Book Reviews

True Believer by Eric Hoffer -Book Notes, Summary, and Review

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Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 5th – 16th of July, 2018

Description: The book explains the true nature of groups and mass movements. How people behave in groups, why they behave like that, and what you need to pay attention to avoid the many pitfalls of a revolutionary group or a political movement. The book teaches you also about the effects of hope and criticism on mass movements and how the group rules are rarely (if ever) broken, even though they might seem illogical and confusing. 


My notes:




“All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them,” ( :10)

“effectiveness of Communist, Nazi and nationalist doctrine. die basically for the same thing.” ( :10)

“me insight into the motives and responses of the true believer. s the very opposite of irreligious.” ( :11)




“many of the most successful revolutionary or nationalist leaders. to turn Russia into a Western nation. And the reason he failed was that he did not infuse the Russian masses with some soul-stirring enthusiasm.” ( :17)

“of some mild form of chauvinism so that in Britain too might have] as its natural corollary the nationalization of socialism.” 1″ ( :17)

“Since he did not know how, he was easily shoved aside by the practical purposes into holy causes.” ( :18)

“qualities such as ability, character, appearance, healths and so on. perform his functions, if he have a pain in his bowels even … he forthwith sets about reforming—the world.” 3″ ( :19)

“Those who are awed by their surroundings do not think of change, no matter how miserable their condition.” ( :19)

“ar change. They face the world as they would an all-powerful jury. und them and are not hospitable to change. It is a dangerous life we live when hunger and cold are at our heels.” ( :20)

“Even the sober desire for progress is sustained by faith—faith in the intrinsic goodness of human nature and in the omnipotence of science.” ( :20)

“rd the world and a receptivity to change. But” ( :21)

“rd the world and a receptivity to change. But it is not always so. eak. What seems to count more than possession of instruments of power is faith in the future.” ( :21)

“t is used mainly to, ward oB the new and preserve the status quo. when not backed by actual power, is likely to generate a most reckless daring. For the hopeful can draw strength from the most ridiculous sources of power—a slogan, a word, a button. No faith is potent unless it is also faith in the future; unless it has a millennial component. So, too, an elective doctrine: as well as being a source of power, it must also claim to be a key to the book of the future.” ( :21)

“Those who would transform a nation or the world cannot do so by breeding and captaining discontent or by demonstrating the reasonableness and desirability of the intended changes or by coercing people into a new way of life. They must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope.” ( :21)

“how to stir up discontent or how to in.” ( :21)

“full, happy lives usually set their faces against drastic innovation. dle age stems, too, from fear of the future. They are on the lookout for signs of decay, and feel that any change is more likely to be for the worse than for the better” ( :22)

“full, happy lives usually set their faces against drastic innovation. dle age stems, too, from fear of the future. They are on the lookout for signs of decay, and feel that any change is more likely to be for the worse than for the better The abjectly poor also are without faith in the future. The future seems to them a booby trap buried on the road ahead. One must step gingerly. To change things is to ask for trouble.” ( :22)

“y with the present, wreck it if necessary, and create a new world. as well as by the underprivileged.” ( :22)

“ame is true of the Bolsheviks, Nazis and the revolutionaries in Asia. ovement when it is already a going concern. It is perhaps the Englishman’s political experience that keeps him shy of mass movements.” ( :23)

“rt, nor can it evoke in them faith and a single-minded dedication. ing tainted and evil; something unclean and unlucky.” ( :25)

“s capacity to evoke and satisfy the passion for self-renunciation. who are interested in their individual careers, it is a sign that it has passed its vigorous stage; that it is no longer engaged in molding a new world but in possessing and preserving the present.” ( :26)

“Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.” ( :26)

“The less justi$ed a man is in claiming excellence for his own self,” ( :26)

“The less justi$ed a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.” ( :27)

“One of the most potent attractions of a mass movement is its oering of a substitute for individual hope.” ( :27)

“s was one of the worst troubles we endured after that lost war.” thout hope only when kept dazed and” ( :27)

“society people can live without hope only when kept dazed and out of breath by incessant hustling.” ( :28)

“f destitution, but from the sudden view of a vast nothingness the handers-out of relief.” ( :28)

“ediably sp oiled. Comforts and pleasures cannot make it whole. arise in their minds but from hope. 3” ( :28)

“g of a substitute will necessarily be passionate and extreme. h we have in our nation, religion, race or holy cause has to be extravagant and uncompromising.” ( :28)

“moderation cannot supplant and eace the self we want to forget. we are ready to die for it.” ( :28)

“ave something worth living for unless we are ready to die for it. others that what we had to take as a substitute for an irrevocably missed or spoiled $rst choice is indeed the best there ever was.” ( :28)

“ember would join the revolutionaries and thes other the Zionists. those days: “Whatever happens, I shall be well o. If Shemuel [the revolutionary son] is right, we shall all be happy in Russia; and if Chaim [the Zionist] is right, then I shall go to live in Palestine.” 1″ ( :30)

“ther. A Saul turning into Paul is neither a rarity nor a miracle. rd the zealous adherents of its antagonist as its own potential converts. Hitler looked on the German Communists as potential National Socialists: “The petit bourgeois Social-Democrat and the trade-union boss will never make a National Socialist, but the Communist always will.” 2″ ( :30)

“It is rare for a mass movement to be wholly of one character. sometimes it is two or three movements in one. The exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt was a slave revolt, a religious movement and a nationalist movement. The militant nationalism of the Japanese is essentially religious. The French Revolution was a new religion. It had “its dogma, the sacred principles of the Revolution—Liberté at sainte égalité. It had its form of worship, an adaptation of Catholic ceremonial, which was elaborated in connection with civic fêtes. It had its saints, the heroes and martyrs of liberty.”” ( :31)

“nalist movement. Thed legislative assembly decreed in 1792 that he inscription: “the citizen is born, lives and dies for la Patrie.” 6″ ( :31)

“itself in peasant uprisings, and were alsoe nationalist movements. e merely low Teutonic swine. They exploit us like charlatans and suck the country to the marrow. Wake up Germany!” 7″ ( :31)

“with the present when a genuine mass movement is on then march. entirely “logical” manner when they encouraged a Fascist and a Nazi movement in order to stop communism. But in doing so, these practical and logical people promoted their own liquidation.” ( :32)


PART 2: The Potential Converts


“The inert mass of a nation, for instance, is in its middle section. The decent, average people who do the nation’s work in cities and on the land are worked upon and shaped by minorities at both ends—the best and the worst. 1” ( :37)

“r footing, or never hads one, in the ranks of respectable humanity. e best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.” ( :37)

“on that the inferior elements of a nation can exert at marked intoward the present.” ( :37)

“ecent, the “newf poor,” who throb with the ferment o” ( :40)

“from a sense of futility. The goals are concrete and immediate. ch is a triumph; and every windfall a miracle.” ( :41)

“There is a hope that acts as an explosive, and a hope that disciplines and infuses patience. The di,erence is between the immediate hope and the distant hope.” ( :43)

“berty and equality; then early Bolsheviki promised bread and landork and action for all. Later, as the movement comes into possession of power, the emphasis is shifted to the distant hope—the dream and the vision.” ( :44)

“mp atience of the masses and reconcile theme with their lot in life. stablished religions. 8” ( :44)

“U nless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose” ( :44)

“U nless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose” ( :44)

“freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ine,ectual?” ( :45)

“freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ine,ectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, “to be free from freedom.”” ( :45)

“t does not run counter to they inclinations of a zealous followin 11” ( :45)

“athe in an atmosphere of strict adherence to tenets and commands. ns, fears and hopelessness of an untenable individual existence.” ( :46)

“hose who see their lives as spoiled and wasted crave equality and Traternity more than they do freedom. If they clamor for freedom, it is but freedom to establish equality and uniformity. The passion for equality is partly a passion for anonymity: to be one thread of the many which make up a tunic; one thread not distinguishable from the others. 12 No one can then point us out, measure us against y.” ( :46)

“They who clamor loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. The frustrated, oppressed by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually their innermost desire is for an end to the “free for all.” They want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected in a free society.” ( :46)

“Where freedom is real, equality is the passion of the masses. Where equality is real, freedom is the passion of a small minority.” ( :46)

“equality is real, freedom is the passion of a small minority. Equality without freedom creates a more stable social pattern than freedom without equality.” ( :47)

“almost immune to thes appeal of a proselytizing mass movement. mous individual capable of shaping his own course and solely responsible for his station in life, the less likely is he to see his poverty as evidence of his own inferiority.” ( :48)

“more misery and personala humiliation to goad him to revolt. ty is usually a weakening of the totalitarian framework rather than resentment against oppression and distress.” ( :48)

“nds the corporate pattern in good repair, it must attack and disrupt. years in Russia we see the Bolshevik movement bolstering family solidarity and encouraging national, racial and religious cohesion, it is a sign that the movement has passed its dynamic phase, that it has already established its new pattern of life, and that its chief concern is to hold and preserve that which it has attained. In the rest of the world where communism is still a struggling movement, it does all it can to disrupt the family and discredit national, racial and religious ties.” ( :48)

“mp s and terror also helped toy weaken and break up the family. o outspoken in its antagonism toward the family as was early Christianity. Jesus minced no words: “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.” 14″ ( :49)

“s said to him: “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” nflicts His movement was bound to provoke both by its proselytizing and by the fanatical hatred of its antagonists.” ( :49)

“sts. “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the ents, and cause them to be put to death.”” ( :49)

“ily and has not the least intention of weakening its solidarity. t “mothers are said to have hid their sons from him, and wives their husbands, lest he should lure them away. He actually broke up so many homes that the abandoned wives formed a nunnery.”” ( :50)

“le living on farms and in small towns strains and breaks family ties. e growth of the collective spirit in modern times.” ( :50)

“ed profession—t he is not happy. He feels naked and orphaned. ial countries are partly a striving after group existence and an escape from Western individualism.” ( :51)

“The Western colonizing powers o,er the native the gift of individual freedom and independence. They try to teach him selfreliance. What it all actually amounts to is individual isolation.” ( :51)

“from the corporate whole and releasing him, in t” 20″ ( :51)

“The device of encouraging communal cohesion as a preventive of colonial unrest can also be used to prevent labor unrest in the industrialized colonizing countries.” ( :52)

“in the race for power because of its tight collective organization. folkish movements which pullulated in the 1920’s, because of Hitler’s early recognition that a rising mass movement can never go too far in advocating and promoting collective cohesion. He knew that the chief passion of the frustrated is “to belong,” and that there cannot be too much cementing and binding to satisfy this passion.” ( :54)

“social and politicals groupings had been weakened or dissolved.” he large cities where lived “thousands of deracinated individuals, some of them slaves, some freedmen, and some merchants, who had been separated by force or voluntarily from their hereditary milieu.”” ( :54)

“d the heath-dwellers (heathen) clung longest to the ancient cults. rved in the rise of nationalist and socialist movements in the second half of the nineteenth century: “the extraordinary mobility and urbanization of population served to create during those decades an extraordinary number of … persons uprooted from ancestral soil and local allegiance. Experiencing grave economic insecurity and psychological maladjustment, these were very susceptible to demagogic propaganda, socialist or nationalist or both.”” ( :54)

“relaxes its hold, new religious movements are likely ton crystallize. e “objected not to the church’s power, but to its weaknesses….” ( :55)

“the rising movements will be socialist, nationalist or racist. o a nationalist movement, came as a reaction not against the vigorous tyranny of the Catholic Church and the ancient regime but against their weakness and ine,ectuality.” ( :55)

“The recent history of Germany also furnishes an interesting example of the relation between corporate compactness and a receptivity to the appeal of mass movements. There was no likelihood of a genuine revolutionary movement arising in Wilhelmian Germany. The Germans were satis&ed with the centralized, authoritarian Kaiser regime, and even defeat in the First World War did not impair their love for it. The revolution of 1918 was an arti&cial thing with little popular backing. The years of the Weimar Constitution which followed were for most Germans a time of irritation and frustration. Used as they were to commands from above and respect for authority, they found the loose, irreverent democratic order all confusion and chaos. They were shocked to realize “that they had to participate in government, choose a party, and pass judgment upon political matters” ( :56)

“had been—and the Third, Reich more than answered their prayer. s never in danger of mass revolt. So long as the ruling Nazi hierarchy was willing to shoulder all responsibilities and make all decisions, there was not the least chance for any popular antagonism to arise.” ( :56)

“had Nazi discipline and its totalitarian control beens relaxed. of all totalitarian orders—their moment of greatest danger is when they begin to reform, that is to say, when they begin to show liberal tendencies.” ( :57)

“to demoralization—is fertiley ground for a proselytizing movement. ial convert, and we &nd him among the early adherents of all contemporary mass movements” ( :57)

“tainties of an autonomous existence weigh and prey upon him. sponsibility, and a vision of something altogether di,erent from the competitive free society around him—and he &nds all this in the brotherhood and the revivalist atmosphere of a rising movement. 29” ( :57)

“the civilian routine of the millions enrolled in the national armies. their prewar lives. The readjustment to peace and home is slow and painful, and the country is flooded with temporary misfits. Thus it seems that the passage from war to peace is more critical for an established order than the passage from peace to war.” ( :59)

“burdened with the sense of guilt, however vague, of a renegade. segregated Negro in the South is less frustrated than the nonsegregated Negro in the North.” ( :66)

“the admission of inferiority implied in thed process of assimilation. ful of a minority bent on assimilation should be the most responsive to the appeal of a proselytizing mass movement. The least and most successful among the Italian Americans were the” ( :66)

“The least and most successful among the Italian Americans were the most ardent admirers of Mussolini’s revolution; the least and most successful among the Irish Americans were the most responsive to De Valera’s call; the least and most successful among the Jews are the most responsive to Zionism; the least and most successful among the Blacks are the most race conscious.” ( :67)

“rt among the bored than among the exploited and oppressed. people are bored sti# should be at least as encouraging as that they are suffering from intolerable economic or political abuses.” ( :69)


PART 3: United Action and Self-Sacrifice


“dao—a human atom with an existence bounded by birth and death. e assimilation of the individual into a collective body.” ( :82)

“lete assimilation of the individual into a collective body. Thes fully man beings. When asked who he is, his automatic response is that he is a German, a Russian, a Japanese, a Christian, a Moslem, a member of a certain tribe or family.” ( :82)

“on stems partly from the individual’s identication with a group. ation camps were those who felt themselves members of a compact party (the Communists), of a church (priests and ministers), or of a close-knit national group.” ( :83)

“The unavoidable conclusion seems to be that when the individual” ( :83)

“The unavoidable conclusion seems to be that when the individual faces torture or annihilation, he cannot rely on the resources of his own individuality.” ( :84)

“now wholly and irrevocably in Stalin’s hands. They felt themselves, nstitutes the essence of life.”” ( :84)

“The same Russians who cringe and crawl before Stalin’s secret police displayed unsurpassed courage when facing—singly or in a group—the invading Nazis. The reason for this contrasting behavior is not that Stalin’s police are more ruthless than Hitler’s armies, but that when facing Stalin’s police the Russian feels a mere individual” ( :84)

“that when facing Stalin’s police the Russian feels a mere individual while, when facing the Germans, he saw himself a member of a mighty race, possessed of a glorious past and even more glorious future.” ( :85)

“Jews, their behavior in Palestine Similarly, in the case of the rom their behavior in Europe. The British colonial oAcials in Palestine followed a policy sound in logic but lacking in insight. They reasoned that since Hitler had managed to exterminate six million Jews without meeting serious resistance, it should not be too diAcult to handle the 600,000 Jews in Palestine. Yet they found that the Jews in Palestine, however recently arrived, were a formidable enemy: reckless, stubborn and resourceful. The Jew in Europe faced his enemies alone, an isolated individual, a speck of life Eoating in an eternity of nothingness. In Palestine he felt himself not a human atom, but a member of an eternal race, with an immemorable past behind it and a breathtaking future ahead.” ( :85)

“al) performance that death loses its frightfulness and nality and re. It is one of the main tasks of a real leader to mask the grim reality of dying and killing by evoking in his followers the illusion that they are participating in a grandiose spectacle, a solemn or light-hearted dramatic performance.” ( :86)

“Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience—the knowledge that our mighty deeds will come to the ears of our contemporaries or “of those who are to be.” We are ready to sacrice our true, transitory self for the imaginary eternal self we are building up, by our heroic deeds, in the opinion and imagination of others.” ( :87)

“The very impracticability of many of the goals which a mass movement sets itself is part of the campaign against the present. All” ( :88)

“movement sets itself is part of the campaign against the present. All that is practicable, feasible and possible is part of the present.” ( :89)

“All mass movements deprecate the present by depicting it as a mean preliminary to a glorious future; a mere doormat on the threshold of the millennium. To a religious movement the present is a place of exile, a vale of tears leading to the heavenly kingdom; to a social revolution it is a mean way station on the road to Utopia; to a nationalist movement it is an ignoble episode preceding the final triumph.” ( :89)

“heme hop e of a promised land before he could join them together. le in the concentration camp of Buchenwald did not develop any form of united action, nor did they manifest any readiness for self-sacrice. There was more greed and ruthless selshness there than in the greediest and most corrupt of free societies. “Instead of studying the way in which they could best help each other they used all their ingenuity to dominate and oppress each other.”” ( :90)

“ho have reason to want thet preservation of the status quo. cate spirits, that are found grasping the right thread of the solutions required by the future.” 4″ ( :92)

“di0er? Primarily in their view of the malleability of man’s nature. perfectibility of human nature. He believes that by changing man’s environment and by perfecting a technique of soul forming, a society can be wrought that is wholly new and unprecedented.” ( :93)

“One of the rules that emerges from a consideration of the factors that promote self-sacrice is that we are less ready to die for what we have or are than for what we wish to have and to be. It is a perplexing and unpleasant truth that when men already have “something worth ghting for,” they do not feel like ghting. People who live full, worthwhile lives are not usually ready to die for their own interests nor for their country nor for a holy cause. 9 Craving, not having, is the mother of a reckless giving of oneself.” ( :95)

“gs which are not” are indeed mightier than “things that are.” ies yet to be built and gardens yet to be planted. n” ( :95)

“eart set on that which can be accomplished in “our time.” al a0airs seems to be a qualication for success in the management of public a0airs.” ( :95)

“oice—they had to ght or have their throats cut by the Arabs—it is sprang not from despair but from their fervent preoccupation with the revival of an ancient land and an ancient people.” ( :96)

“oice—they had to ght or have their throats cut by the Arabs—it is sprang not from despair but from their fervent preoccupation with the revival of an ancient land and an ancient people. They, indeed, fought and died for cities yet to be built and gardens yet to be planted.” ( :96)

“on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason. to make belief possible.” ( :97)

“t we know as blind faith is sustained by innumerable unbeliefs. believe for years the evidence of Japan’s defeat. The fanatical Communist refuses to believe any unfavorable report or evidence about Russia, nor will he be disillusioned by seeing with his own eyes the cruel misery inside the Soviet promised land.” ( :97)

“ughly it insulates the individual from his self and they world as it is. doctrine: it must be “contrary to nature, to common sense and to pleasure.” 14″ ( :98)

“The devout are always urged to seek the absolute truth with their hearts and not their minds. “It is the heart which is conscious of God, not the reason.”” ( :98)

“swearing in the entireh Nazi party in 1934, exhorted his hearers: ns; all of you will nd him with the strength of your hearts.” 17″ ( :98)

“rily interested in stability. For, as will be shown later (Section 106), ctuals, and it is to win them rather than to foster self-sacrice in the masses that a doctrine is made intelligible.” ( :99)

“roblems. With it the world can be taken apart and put together. er of Marxist-Leninist theory lies in the fact that it enables the Party to nd the right orientation in any situation, to understand the inner connection of current events, to foresee their course, and to perceive not only how and in what direction they are developing in the present but how and in what direction they are bound to develop in the future.” 1″ ( :99)

“s, fanatics of all kinds are actually crowded together at one end. poles apart and never meet.” ( :103)

“The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a God or not.” ( :103)

“urrender—with the wholehearted clinging to at creed and a cause. dedication and the communion with a congregation.” ( :104)

“future, and it derives its vigor and drive from this preoccupation. eoccupied with the present, it means that it has arrived. It ceases then to be a movement and becomes an institutionalized organization—an established church, a government or an army (of soldiers or workers).” ( :105)

“to suppress the mass but not how to win it. On the— other hand, his inspiration from the sea of upturned faces, and the roar of the mass is as the voice of God in his ears.” ( :106)

“Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.” ( :109)

“ment is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. troyed, he answered: “No…. We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one.” 2″ ( :109)

“Common hatred unites the most heterogeneous elements. To share a common hatred, with an enemy even, is to infect him with a feeling of kinship, and thus sap his powers of resistance. Hitler used anti-Semitism not only to unify his Germans but also to sap the resoluteness of Jew-hating Poland, Rumania, Hungary, and :110)

“sed hatred is not always directed against those who wronged us. turn our hatred on a wholly unrelated person or group. Russians, bullied by Stalin’s secret police, are easily in%amed against “capitalist warmongers;” Germans, aggrieved by the Versailles treaty, avenged themselves by exterminating Jews; Zulus, oppressed by Boers, butcher Hindus; white trash, exploited by Dixiecrats, lynch Blacks.” ( :112)

“There is a guilty conscience behind every brazen word and act and behind every manifestation of self-righteousness.” ( :113)

“To wrong those we hate is to add fuel to our hatred. Conversely, to treat an enemy with magnanimity is to blunt our hatred for him.” ( :113)

“The most e’ective way to silence our guilty conscience is to convince ourselves and others that those we have sinned against are indeed depraved creatures, deserving every punishment, even extermination. We cannot pity those we have wronged, nor can we be indi’erent toward them. We must hate and persecute them or else leave the door open to self-contempt.” ( :113)

“them. They could hate us more fervently than we could hate them. The Americans are poor haters in international a’airs because of their innate feeling of superiority over all foreigners.” ( :114)

“ward South shows more xenophobia thans the rest of the country. dly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.” ( :114)

“converting and antagonizing, he shapes the world in his own image. gaining adherents and by evoking in its pagan opponents a strange fervor and a new ruthlessness. Hitler imposed himself upon the world both by promoting Nazism and by forcing the democracies to become zealous, intolerant and ruthless. Communist Russia shapes both its adherents and its opponents in its own image.” ( :114)

“Thus, though hatred is a convenient instrument for mobilizing a community for defense, it does not, in the long run, come cheap. We pay for it by losing all or many of the values we have set out to defend.” ( :114)

“There is also this: when we renounce the self and become part of a compact whole, we not only renounce personal advantage but are also rid of personal responsibility. There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgment.” ( :117)

“s: when we renounce the self and become part of a compact whole, of personal responsibility. There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgment. When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness” ( :117)

“The less satisfaction we derive from being ourselves, the greater is our desire to be like others. We are therefore more ready to imitate those who are di’erent from us than those nearly like us, and those we admire than those we despise.” ( :118)

“Finally, the lack of self-con :118)

“also stimulates their imitativeness. The more we mistrust our judgment and luck, the more are we ready to follow the example of others.” ( :119)

“in the minds of his hearers. He echoes their innermost feelings. in what they already “know.”” ( :122)

“decisive role. So acknowledged a master of propaganda as Dr. must always stand behind propaganda if it is to be really effective.” 26″ ( :122)

“th they who convert and they who are converted by coercion Bo the fervent conviction that the faith they impose or are forced to adopt is the only true one. Without this conviction, the proselytizing terrorist, if he is not vicious to begin with, is likely to feel a criminal, and the coerced convert see himself as a coward who prostituted his soul to live.” ( :123)

“ith as the persuaded convert, and” ( :123)

“sometimes even more so. It is not always true that “He who complies against his will is of his own opinion still.” Islam imposed its faith by force, yet the coerced Muslims displayed a devotion to the new faith more ardent than that of the :124)

“nfessions rep resent genuine conversions rather th.” ( :124)

“y chooses the latter. Persuasion is clumsy and its results uncertain. es: “For many years I have exhorted you in vain, with gentleness, preaching, praying and weeping. But according to the proverb of my country, ‘where blessing can accomplish nothing, blows may avail.’ We shall rouse against you princes and prelates, who, alas, will arm nations and kingdoms against this land … and thus blows will avail where blessings and gentleness have been powerless.” 36″ ( :125)

“—are likely to be the most fervent in imposing their faith on others.” ( :126)

“The more unworkable communism proves in Russia, and the more its leaders are compelled to compromise and adulterate the original creed, the more brazen and arrogant will be their attack on a nonbelieving world.” ( :127)

“des and impulses into the collective drive of a mass movement. reed and the de :129)

“Excep tional intelligence, noble character and originality seem neither indispensable nor perhaps desirable. The main dacity and a joy in de<ance; an iron will; a fanatical conviction that he is in possession of the one and only truth; faith in his destiny and luck; a capacity for passionate hatred; contempt for the present; a cunning estimate of human nature; a delight in symbols (spectacles and ceremonials);” ( :129)

“nature; a delight in symbols (spectacles and ceremonials); unbounded brazenness which :130)

“ants. This last faculty is one of the most essential and elusive. not so much in the hold he has on the masses as in his ability to dominate and almost bewitch a small group of able men.” ( :130)

“ntry, one of two opposites has to happen. Either the personality of and, after the manner of Tito, %aunt its de :131)

“ut the course of his wisdom would have an equal chance ofs success. ement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.” ( :131)

“sm of some degree is indispensable to e’ective leadership. erate misrepresentation of facts. No solid, tangible advantage can hold a following and make it zealous and loyal unto death. The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” ( :131)

“ut for himself. It produces the pioneer, adventurer and, bandit. asically an obedient and submissive person.” ( :132)

“to obey than people who are self-suGcient and selfcon :133)

“The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is” ( :133)

“The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is leading them to a promised land than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves. Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a ful :134)

“on by adhering zealously toe prescribed behavior and opinion. suspicion as of ardent faith.” ( :138)

“ate cohesion. Thus mutual suspicion, within the ranks is not only almost say, a precondition of it. “Men of strong convictions and strong passions, when leagued together, watch one another with suspicion, and :139)

“ivered from the meaningless burdens of an autonomo” 52″ ( :141)

“hap p iness and fortitudef come from his no longer being himself. s powers of endurance when at the mercy of an implacable enemy or when facing insupportable circumstances are superior to those of an autonomous individual. But this invincibility depends upon the life line which connects him with the collective whole. As long as he feels himself part of that whole and nothing else, he is indestructible and immortal. All his fervor and fanaticism are, therefore, clustered around this life line. His striving for utmost unity is more intense than the vague longing of the frustrated for an escape from an untenable self. The frustrated individual still has a choice: he can :141)

“The true believer is eternally incomplete, eternally insecure.” ( :141)

“and perpetuates the individual incompleteness of its adherents. ligence is prevented from becoming self-reliant. Economic dependence is maintained by centralizing economic power and by a” ( :141)

“dep endence is maintained by centralizing economic power and by a deliberately created scarcity of the necessities of life. Social selfsuGciency is discouraged by crowded housing or communal quarters, and by enforced daily participation in public functions. Ruthless censorship of literature, art, music and science prevents even the creative few from living self-suGcient lives. The inculcated devotions to church, party, country, leader and creed also perpetuate a state of incompleteness. For every devotion is a socket which demands the :142)


PART 4: Beginning and End


“order has been discredited and has lost the allegiance of the masses. familiarizing the masses with the idea of change, and of creating a receptivity to a new faith, can be done only by men who are, -rst and foremost, talkers or writers and are recognized as such by all.” ( :146)

“master of the spoken word and unequaled as a man of action. uggest is that the readying of the ground for a mass movement is done best by men whose chief claim to excellence is their skill in the use of the spoken or written word; that the hatching of an actual movement requires the temperament and the talents of the fanatic; and that the -nal consolidation of the movement is largely the work of practical men of action.” ( :147)

“His pity is usually hatched out of his hatred for the powers that be.of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and su” ( :149)

“His pity is usually hatched out of his hatred for the powers that be.of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and su*ering, regardless of any relation it may have to their own lives.” 5″ ( :149)

“t, with the likely result that it will leak out at some other point. ant man of words unwittingly creates in the disillusioned masses a hunger for faith. For the majority of people cannot endure the barrenness and futility of their lives unless they have some ardent dedication, or some passionate pursuit in which they can lose themselves. Thus, in spite of himself, the sco :154)

“itude of holy writ, and maker them the fountainhe” ( :155)

“Thus when the irreverent intellectual has done his work: The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand, 17 Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The stage is now set for the fanatics.” ( :155)

“The impression that mass movements, and revolutions in particular, are born of the resolve of the masses to overthrow a corrupt and oppressive tyranny and win for themselves freedom of action, speech and conscience has its origin in the din of words let” ( :155)

“action, speech and conscience has its origin in the din of words let loose by the intellectual originators of the movement in their skirmishes with the prevailing order.” ( :156)

“ritical stage and cheats the masses of the freedom about to dawn. ocess are the intellectual precursors. They rise against the established order, deride its irrationality and incompetence, denounce its illegitimacy and oppressiveness, and call for freedom of self-expression and self-realization” ( :156)

“mity, individual anonymity and a new structure of perfect unity. t its weakness; not its oppression, but its failure to hammer them together into one solid, mighty whole.” ( :156)

“to the development of a movement is that he cannot settle down. s to crystallize, the fanatic becomes an element of strain and disruption.” ( :161)

“A movement is pioneered by men of words, materialized by fanatics and consolidated by men of action.” ( :164)

“ed by di$erent men succeeding each other as conditions require. or the same type of person) leads a movement from its inception to maturity, it usually ends in disaster. The Fascist and Nazi movements were without a successive change in leadership, and both ended in disaster. It was Hitler’s fanaticism, his inability to settle down and play the role of a practical man of action, which brought ruin to his movement. Had Hitler died in the middle 1930’s, there is little doubt that a man of action of the type of Goering would have succeeded to the leadership and the movement would have survived.” ( :164)

“There are, of course, rare leaders such as Lincoln, Gandhi, even F.D.R., Churchill and Nehru. They do not hesitate to harness man’s hungers and fears to weld a following and make it zealous unto death in the service of a holy cause; but unlike a Hitler, a Stalin, or even a Luther and a Calvin, 1 they are not tempted to use the slime the building of a new world. The self-con>dence of these rare leaders is derived from and blended with their faith in humanity, for they know that no one can be honorable unless he honors mankind.” ( :165)

“of the movement is embalmed and sealed in sancti>ed institutions. in a hierarchy and a ritual; a revolutionary movement, in organs of vigilance and administration; a nationalist movement, in governmental and patriotic institutions.” ( :165)

“ols, and, in the words of Sir John Maynard, inclines to found the han in their hearts. 2 The genuine man of action is not a man of faith but a man of law.” ( :166)

“p rosp ect, made a covenant with his eyes never to turn that way.” stacles), but it is the cause of intellectual sterility and emotional monotony.” ( :172)

“ic is also mentally cocky, and hence barren of new beginnings. e universe conform to a simple formula—his formula. He is thus without the fruitful intervals of groping, when the mind is as it” ( :172)

“thus without the fruitful intervals of groping, when the mind is as it were in solution—ready for all manner of new reactions, new combinations and new beginnings.” ( :173)

“for the development of chronic extremism. Said Oliver Cromwell: going.” 8″ ( :174)

“hat ideal material they are for an interminably mass movement: e. They employ philosophical reasonings to explain what is the least philosophic thing in the world, respect for force and the fear which transforms that respect into admiration.” 12″ ( :176)

“only activate the tradition of freedom which is a tradition of revolt. al who pitted himself against Stalin had nothing to identify himself with, and his capacity to resist coercion was nil. But in a traditionally free country the individual who pits himself against coercion does not feel an isolated human atom but one of a mighty race—his rebellious ancestors.” ( :176)

“Communists still do) on the decadence of the Western democracies. soft, too pleasure-loving and too selfish to die for a nation, a God or a holy cause. This lack of a readiness to die, we are told, is indicative of an inner rot—a moral and biological decay. The democracies are old, corrupt and decadent. They are no match for the virile congregations of the faithful who are about to inherit the earth.” ( :179)

“and of doing things which shakes a social body out of its stagnation. where there was none before or by alienating an existing articulate minority from the prevailing dispensation; and it is this articulate minority which accomplishes the work of renascence by setting in motion a mass movement. In other words, the foreign influence is merely the link in a chain of processes, the last link of which is usually a mass movement; and it is the mass movement which shakes the social body out of its stagnation.” ( :182)

“J. B. S. Haldane counts fanaticism among the only four really important inventions made between 3000 B.C. and 1400 20 It was A.D. a Judaic-Christian invention. And it is strange to think that in receiving this malady of the soul the world also received a miraculous instrument for raising societies and nations from the dead—an instrument of resurrection.” ( :183)

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