to show a greater willingness to obey than people who are self-sufficient and self-confident

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wow, this guy knows what's up.

    Eric Hoffer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    `
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    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

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  2. #2
    EvanTheClown (ETC) Clownmaster's Avatar
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    Never heard of him, but now you have me very intrigued.

    Because you can't spell "Slaughter" without "Laughter"

  3. #3
    mountain surfing nomadic's Avatar
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    sounds interesting

    wanted to start reading again...lol

  4. #4
    Senior Member Maabus1999's Avatar
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    I agree with some. Disagree with others. Maybe add something to one or two assertions here. However, all in all, well thought out.

    Course I better not admit the current book I'm reading as the intellectual value is near zero. *>cough< Alphabet of Manliness*

  5. #5
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    I just saw Religulous.



    :sad:



    We are ALL human beings subject to the same or incredibly similar human things. We are primates, we are mammals, we are animals.

    If you don't know yourself, and thus lack a sense of self, somebody will eventually come along and tell you who you are, what you should believe, and how you should act and think, and then this new imposed "identity" will sadly become your *role* as "self".

    A self-less self is an empty vessel and a potential pawn for a corrupt someone else.

    :sad:
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  6. #6
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    I just saw Religulous.
    Well...was it worth seeing?
    I've heard that Maher's strategy of picking out the extremists/stupid people to argue with made it lame, but I don't really care about the commentary; I'd like to see the extremists, if they present anything more extreme than that of which I would otherwise be aware.

  7. #7
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.
    Yes, to a considerable extent it is. Not all of it, and I'm not sure what the proper quantity would be to fill in "considerable extent". I think the other major cause of this faith is frustration with the unanswerability of existence.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, hie race or his holy cause.
    I think this is one of the most accurate statements from the list. People cling to group pride to fill in personal deficiencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - 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.
    Totally overlooks the fact that two or more peoples' business frequently intertwine and becomes eachothers' business.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - In times of peace and prosperity, a democratic nation is an institutionalized association of more or less free individuals. On the other hand, in times of crisis, when the nation's existence is threatened, and it tries to reinforce its unity and generate in its people a readiness for self-sacrifice, it almost always assumes in some degree the character of a mass movement.
    The degree to which people are ever so free is questionable. The second part about the development of mass movement, however, goes without saying. It's almost too obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - It is a perplexing and unpleasant truth that when men already have "something worth fighting for," they do not feel like fighting. People who live full, worthwhile lives are not usually ready to die for their own interests nor for their country nor for a holy cause. Craving, not having, is the mother of a reckless giving of oneself.
    I'm not sure if this is entirely true. People sometimes perceive that their is a threat to their posession of the things they have and like, and they will fight for that if given no other choice. Now, if they are given another choice, they will take it, because it's not rational to risk a cost when you no longer need to gain anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible. What we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbeliefs.
    Sorry to get picky here, but does not every belief require an unbelief in some framing? I think it is an irrelevant distinction. If I have a belief that God exists, then I also have an unbelief in God. It means the same thing either way. All concepts are sustained by both.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - It is obvious, therefore, that in order to be effective a doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in.
    Errmmm... How do we define doctrine here? What, in a doctrine's case, is the meaning of effective?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - To be in possession of an absolute truth is to have a net of familiarity spread over the whole of eternity. There are no surprises and no unknowns. All questions have already been answered, all decisions made, all eventualities foreseen. The true believer is without wonder and hesitation.
    If true believer means someone that believes in something completely, then this statement is true. I'm hoping that it is a comment against true believers, as I am I strongly (though not absolutely ) convinced of the truth of fallibalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in the devil. Usually the strength of the mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: "No....We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one."
    I think they can spread without a devil. People are sometimes all persauded by a misguided hunger for one thing they all percieve to be good. Just as well, the masses may be motivated by a hatred for one people or person, but so can they be guided by an admiration for one people or person. Sometimes, the concept of a bad side is carelessly neglected.

    Of course, I could once again play the card of interchangability as well. Is all seeking of good the avoiding of bad, and vice versa?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    - Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us. There is a guilty conscience behind every brazen word and act and behind every manifestation of self-righteousness.
    I disagree with this at a psychological level. It has been well known what connections there are between guilt and self-righteousness, but sometimes people to really believe they have goodness that deserves to be broadly asserted. There's that cliche that all hatred for others is just a reflection of hatred for oneself, and I frankly think it is pop-psychology to make people feel better. Sometimes, people do hate you for reasons that have nothing to do with hatred for themselves. This issue of self-righteousness is much the same.

    [QUOTE=CaptainChick;373407]
    - People whose lives are barren and insecure seem to show a greater willingness to obey than people who are self-sufficient and self-confident
    [QUOTE=CaptainChick;373407]

    Of course. People who are destitute want and need more, so they are more willing to put up with burdens to get something in return. Additionally, those who are confident may believe themselves (wrongly I might add) to have a better understanding than all who command them.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #8
    Senior Member Maabus1999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    I just saw Religulous.

    We are ALL human beings subject to the same or incredibly similar human things. We are primates, we are mammals, we are animals.

    If you don't know yourself, and thus lack a sense of self, somebody will eventually come along and tell you who you are, what you should believe, and how you should act and think, and then this new imposed "identity" will sadly become your *role* as "self".

    A self-less self is an empty vessel and a potential pawn for a corrupt someone else.

    :sad:

    Oh I understand that. I live in the South and have many local acquaintances that like to debate religion with me. I think it irks them that they can not move me at all from my own faith and my identity within it. They honestly say they have never met anyone like me (then course some worry if I'm going to hell...)

    However your point comes down to being genuine combined with social developmental growth. I can't remember all the stages (been since high school since I thought about this...) but basically in order to develop to a more mature mental state "spiritually", you have to get through your basic needs first. First stage is survival for example. But in the end you have to basically achieve self identity and become content with yourself and your life to reach these final stages of mental development. If you are content to die at any point due to living a full life, you have matured. And if you have matured, you won't be open to suggestion about your life in the end. Too bad I can't find where this is written as this might be confusing...

  9. #9
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastMohican View Post
    Well...was it worth seeing?
    I've heard that Maher's strategy of picking out the extremists/stupid people to argue with made it lame, but I don't really care about the commentary; I'd like to see the extremists, if they present anything more extreme than that of which I would otherwise be aware.
    Eh, it was good, but he and I share similar views so he was, no pun intended, "preaching to the choir".

    The dingbat senator from Arkansas that he interviews in the film is pretty priceless and shocking to watch/observe/bear witness to.

    :horor:
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  10. #10
    Senior Member TheLastMohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    The dingbat senator from Arkansas that he interviews in the film is pretty priceless and shocking to watch/observe/bear witness to.

    :horor:
    I just remembered seeing Maher on some show (Larry King Live, I believe) where they played the clip, and afterwards Maher rushed to mention what a nice guy the senator was, as if he was feeling guilty for the portrayal. I don't know what relevance that has...just bringing it up. It did make me a lot more curious to see the full interview.

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