Eric Hoffer

On this date in 1902, Eric Hoffer was born in New York City to German immigrants. By age five, Eric was reading in both English and German. Struck by unexplained blindness at age seven, Eric regained his sight at 15. The experience of reading deprivation turned him into a nonstop, inveterate reader. He started working as a migrant in California at age 18 and spent most of his life as a dockworker, writing in his spare time—which won him the sobriquet of "the longshoreman philosopher." His first book, The True Believer (1951), is a classic. Nine other books were published during his lifetime. His autobiography, Truth Imagined, was published posthumously. D. 1983.

“The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ . . . To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason. 
. . . 
Thus the effectiveness of a doctrine should not be judged by its profundity, sublimity or the validity of the truths it embodies, but by how thoroughly it insulates the individual from his self and the world as it is. What Pascal said of an effective religion is true of any effective doctrine: It must be 'contrary to nature, to common sense and to pleasure.'"

—-Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, 1951

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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