Both the revolutionary and the creative individual are perpetual juveniles. The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing.One thing I've noticed is that many in higher ed are determined to find and participate in some sort of revolutionary transformation. As I've said before, American higher education is haunted by a spirit of restlessness. It may not have all of the uncompromising idealism and fanaticism of revolutionaries (which is a good thing, because revolutionaries eventually set up guillotines), but it certainly exhibits a rhetorical longing for some of the same things as revolutionaries. Consequently, people often keep shifting from one fad to another, without necessarily pushing any farther forward. This seems consistent with Hoffer's observation that revolutionaries do not actually grow.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Hoffer on growth
My decision to read Between the Devil and the Dragon was inspired by a visceral reaction to a Hoffer quote about the learned. One theme of the book, especially the collection of aphorisms in the first section, is that humans are creatures whose nature is to change their nature, and to learn and grow and adapt and innovate. I like this quote from page 16: