The Passionate State of Mind: And Other Aphorisms Paperback – 6 Jun 2006
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
At many points in reading this book, I had to stop and think about what one sentence had said, how others reflected in its mirror; indeed how I reflected in its mirror. It would take hours or even days before I could crack the book again and move on to the next selection. Many of the aphorisms remain ingrained in my head, and I often browse back through the book to reflect on what is there.
If you enjoyed "The True Believer," I believe you will duly enjoy "The Passionate State of Mind." If you are a lover of psychology/sociology, welcome to one of the classic books(and writers) of the 20th century. If you want a book that allows for intense reflection and self-examination, far more so than the hordes of so-called "self-help" books now available, this book can provide that and more. A great book by an all too forgotten penman.
I still keep it here and I'm still absorbing it.
Hoffer profoundly illuminates the failings, foibles, and foolishness of human affairs, sometimes with dark wit and sometimes with pyrotechnics.
In it I always find aphorisms to describe any "workplace situation", and I use them liberally in letters, presentations, discussions and even responses to graffiti. Hoffer's insights have turned around many a situation for me.
The book gave me tremendous personal growth and a career boost as well.
Whether you're an evil HR director, or like myself just a workingman trying to navigate the waters of mid-life, this book will help you.
old jim hardy
My suggestion to anyone interested would be to take "The Passionate State of Mind" to a park, a place on the the seashore, take some time, read, relax, and reflect on the meaning of the 280 aphorisms contained within.
One such paragraph reads: " An easygoing person is probably more accessible to the realization of eternity - the endless flow of life and death - than one who takes his prospects and duties overseriously. It is the overserious who are truly frivilous."
Or another is, simply: "Fear and Freedom are mutually exclusive."
I have no argument with either sentiment.
Anyway, my copy of "The Passionate State of Mind" is well-worn, and I'm always surprised that even though I may put it away, when I eventually get around to revisiting it, I always manage to find food for thought.
"The Passionate State of Mind" is something that recalls youthful ideals, and the ultimate objective of truth. It's worth a read.
A few examples which I found especially telling.
" The best stimulus for running ahead is to have something we must run from"
"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents."
"A social order is stable so long as it can give scope to talent and youth. Yout itself is a talent- a perishable talent."
"We cannot dream passionately of the future without making a counterfeit of the present. The craving for things that are not induces us to see the world as it is not."
"The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.
It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world."
Ideally this kind of work has to be read a bit at a time. Each paragraph provides an opportunity for thought, reflection, and not necessarily agreement. There is great insight but as with most generalization also much which leads us to believe further qualification necessary.
What is central however is that Hoffer is truly interesting, truly thought- provoking. And that he too has a view of the world, a set of values which inhere in his work. These values champion individual freedom, the anti- totalitarian mind and also American egalitarian democracy . Hoffer a longshoreman by trade and a self- educated Montaigne- inspired thinker truly hears the sound of his own drummer, and provides a genuinely individual way of seeing the world.
An American classic.