Day 143: Eric Hoffer

From notebooks written by the brilliant Eric Hoffer:

  • The simpler the words in which a thought is expressed the more stimulating its effect.
  • I assume that the only way to find an answer is to hang on long enough and keep groping.
  • How terribly hard and almost impossible it is to tell the truth. More than anything else, the artist in us prevents us from telling aught as it really happened. We deal with the truth as the cook deals with meat and vegetables.
  • A multitude of words is probably the most formidable means of blurring and obscuring the truth. There is no thought, however momentous, that cannot be expressed lucidly in 200 words.
  • It has been my experience that there is no substitute for time where thinking is concerned. Why is it so? The answer seems to be that in many cases to think means to be able to allow the mind to stray from the task at hand. The mind must be able to be “elsewhere.” This needs time.
  • We are ready to die for an opinion but not for a fact: indeed, it is by our readiness to die that we try to prove the factualness of our opinion.
  • Actual creativeness is a matter of moments. One has to piece together the minute grains to make a lump
  • Good writing, like gold, combines lustrous lucidity with high density. What this means is good writing is packed with hints.
  • What counts most is holding on. The growth of a train of thought is not a direct forward flow. There is a succession of spurts separated by intervals of stagnation, frustration, and discouragement. If you hold on, there is bound to come a certain clarification. The unessential components drop off and a coherent, lucid whole begins to take shape.
  • A good sentence is a key. It unlocks the mind of the reader.
  • Our doubts about ourselves cannot be banished except by working at that which is the one and only thing we know we ought to do. Other people’s assertions cannot silence the howling dirge within us. It is our talents rusting unused within us that secrete the poison of self-doubt into our bloodstreams.