Creative process – Eric Hoffer: Thoughts on creativity

The philosopher and social analyst Eric Hoffer wrote widely on the creative impulse and suggested that without creative effort a society will be without stability; here are some of Hoffer’s thoughts on the creative process:

“No invention could ever take the hard work out of creating — out of good writing, painting, composing, inventing etc.” (1)

“…without the discipline of the creative effort the affluent society will be without stability. It might have to become a creative society in order the survive.”

“It seems that people who are occupied in doing what a society is particularly good at do not experience a marked decline in their creative powers with age. The writers of classical Greece kept producing great works in their eighties and nineties.”

“It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which anonymous examples triggered creative outbursts or were the seed of new styles in the fields of action, thought, and imagination…It is a mark of a creative milieu that lesser people can become instruments for things greater than themselves.”

“Can there be a social order that will wholly suit the writer and the artist?…The writer and the artist need something to worship and something to resist. They need praise and rewards, but they also need to be left alone to stew in their own juice.”

(1) All quotations are from Hoffer’s book, Reflections on the Human Condition, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1973




About Dennis Mellersh

Dennis Mellersh is an independent writer, journalist, editor, and editorial consultant.
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