23 January 2019

A Fanatical Grievance

Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements  (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951):
§75

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.

An engraving after Charles Le Brun (1765), via The Met