The Degeneration of Belief

Quotations on Fanaticism and Dogmatism

Compiled By Laird Wilcox

Irritation at the imperfection of the surrounding world — at other people, parents, etc., — is actually irritation resulting from the realization of the non-reality of megalomaniacal ideas of perfection. This … is linked to the narcissistic structures of certain intellectuals, pushing them to aggressiveness which can become deadly. ANDRE HAYNAL, et. al, Fanaticism, 1983.

One of the most dangerous things in the universe is ignorant people with real grievances. This is nowhere as dangerous, however, as an informed and intelligent society with grievances. The damage that vengeful intelligence can wreak, you cannot even imagine. FRANK HERBERT, Dune, 1965.

I doubt if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and for power — power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors; they want to retaliate. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1983), The True Believer, 1951.

When our individual interests and prospects do not seem worth living for, we are in desperate need for something apart from us to live for. All forms of dedication, devotion, loyalty and self-surrender are in essence a desperate clinging to something which might give worth and meaning to our lives. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1983), The True Believer, 1951.

Vehemence is the expression of a blind effort to support and uphold something that can never stand on its own … Whether it our own meaningless self we are upholding, or some doctrine devoid of evidence, we can do it only in a frenzy of faith. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1983), The Passionate State of Mind, 1954.

There is a powerful craving in most of us to see ourselves as instruments in the hands of others and thus free ourselves from the responsibility for acts which are prompted by our own questionable inclinations and impulses. ERIC HOFFER (1902-1983), The Passionate State of Mind, 1954.

If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas, it is having an excess commitment to some special or constricting idea. RICHARD HOFSTADER (1816-1970), Anti-Intellectualism In American Life, 1963.

There is always a type of man who says he loves his fellow men, and expects to make a living at it. EDGAR WATSON HOWE (1853-1937), Ventures In Common Sense, 1919.

Only one more indispensable massacre of Capitalists or Communists or Fascists and there we are — there we are — in the Golden Future. ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894-1963), Time Must Have A Stop, 1944.