The Passionate State Of Mindby Eric Hoffer
Eric Hoffer--one of America's most important thinkers and the author of The True Believer--lived for years as a Depression Era migratory worker. Self-taught, his appetite for knowledge--history, science, mankind--formed the basis of his insight to human nature. The Passionate State of Mind is a collection of timeless aphorisms taken from his brilliant writings.
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Eric Hoffer had a keen insight into this world. He reached maturity in the 1930's and 1940's, when cruel tyrants like Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Mao Za-Dong came to power. Hoffer hated tyranny and cruelty. He asked himself, 'How did these guys get to the top? Why?' His reading and thinking led him to write The True Believer and this book. In this and his others, Hoffer used his considerable wit to dissect the bitter ironies of human nature and the time in which he lived: (1) 'The passion to teach is far more powerful and primitive than the passion to learn' (2) 'When we lose our individual independence to the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom - the freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame or remorse' (3) 'We live in an era than wants a tangible god, be he a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Daddy Grace.' I heartily recommend this and all other books by Eric Hoffer.
This book was the ideal follow-up to 'The True Believer,' as it deals more specifically with the minds of men. Although it consists entirely of aphorisms, Hoffer continues writing with an icy detachment from his subject, which is again used to brilliant effect. When you read one of the aphorisms and stop to think about it, you don't know who you're looking at; it could call anyone into question, including yourself. The introspection required in reading this book can become rather unsettling, even to people who are very self-assured. But in the end, it provides a wholly worthwhile journey.