Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end results of
View quote | Quotes about Achievement

One of the marks of a truly vigorous society is the ability to dispense with passion as a midwife of action --the ability to pass directly from thought to action.
View quote | Quotes about Action

Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one's balance and keep afloat.
View quote | Quotes about Action

The link between ideas and action is rarely direct. There is almost always an intermediate step in which the idea is overcome. De Tocqueville points out that it is at times when passions start to govern human affairs that ideas are most obviously translated into political action. The translation of ideas into action is usually in the hands of people least likely to follow rational motives. Hence, it is that action is often the nemesis of ideas, and sometimes of the men who formulate them. One of the marks of the truly vigorous society is the ability to dispense with passion as a midwife of action the ability to pass directly from thought to action.
View quote | Quotes about Action

Perhaps a modern society can remain stable only by eliminating adolescence, by giving its young, from the age of ten, the skills, responsibilities, and rewards of grownups, and opportunities for action in all spheres of life. Adolescence should be a time of useful action, while book learning and scholarship should be a preoccupation of adults.
View quote | Quotes about Adolescence

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.
View quote | Quotes about Affectation

Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

The end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness.
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

To grow old is to grow common. Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
View quote | Quotes about Age and Aging

Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.
View quote | Quotes about Ambition

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.
View quote | Quotes about America

Animals often strike us as passionate machines.
View quote | Quotes about Animals

The remarkable thing is that it is the crowded life that is most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crises is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even its few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty.
View quote | Quotes about Autobiography

We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.
View quote | Quotes about Bigotry

When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths.
View quote | Quotes about Bigotry

When people are bored it is primarily with themselves.
View quote | Quotes about Bores and Boredom

There is always a chance that he who sets himself up as his brother's keeper will end up by being his jail-keeper.
View quote | Quotes about Brotherhood

Capitalism is at its liberating best in a noncapitalist environment. The crypto-businessman is the true revolutionary in a Communist country.
View quote | Quotes about Capitalism

To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.
View quote | Quotes about Change

There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.
View quote | Quotes about Chastity

Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.
View quote | Quotes about Compassion

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.
View quote | Quotes about Conformity

What greater reassurance can the weak have than that they are like anyone else?
View quote | Quotes about Conventionality

When cowardice is made respectable, its followers are without number both from among the weak and the strong; it easily becomes a fashion.
View quote | Quotes about Coward and Cowardice

Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about. And since we know least about ourselves, we are ready to believe all that is said about us. Hence the mysterious power of both flattery and calumny.
View quote | Quotes about Credulity

Death has but one terror, that it has no tomorrow.
View quote | Quotes about Death and Dying

How frighteningly few are the persons whose death would spoil our appetite and make the world seem empty.
View quote | Quotes about Death and Dying

It is a sign of a creeping inner death when we no longer can praise the living.
View quote | Quotes about Death and Dying

The world leans on us. When we sag, the whole world seems to droop.
View quote | Quotes about Depression

Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy -- the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.
View quote | Quotes about Disappointments

The greatest weariness comes from work not done.
View quote | Quotes about Discontent

The chemistry of dissatisfaction is as the chemistry of some marvelously potent tar. In it are the building stones of explosives, stimulants, poisons, opiates, perfumes and stenches.
View quote | Quotes about Dissatisfaction

Though dissenters seem to question everything in sight, they are actually bundles of dusty answers and never conceived a new question. What offends us most in the literature of dissent is the lack of hesitation and wonder.
View quote | Quotes about Dissent

The beginning of thought is in disagreement -- not only with others but also with ourselves.
View quote | Quotes about Dissent

Dissipation is a form of self-sacrifice.
View quote | Quotes about Dissipation

We do not really feel grateful toward those who make our dreams come true; they ruin our dreams.
View quote | Quotes about Dreams

We have perhaps a natural fear of ends. We would rather be always on the way than arrive. Given the means, we hang on to them and often forget the ends.
View quote | Quotes about Ends and Means

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.
View quote | Quotes about Escapism

It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak.
View quote | Quotes about Evil

The pre-human creature from which man evolved was unlike any other living thing in its malicious viciousness toward its own kind. Humanization was not a leap forward but a groping toward survival.
View quote | Quotes about Evolution

Thought is a process of exaggeration. The refusal to exaggerate is not infrequently an alibi for the disinclination to think or praise.
View quote | Quotes about Exaggeration

It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
View quote | Quotes about Example

The individual who has to justify his existence by his own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself.
View quote | Quotes about Existence

Facts are counterrevolutionary.
View quote | Quotes about Facts

They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.
View quote | Quotes about Failure

There is no loneliness greater than the loneliness of a failure. The failure is a stranger in his own house.
View quote | Quotes about Failure

Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
View quote | Quotes about Faith

Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.
View quote | Quotes about Fatigue

Our greatest weariness comes from work not done.
View quote | Quotes about Fatigue

The pleasure we derive from doing favors is partly in the feeling it gives us that we are not altogether worthless. It is a pleasant surprise to ourselves.
View quote | Quotes about Favors

Fear of becoming a has been keeps some people from becoming anything.
View quote | Quotes about Fear

Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear. Thus a feeling of utter unworthiness can be a source of courage.
View quote | Quotes about Fear

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
View quote | Quotes about Freedom

There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.
View quote | Quotes about Freedom

Friendship Never explain -- your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe it anyway. A real friend never gets in your way, unless you happen to be on the way down. A friend is someone you can do nothing with and enjoy it. However much we guard ourselves against it, we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. It is not so much the example of others we imitate, as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

However much we guard ourselves against it, we tend to shape ourselves in the image others have of us. It is not so much the example of others we imitate, as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.
View quote | Quotes about Friends and Friendship

It is the awareness of unfulfilled desires which gives a nation the feeling that it has a mission and a destiny.
View quote | Quotes about Frustration

We are more prone to generalize the bad than the good. We assume that the bad is more potent and contagious.
View quote | Quotes about Generalizations

There is sublime thieving in all giving. Someone gives us all he has and we are his.
View quote | Quotes about Generosity

Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience.
View quote | Quotes about Glory

To the excessively fearful the chief characteristic of power is its arbitrariness. Man had to gain enormously in confidence before he could conceive an all-powerful God who obeys his own laws.
View quote | Quotes about God

A great man's greatest good luck is to die at the right time.
View quote | Quotes about Greatness

Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.
View quote | Quotes about Habit

The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
View quote | Quotes about Happiness

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
View quote | Quotes about Hatred

A heresy can spring only from a system that is in full vigor.
View quote | Quotes about Heresy

The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.
View quote | Quotes about History and Historians

Man was nature's mistake --she neglected to finish him -- and she has never ceased paying for her mistake.
View quote | Quotes about Humankind

Naivete in grownups is often charming; but when coupled with vanity it is indistinguishable from stupidity.
View quote | Quotes about Ignorance

When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
View quote | Quotes about Imitation

It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as native Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it.
View quote | Quotes about Immigration

It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations --past and present --are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual's hungers, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millennia.
View quote | Quotes about Individuality

It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.
View quote | Quotes about Influence

Intolerance is the Do Not Touch sign on something that cannot bear touching. We do not mind having our hair ruffled, but we will not tolerate any familiarity with the toupee which covers our baldness.
View quote | Quotes about Intolerance

We find it hard to apply the knowledge of ourselves to our judgment of others. The fact that we are never of one kind, that we never love without reservations and never hate with all our being cannot prevent us from seeing others as wholly black or white.
View quote | Quotes about Judgment and Judges

Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.
View quote | Quotes about Kindness

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
View quote | Quotes about Learning

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
View quote | Quotes about Lies and Lying

The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood.
View quote | Quotes about Literature

There would be no society if living together depended upon understanding each other.
View quote | Quotes about Living Together

It is remarkable by how much a pinch of malice enhances the penetrating power of an idea or an opinion. Our ears, it seems, are wonderfully attuned to sneers and evil reports about our fellow men.
View quote | Quotes about Malice

Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength.
View quote | Quotes about Manners

There is a grandeur in the uniformity of the mass. When a fashion, a dance, a song, a slogan or a joke sweeps like wildfire from one end of the continent to the other, and a hundred million people roar with laughter, sway their bodies in unison, hum one song or break forth in anger and denunciation, there is the overpowering feeling that in this country we have come nearer the brotherhood of man than ever before.
View quote | Quotes about Masses

The real antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity.
View quote | Quotes about Mediocrity

A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.
View quote | Quotes about Minorities

A soul that is reluctant to share does not as a rule have much of its own. Miserliness is here a symptom of meagerness.
View quote | Quotes about Misers and Misery

When you automate an industry you modernize it; when you automate a life you primitivize it.
View quote | Quotes about Modern and Modernism

It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites --opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity --where energies flow smoothly in one direction --there will be much doing but no music.
View quote | Quotes about Music

Nationalist pride, like other variants of pride, can be a substitute for self-respect.
View quote | Quotes about Nationalities and Nationalism

Nature is a self-made machine, more perfectly automated than any automated machine. To create something in the image of nature is to create a machine, and it was by learning the inner working of nature that man became a builder of machines.
View quote | Quotes about Nature

The necessary has never been man's top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness. Unlike other forms of life, man's greatest exertions are made in the pursuit not of necessities but of superfluities.
View quote | Quotes about Necessity

A grievance is most poignant when almost redressed.
View quote | Quotes about Negotiation

It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor.
View quote | Quotes about Neighbors

The birth of the new constitutes a crisis, and its mastery calls for a crude and simple cast of mind -- the mind of a fighter -- in which the virtues of tribal cohesion and fierceness and infantile credulity and malleability are paramount. Thus every new beginning recapitulates in some degree man's first beginning.
View quote | Quotes about Novelty

To the old, the new is usually bad news.
View quote | Quotes about Novelty

More significant than the fact that poets write abstrusely, painters paint abstractly, and composers compose unintelligible music is that people should admire what they cannot understand; indeed, admire that which has no meaning or principle.
View quote | Quotes about Obscurity

To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question.
View quote | Quotes about Obvious

It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.
View quote | Quotes about Opportunity

It sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
View quote | Quotes about Opportunity

Perhaps our originality manifests itself most strikingly in what we do with that which we did not originate. To discover something wholly new can be a matter of chance, of idle tinkering, or even of the chronic dissatisfaction of the untalented.
View quote | Quotes about Originality

There is in most passions a shrinking away from ourselves. The passionate pursuer has all the earmarks of a fugitive.
View quote | Quotes about Passion

That which corrodes the souls of the persecuted is the monstrous inner agreement with the prevailing prejudice against them.
View quote | Quotes about Persecution

The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders.
View quote | Quotes about Persuasion

It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.
View quote | Quotes about Plays

Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.
View quote | Quotes about Power

Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from the sense of their inadequacy and impotence. They hate not wickedness but weakness. When it is in their power to do so, the weak destroy weakness wherever they see it.
View quote | Quotes about Power

The unpredictability inherent in human affairs is due largely to the fact that the by-products of a human process are more fateful than the product.
View quote | Quotes about Prediction

Sometimes we feel the loss of a prejudice as a loss of vigor.
View quote | Quotes about Prejudice

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
View quote | Quotes about Propaganda

We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need public cures for their private ails.
View quote | Quotes about Protest

We need not only a purpose in life to give meaning to our existence but also something to give meaning to our suffering. We need as much something to suffer for as something to live for.
View quote | Quotes about Purpose

To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
View quote | Quotes about Religion

To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.
View quote | Quotes about Resentment

The main effect of a real revolution is perhaps that it sweeps away those who do not know how to wish, and brings to the front men with insatiable appetites for action, power and all that the world has to offer.
View quote | Quotes about Revolutions and Revolutionaries

We used to think that revolutions are the cause of change. Actually it is the other way around: change prepares the ground for revolution.
View quote | Quotes about Revolutions and Revolutionaries

The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.
View quote | Quotes about Sacrifice

The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.
View quote | Quotes about Salvation

Where everything is possible miracles become commonplaces, but the familiar ceases to be self-evident.
View quote | Quotes about Science Fiction

Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem.
View quote | Quotes about self-esteem

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
View quote | Quotes about self-esteem

Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled.
View quote | Quotes about Self-image

No matter what our achievements might be, we think well of ourselves only in rare moments. We need people to bear witness against our inner judge, who keeps book on our shortcomings and transgressions. We need people to convince us that we are not as bad as we think we are.
View quote | Quotes about Self-image

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.
View quote | Quotes about Self-sabotage

Many of the insights of the saint stem from their experience as sinners.
View quote | Quotes about Sin

A successful social technique consists perhaps in finding unobjectionable means for individual self-assertion.
View quote | Quotes about Socializing and Socialism

Social improvement is attained more readily by a concern with the quality of results than with the purity of motives.
View quote | Quotes about Society

With some people solitariness is an escape not from others but from themselves. For they see in the eyes of others only a reflection of themselves.
View quote | Quotes about Solitude

A man by himself is in bad company.
View quote | Quotes about Solitude

Our passionate preoccupation with the sky, the stars, and a God somewhere in outer space is a homing impulse. We are drawn back to where we came from.
View quote | Quotes about Space

Man is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and the like is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story -- a story that is basically without meaning or pattern.
View quote | Quotes about Story and Story-Telling

An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.
View quote | Quotes about Stupidity

The suspicious mind believes more than it doubts. It believes in a formidable and ineradicable evil lurking in every person.
View quote | Quotes about Suspicion

We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
View quote | Quotes about Talent

We never say so much as when we do not quite know what we want to say. We need few words when we have something to say, but all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice when we have nothing to say and want desperately to say it.
View quote | Quotes about Talkativeness

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains.
View quote | Quotes about Technology

There is a totalitarian regime inside every one of us. We are ruled by a ruthless politburo which sets our norms and drives us from one five-year plan to another. The autonomous individual who has to justify his existence by his own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself.
View quote | Quotes about Totalitarianism

It is a talent of the weak to persuade themselves that they suffer for something when they suffer from something; that they are showing the way when they are running away; that they see the light when they feel the heat; that they are chosen when they are shunned.
View quote | Quotes about Weakness

The wisdom of others remains dull till it is writ over with our own blood. We are essentially apart from the world; it bursts into our consciousness only when it sinks its teeth and nails into us.
View quote | Quotes about Wisdom

Youth itself is a talent -- a perishable talent.
View quote | Quotes about Youth

Hoffer, Eric

No biography at present.

139 quotations