Eric Hoffer’s Aphorisms

“The fact of death and nothingness at the end is a certitude unsurpassed by any absolute truth ever discovered.  Yet knowing this, people can be deadly serious about their prospects, grievances, duties and trespassings.  The only explanation for which suggests itself is that seriousness is a means of camouflage:  we conceal the triviality and nullity of our lives by taking things seriously.  No opiate and no pleasure chase can so effectively mask the terrible truth about man’s life as does seriousness.”

“Man staggers through life yapped at by his reason, pulled and shoved by his appetites, whispered to by fears, beckoned by hopes.  Small wonder that what he craves most is self-forgetting.”

“Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness.  The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.”

“The superficiality of the American is the result of his hustling.  It needs leisure to think things out; it needs leisure to mature.  People in a hurry cannot think, cannot grow, nor can they decay.  They are preserved in a state of perpetual puerility.”

“The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”

“Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.”

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~ by Scott Hamilton Peters on November 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “Eric Hoffer’s Aphorisms”

  1. I love these quotes. There is one quote I find a little imprecise.

    “The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”

    As all poets do they write about their life experiences. And it is true most people search for happiness where it is not found. But I seems this poet didn’t know that search for happiness actually can bring happiness, when he made this claim. You just need to search in the right space. As Rumi writes,
    “We can’t help being thirsty, moving toward the voice of water.”

    I think he is saying we can’t help being thirsty for happiness. We need the search, that is why we are here. But unfortunately most people are looking for it in the wrong places.

    Rumi also writes,
    “To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.”

    Look at yourself. Praise it. Then you will enjoy the sun.

    “Those who don’t feel this Love
    pulling them like a river,
    those who don’t drink dawn
    like a cup of spring water
    or take in sunset like supper,
    those who don’t want to change,

    let them sleep.

    This Love is beyond the study of theology,
    that old trickery and hypocrisy.
    I you want to improve your mind that way,

    sleep on.
    I’ve given up on my brain.
    I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
    and thrown it away.

    If you’re not completely naked,
    wrap your beautiful robe of words
    around you,

    and sleep.”

    So is the brain the answer to happiness – no. If you use your brain to search for happiness, the quote is very accurate. Just track record. Using your heart, listening to it, then the search can begin, and when you are silent, listeng – suddenly unhappiness, darkness disappears, because the room is filled with light.

  2. Or, if by searching you are not finding, I relate my gramp’s favorite saying: “You’ll always find it in the last place you look”.

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