This work is a profound meditation on the human condition. Hoffer focuses on the incompleteness of Man, the imperfection, the prolonged youthfulness that enable Mankind to create self and world. He writes, " We find him instead the only lighthearted being in a deadly serious universe. All around him were living creatures superbly equipped, and driven by grim purposefulness. He alone, with childish carelessness, tinkered and played, and exerted himself more in the pursuit of superfluities than of necessities. Yet the tinkering and playing, and the fascination with the nonessential , were a chief source of the inventiveness which enabled man to prevail over better- equipped and more purposeful animals."
Hoffer's aphoristic style enables him to write memorable sentence after sentence. His perceptiveness, intelligence, human decency and common sense pervade this volume.
Here a few samples of the wise words in this work.
"Belief passes, but to never have believed never passes."
"Man invents God in the image of his longings, in the image of what he wants to be, then proceeds to imitate that image, view with it, and strive to overcome it."
"Actually, there is no alienation that a little power will not cure."
"Pascal feared that if men knew what each other thought of the other there would be no friends in the world."
"Every passionate search is in some degree a search for something lost."
"It is the individual alone who is timeless."
A wonderful book.
on April 23, 2000
Eric Hoffer is, quite simply, a rare find. Only in America could a longshoreman become one of the most profound of contemporary social Philosophers; this is true of Hoffer. In very much the spirit of an Albert Einstein,who labored anonymously and in thankless tedium as a patent clerk for a great many years before revealing his Theory of Relativity, Hoffer bursts forth from the ranks of longshoremen with a profound understanding of the nature of the human condition. Reflections on the Human Condition is one of my favorite reads; I recommend this particular work, for, in it, Hoffer, presents profound observations in the context of a pithy, easily-assimilated prose. It is a great book to pick up from time to time and simply muse over. While I do not expect that every reader will concur, I am confident that many will appreciate Reflections on the Human Condition and leave it with a greater understanding of the "human condition."
on December 25, 2013
Hoffer says in a few words was what today's intellectuals try to say in volumes. The difference is, he succeeds where they fail. If you are at all interested in the blessings and failures of human nature, read this book. it is short, sweet and will make you laugh out loud.
on June 17, 2010
He had the guts to live outside of the box that so many people conform too. Most people chase THINGS while Eric went after UNDERSTANDING. He understood what Jesus and other sages meant when they said to "Get Saved"; learn to see Reality and do not participate in the World as it is illusory. Who wins in the end when we go to the same box, the Consumer or the Thinker,,,,,Personally, I do not want to die with a head full of lies myself. All of his books are very interesting, especially if you are a Type 5 in the Enneagram system.