Eric Hoffer says we'll probably never recover completely

by DanTheMan 32 Replies latest jw friends

  • DanTheMan

    from The True Believer, p. 87:

    It is doubtful whether the fanatic who deserts his holy cause or is suddenly left without one can ever adjust himself to an autonomous individual existence. [...] An individual existence, even when purposeful, seems to him trivial, futile and sinful. To live without an ardent dedication is to be adrift and abandoned.

    What do you think of this statement?

    When I was in the borg, I imagined that people who left became lonely, miserable people. And I think this may be true in some cases. I myself have found it extremely difficult to live without the intoxicating sense of certainty that the JW holy cause provided.

    To (in Hoffer's words) frustrated, ineffectual people like me who found confidence and renewal in the JW collective, what have you done to gain confidence in your own self? How have you learned to stand on your own, and feel good about who you are, apart from the endlessly self-exultant JW's?

  • Vivamus

    I'm currently reading that book . I don't really consider it academic... There is a lot in it that I can agree to, it's an easy read, but I can't consider it as infallible or high on the scientific scale...

    The statement that you quoted... I don't agree with that, regardless of author, science or whatever. I do believe that a person when he changes his direction in life, can still have a meaningful life, without a god or with.

  • free will
    free will

    good topic! i don't have an answer yet. i've been trying to discover how to live my life without the certainty of the borg. i tend to agree with eric hoffer - right now. his statement fits me - at least right now.

  • crinklestein

    I think what he says is true, immediatly after the person breaks away he is left with a void. But soon the void is filled with something else and what was abandoned is no longer needed.

  • Satanus

    For many, maybe most, it is true. Some people can be happy without a cause.


  • DanTheMan

    Viv, I'm not totally sure I agree with it either. I love Hoffer's work, but I think the statement I quoted is perhaps a bit too cynical and doesn't take into account the fact that an ex-fanatic can "grow up". So, what I'm asking is, what things have you done to to establish your own sense of identity? Do you now structure your own life, now that you've left the JW structure, or are you "cast adrift"? I still find the latter to be true much of the time in my case.

    I had an apocalyptic mindset long before I had ever even heard of JW's. I still think, and I don't think I'm being paranoid, that the 21st century could bring horrors that eclipse anything humans have experienced previously. So a lot of the time I feel like "why bother". I guess the smart thing to do would be to operate under the assumption that maybe there's a sliver of a chance that man will survive his technological adolescence. But I guess I'm not that smart.

  • Joyzabel


    Have you read any of M. Scott Peck's books? Starting with A Road Less Traveled?

    Also, another good one is The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor.

    I find that people who are drawn to a "cult" seem to get emotional stunted and need help figuring out who they are, now that it is ok to be oneself and think highly of oneself. Maybe some other self-help books might interest you.

    I like Peck's books because he says that you can help yourself without therapy, if you are a thinking analytical person, but it just may take a little longer than with guidence.

    Just my 2 cents, let me know what you find and enjoy reading.



  • Joyzabel

    " I still think, and I don't think I'm being paranoid, that the 21st century could bring horrors that eclipse anything humans have experienced previously"

    May I suggest reading Carl Olof Jonnson's book about "Are we living in the Last Days". Might help


  • DanTheMan


    So many books, so little time. I've been reading's sample pages of a book titled Secular Spirituality, It looks very interesting, I'm going to see if the library here has a copy. Also Dale Carnegie's famous book How To Win Friends and Influence People is one I want to read.

    I read The Road Less Travelled while I was in High School, I've totally forgotten it. Perhaps I'll give it another look. Thanks for your suggestions.

    BTW, are the Patricks having a good time? Tell them I said hi and I hope they're enjoying themselves down there!

  • refiners fire
    refiners fire

    Hey Dan,I got a book for you, its called "Crowds and Power" By Elias Canetti. Certainly one of the more interesting books I read in my younger years when I was questing for ideas. I think as long as we keep telling ourselves we will never get over it, that will certainly be the case. Anyone who truly wishes to "get over it", well, firstly they would throw out all their dub books, and they would log off this site and find a new activity. Myself, I have enjoyed and benefited from what has occured to me. I know much about fanatical religious movements and Ive written a number of books on subjects associated with religion, cults and totalistic beliefs. So it has not been a waste.

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