Eric Hoffer

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Walker
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Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Wed May 03, 2017 11:21 pm

The Temper of Our Time

“There was at that time a large secondhand bookstore on Market Street called Lieberman’s and I went there to buy my book. I soon found one. It had about a thousand pages of small print and no pictures. The price was one dollar. The title page said these were The Essays of Michel de Montaigne. I knew what essays were but I did not know Montaigne from Adam. I put the book in my knapsack and caught the ferry to Sausalito.

“Sure enough, I got snowbound. I read the book three times until I knew it almost by heart. When I got back to the San Joaquin Valley I could not open my mouth without quoting Montaigne, and the fellows liked it. It got so whenever there was an argument about anything – women, money, animals, food, death – the would ask: “What does Montaigne say?” Out came the book and I would find the right passage. I am quite sure that even now there must be a number of migratory workers up and down the San Joaquin Valley still quoting Montaigne.”

- Eric Hoffer
The Temper of our Time

tbieter
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by tbieter » Thu May 04, 2017 2:37 pm

I have Hoffer"s classic, The True Believer, on my Kindle. It is searchable there so I frequently consult the book. An educated person interested in politics should have read the book.

Walker
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Thu May 04, 2017 2:56 pm

I enjoy his writings on nature.

Walker
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Thu May 04, 2017 3:16 pm

- My copy is old and yellow. Paperback. First Perennial Library edition, published in 1966, blah blah ... price, 75 cents.
- The glue in the binding of The Temper of Our Time has worn out. Many of the pages have come loose but the others that are still stuck, hold them in place.*
- I suppose it pays to buy quality.

“Men of thought seldom work well together, whereas between men of action there is usually an easy camaraderie. Teamwork is rare in intellectual or artistic undertakings, but common and almost indispensable among men of action. The cry 'Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower' is always a call for united action. A communist commissar of industry has probably more in common with a capitalist industrialist than with a Communist theoretician. The real International is that of men of action.”
- The True Believer, 97

I think that today, colleges have become training ground for people of action, as defined here by Hoffer.
Do you have any thoughts that relate to Hoffer, or do you just like to read?


*Fine metaphor; don't you just love when that happens?

tbieter
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by tbieter » Mon May 08, 2017 2:49 am

Walker wrote:- My copy is old and yellow. Paperback. First Perennial Library edition, published in 1966, blah blah ... price, 75 cents.
- The glue in the binding of The Temper of Our Time has worn out. Many of the pages have come loose but the others that are still stuck, hold them in place.*
- I suppose it pays to buy quality.

“Men of thought seldom work well together, whereas between men of action there is usually an easy camaraderie. Teamwork is rare in intellectual or artistic undertakings, but common and almost indispensable among men of action. The cry 'Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower' is always a call for united action. A communist commissar of industry has probably more in common with a capitalist industrialist than with a Communist theoretician. The real International is that of men of action.”
- The True Believer, 97

I think that today, colleges have become training ground for people of action, as defined here by Hoffer.
Do you have any thoughts that relate to Hoffer, or do you just like to read?


*Fine metaphor; don't you just love when that happens?
I think that I read all of his books. However, my evil ex-wife sold my library right after I moved out, so I no longer have them. As I read a book, I annotate and add gloss for future reference. Losing ones personal library is a grievous injury.

Walker
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Mon May 08, 2017 3:11 pm

I've given away boxes full of books but Hoffer survives the purges.

*

“The differentiated individual is free of boredom only when he is engaged either in creative work or some absorbing occupation or when he is wholly engrossed in the struggle for existence. Pleasure-chasing and dissipation are ineffective palliatives. Where people live autonomous lives and are not badly off, yet are without abilities or opportunities for creative work or useful action, there is no telling to what desperate and fantastic shifts they might resort in order to give meaning and purpose to their lives.”
- The True Believer

Internet – opiate of the masses.

tbieter
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by tbieter » Tue May 09, 2017 10:40 pm

Walker wrote:I've given away boxes full of books but Hoffer survives the purges.

*

“The differentiated individual is free of boredom only when he is engaged either in creative work or some absorbing occupation or when he is wholly engrossed in the struggle for existence. Pleasure-chasing and dissipation are ineffective palliatives. Where people live autonomous lives and are not badly off, yet are without abilities or opportunities for creative work or useful action, there is no telling to what desperate and fantastic shifts they might resort in order to give meaning and purpose to their lives.”
- The True Believer

Internet – opiate of the masses.
I read this biography in 2012. I highly recommend it. https://www.amazon.com/Eric-Hoffer-Long ... ric+hoffer

Walker
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Wed May 10, 2017 2:50 pm

Got it on your recommendation.

The kindle version is inexpensive. So far, pretty good, and I'm not far into it. I knew that his early life is a mystery. The personal touches of his behavior are interesting when compared to his writings, of which I'm much less familiar than you. A passionate man who recognizes that he has the tendencies of a fanatic. Hoffer edited his work heavily, obviously seeking brevity. A natural renunciate.

He collected quotations. He would write them on index cards and ponder them. Good method.

The biographer's perception of Hoffer's "inconsistencies" is interesting.

Walker
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:43 pm

“I am intrigued by the fact that art is primordial, that is roots reach back to the earliest phases of humanization. It antedates toolmaking. Man used clay to mold figurines long before he made clay pots. When grubbing for necessities man is still an animal. He becomes uniquely human when he reaches out for the superfluous and extravagant.”

- Eric Hoffer
Working and Thinking on the Waterfront


Sounds like art is in the genes, inherent.

Walker
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:27 pm

“And what excellent material are women for the building of a totalitarian society! Their capacity for blind fath, self-sacrifice, leader worship, and snooping makes them ideal true believers. What a picture: an elite of intellectuals served and guarded by an army of amazons.”
- Working and Thinking on the Waterfront


:lol:

What caused this outburst?

tbieter
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by tbieter » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:59 pm

Walker wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:27 pm
“And what excellent material are women for the building of a totalitarian society! Their capacity for blind fath, self-sacrifice, leader worship, and snooping makes them ideal true believers. What a picture: an elite of intellectuals served and guarded by an army of amazons.”
- Working and Thinking on the Waterfront


:lol:
Someone referred to the female political activists, or feminists, as "sweaty women of fevered brow."

What caused this outburst?

Walker
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Re: Eric Hoffer

Post by Walker » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:42 am

“There is in this country, particularly among the educated, a romantic, worshipful attitude toward nature. Nature is thought to be pure, innocent, serene, health giving, the fountainhead of elevated thoughts and feelings. It is now a mark of intellectual distinction to run down man and extol nature. When some years ago I wrote an article in which I questioned nature's benevolence and suggested that the contest between man and nature has been the central drama of the universe I was rewarded with a shower of brickbats.”

“I did not have to be a scholar to recognize that man's greatest achievements were conceived and realized not in the bracing atmosphere of plains, deserts, forests and mountaintops but in the crowded, noisy and smelly cities of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, and of Jerusalem, Athens, Florence, Amsterdam, Vienna, Paris, London and New York.”

- Eric Hoffer (quoted in 1971)
https://www.nytimes.com/1971/07/25/arch ... r-row.html

WarnerLot
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Eric Hoffer

Post by WarnerLot » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:51 pm

though from a family of means, decided against college. Why prepare for a career when you would be dead by 40?

So at age 17 or 18 he took to the roads. Living the life of a wandering hobo, Hoffer rode rail cars, walked and hitchhiked across the States. But always he read and read, frequenting public libraries by day and reading into the wee hours in flophouses and itinerant labor camps. The French philosopher Montaigne was a favorite.

For Hoffer a life-long pattern was emerging: physical activity, work, fellowship among workers and Americas neer do wells during the day, followed by reading and writing at night. If Woody Guthrie was the Bob Dylan/Bruce Springsteen of The Depression Era, then Americas Voltaire was being forged in the same foundry. He lived this way for many years.

But the American landscape is always transforming on a person who travels it and Hoffer was no exception. Gradually as the years went by some of the odd mental programming he had received from his beloved Nanny began to dissipate. As he got up into his middle and late thirties, it began to dawn on him that he might live longer than heretofore expected, that maybe something wasnt quite right with Frau Nanny, that for whatever reason, she had fed him false information. Information that wasnt workable to living a long, happy and productive life. He was waking up.

Sound familiar?

About this time, Hoffer had made his way to San Francisco and had procured work on the docks as a longshoreman. Hard work, camaraderie and fresh air during the day allowed him to process the ideas he would write about alone at night in his small waterfront shack. Now fairly certain that he wouldnt be dying soon, Hoffer felt free to settle into what was for him, the perfect sort of life. A tireless stevedore and union stalwart by day, a prolific writer and budding philosopher by night, Hoffer thrived this way for many years and wrote his best work.

It was during this productive time that he wrote The True Believer, an acknowledged classic of World thought, an undressing of mass brainwashing and a major work of world philosophy. A work that legitimately ranks him with his beloved Montaigne, in the same pantheon as Plato. He is perhaps America’s greatest philosopher and certainly the worlds most American one. His work is warmly welcomed and resides in libraries all over the world. That his books are ubiquitous in public libraries would be Hoffers own proudest accomplishment. He died an honorary Doctor and working Professor of Philosophy at The University of San Francisco.

The world is a better place because he gradually awoke.

The role of McCarthy is a small one in The Time Of Your Life. But no role was easier for me to so subsume myself into as I stood backstage and waited to go on. Onstage, speaking those lines turned out to be for me, the only moments as an actor that I have ever felt... not myself, yet more myself... not in my own body. I was floating. It wasnt me that was out there, I was gone.

I had been out of Scientology for ten years and had pretty much not looked back. But studying Hoffer and playing McCarthy helped me to understand how it happens. And though Eric was an atheist of sorts, I hope he was wrong on that count and that when I get to the other side we can chat about the books we each have read.

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