Friday, October 21, 2011

Eric Hoffer: Reflections


Due to the imperfection of man's instincts there is a pause of faltering and groping between his perception and action. This pause is a seedbed of the apprehensions, the insights, the images, and the concepts which are the warp and woof of the creative process. A shrinking of the pause results in some degree of dehumanization. This is as true of highly grained specialists and dogmatic True Believers as of the mentally deficient.

Both iron discipline and blind faith strive to eliminate the pause of hesitation before action, while the discipline that humanizes and civilizes aims at widening the interval between impulse and execution.

Art humanizes because the artist must grope and feel his way, and he never ceases to learn.

-- Eric Hoffer --
from Reflections on the Human Condition

Some interesting thoughts here.

One could speculate that during that widening pause between impulse or perception and action or response, people could conceivably think differently than they did the last time and therefore might change their ideas. That suggests that changing one's mind now and then when felt necessary is more human than never changing one's mind at any time. So, those who insist on attacking others for changing their minds are actually complimenting them, are calling them more human and civilized. A strange thought.

Michel de Montaigne put it much more succinctly.

Only fools are certain and immovable.


  1. Fred,

    Glad to see your blog is up and running. It was gone yesterday, and I hoped you hadn't gotten rid of it without warning. Was it just a glitch with the site?

  2. Cheryl,

    There were problems at the blogger. When I logged on earlier, I was told that my account was disabled, but I was not told why. I then filed an inquiry asking them to explain why my account was shut down as I could think of no reason why I had violated the terms of service.

    When I logged on this morning, I found that it had been restored during the night. The quotation below is from a message I got from them this morning. Notice how thoroughly they explain the problem. It's a bit of bureaucratic fluff trying to avoid having to openly admit that they goofed. At least it's an apology, of sorts.

    "We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. The issue you described should now be resolved."

    I'll probably never know what happened or why.