In these troubling times, I like to repair to my library and find explanation, if not solace, for what appears to be a world gone berserk.
Today I pulled out my copy of Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer:Thoughts On The Nature of Mass Movements. While it explains how all mass-movements come to be, both benign and evil, I am currently more concerned with those that might destroy all or part of our civilization.
As if by fate the book opened to page 76 where I read this paragraph:
One gains the impression that the frustrated derive as much satisfaction – if not more- from the means a mass movement uses as from the ends it advocates. The delight of the frustrated in chaos and in the downfall of the fortunate and prosperous does not spring from an ecstatic awareness that they are clearing the ground for the heavenly city. In their fanatical cry of “all or nothing at all” the second alternative echoes perhaps a more ardent wish than the first.
Written in 1951, but as relevant today as ever and as succinct as possible, that passage, is just part of one of the 125 edifying mini-essays in the book. No solutions for sure, but food for thought at the very least.
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