Sunday, October 18, 2009

How important is charisma?

This morning, I started reading a new book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience after noticing the title. The book is written by Carmine Gallow, a columnist at I like reading anything that improves my communication skills, so I thought I would give it a try.

But rather than sifting through the book to learn how to give a better presentation, I focused on one paragraph describing "charisma" and I decided to share my thoughts (more like free associations) with you. The paragraph is as follows:

What you'll learn is that Jobs is a magnetic pitchman who sells his ideas with a flair that turns prospects into customers and customers into evangelists. He has charisma, defined by the German sociologist, Max Weber as "a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary people and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities." Jobs has become superhuman among his most loyal fans. But Weber got one thing wrong. Weber believed that charisma was not "accessible to the ordinary person." Once you learn exactly how Jobs crafts and delivers one of his famous presentations, you will realize that these exceptional powers are available to you as well....

I have been thinking about the quality of "charisma" lately and I really have more questions than answers. What sets some people apart from others? What is it about some people that commands better treatment, more people listening to them and a higher level of social status? Is it charisma or some other trait or appearance?

But more importantly, why do some people attribute others with charisma with supernatural or superhuman powers when they are only....human? I believe it is dangerous to attribute human beings with exceptional powers, for none are deserving of this. It's great that Jobs develops so many great products that help the world but that only makes him a human being who makes good products, not a god.

My husband says that perhaps this trait, to see people as superhuman and charismatic is genetic and like all things genetic, there are variations. But then how do we break those people who see political leaders and others as godlike when they are anything but? Sure, charisma can sometimes be a positive force, but it can also be a very dangerous one, getting people to go along with a con artist, a narcissist, or a psychopath. What if some people can't tell the difference?

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Blogger Flash Gordon said...

Wasn't it P.T. Barnum who had the best answer to your questiion? "There's one born every minute." Maybe every second.

11:05 AM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger jimbino said...

Charisma has a lot to do with mastery of the English language. Folks who have not mastered English react positively to those speakers who have being conscious of the reasons for their warm feelings.

That explains some of the charisma of Ronald Reagan, who never made a grammatical error in his speeches, and of George Will and Martin Luther King Jr, FDR and Winston Churchill.

Bill Clinton, with his "from Hillary and I" and Obama with his "everybody ... they" fall short.

11:06 AM, October 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without going into the topic, simply try listening to one of Hitler's speeches--any one of them--and in German, and if you do not speak or understand German you will still find yourself swept up in what he utters. Why? Carefully modulateed movement, beginning with slow p[ace and building up to a smashing (Wagerian?) crescendo. Hitler seemed mousy in appearance but he knew what he was doing when he spoke and his speeches were not unplanned.
Since the speeches were not in English, and if you do not understand German, then clearly you need not be an American charismatic to be charismatic. Many of our downhome religious evangelical leaders know how to deliver too.

11:15 AM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...


You are right, grammar is part of it. But you also have to factor in enunciation, using complete sentences, eye contact, listening, learning peoples' names, appearance, voice inflection and enthusiasm.

I've learned that people who have studied acting and public speaking often become good orators. Good orators may not be superhuman but they are easier on the ear than someone who isn't.

If some people see charismatic orators as godlike then I figure that is their business. I'm not sure they need to be 'broken'. Adults should be free to believe whatever they wish.

11:22 AM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

And, here is my free association contribution to this discussion. Fred says he thinks they know what they are doing. They certainly seem to, but I think it will turn out that it is the very fact that they don't that enables them to have the charisma they do.

11:55 AM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger jimbino said...


Of course you are right about the other ingredients of charisma. And I add to your list the ability to fake sincerity.

But I cite "proper grammar" because it's common to read that grammar is not important, the rules of grammar being flexible nowadays, since "English is a changing language." Of course it's true that the rules are changing, but at whatever point in its development we English speakers react positively, if unconsciously, to those who have mastered the prevailing rules of grammar.

I meant to say in my previous post:

"Folks who have not mastered English react positively to those speakers who have, without being conscious of the reasons for their warm feelings."

12:20 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Dr.D said...

It may be useful to distinguish two levels of charisma. The first is that associated with a speaker who sweeps you away with a powerful speech, but on later reflection you are less convinced. The second is the speaker who has the same sort of dramatic impact on the hearer, but the hearer remains convinced even after further reflection.

The first one is playing purely on emotions, and often is very short on reasons for what is said. The presentation is smooth, dramatic, appeals strongly to the emotional state of the listeners. It may prompt immediate action, such as storming a fortress, raising a lynch mob, etc.

The second one is a more rational presentation and relies much more on an appeal to the reasoning of the hearers. It will still be done in a highly organized manner, with all the pieces in place for a very smooth presentation, using good grammar, careful word choices, and very clear statements. It is usually not as fiery the first type, but still often quite intense and leaves no piece of the argument unfinished. It is not likely to rouse the hearer to immediate action, but more likely to commit the hearer to eventual action.

3:06 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...

"I believe it is dangerous to attribute human beings with exceptional powers, for none are deserving of this. It's great that Jobs develops so many great products that help the world but that only makes him a human being who makes good products, not a god."

Absolutely. As Samuel Johnson pointed out: a horse that can count to ten is a remarkable horse, not a remarkable mathematician.

3:32 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Sean D Sorrentino said...

I think that South Park said it best, during the episode where the kids form a "Boy Band." The key to get women screaming at you is to have other women screaming at you. once a few start, like sheep, the rest follow. having been in a crowd of screaming fans, i tend to agree. get together a critical mass of idiots cheering for something and they will get everyone else moving along with them. you can try it for yourself. go watch a play. when something funny happens, laugh really loudly. each time you laugh loudly, more people will join in. it's basic group dynamics. that's why the seats are so close together. it's to force you to react with the crowd, not as an individual. if you have to perform for people, make them sit or stand close together and play to the easy ones. they'll pull the rest along.

4:28 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Sean's comment makes a lot of sense. People like to be part of a community. Many would rather go along then think for themselves.

If you look around I think you'll find lots of examples that show just how many turn off their brains and accept what is fed to them.

5:25 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

this has been known for as long as there have been societies and the need to control groups.

8:15 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Donna B. said...

How depressing these comments are. I don't mean they are not true.

Perhaps mass communication is not the best thing for humans.

8:18 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

My initial reaction to a charismatic person is self protection. When I was younger, not so much, but charisma in others has almost always made me cautious because people use charisma to manipulate others into doing something they may well not want to do or may ultimately be bad for them.

In general, it seems younger people are more susceptible to the wiles of a charismatic person. But, I've known people who seem to go through their lives looking for a charismatic person to bring inspiration into their lives. Maybe the feeling of being inspired is what is so seductive.

8:36 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Ern said...

What if some people can't tell the difference?

I don't think that there's any "what if" about it, do you? Hitler was charismatic. Mao was charismatic. Mussolini was charismatic. Being a moral person has nothing to do with charisma. Like DADvocate, I am extremely suspicious of the charismatic. They can do great things, but they can also do greatly evil things.

11:18 PM, October 18, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

Years ago, I worked with a rather ugly man who could say the most insulting things to people with a charm that was utterly disarming. It was amazing to watch.

I paid a price, though. I recall one meeting where I said something negative about our boss's idea. This guy then mocked the idea to an egregious degree. I'm sure that our boss later attributed to me far more negativity and harsh criticism I gave (I have a tendency to be so blunt, people find it insulting, but in this case I really was being quite tactful.)

2:26 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Lisa said...

My husband is working on his MBA in an Executive program at a prestigious university and the most successful people (financially as well as title and authority) in the group all have a few traits in common. They are all thin, attractive, of average ability and super skilled at faking or actually having interest in other people. Oddly enough, the smartest people seem to have less responsibility, especially management duties.

9:28 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...


I'm sure you figured out by now there are plenty of qualified intelligent education and enthusiastic people in this world. Yet, CEOs of major corporations always all seem to be white, tall, thin, male and attractive. The reason for this is that culturally this is what we want to see in our leaders. I'm pretty confident this is going to change shortly, at least on some levels.

9:55 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Ern said...

Yet, CEOs of major corporations always all seem to be white, tall, thin, male and attractive.

That's sure what Meg Whitman says.

10:20 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Lisa said...

it's less about gender and race than it used to be but it is still about being tall, thin and attractive.

10:22 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...


10:26 AM, October 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to nitpic, but charisma may have a lot to do with language, but nothing to do with English or even grammar.

Hitler, Galtieri and DeGaulle were all insanely charismatic, and English was a very low priority for them.

There's a bad side to charisma as well; like martial arts skills or a loaded gun, there is no inherent moral application to its use and exploitation. Some of the worst people in society are particularly charismatic. When you don't have any good ideas, you're not particularly smart, your intentions are shrouded in mystery because they're all self-serving...learn some charisma and watch the lemmings beat a path to your door.

Charisma can compensate for the absence of genuine character. People fall for this all the time (cue up "Hail to the Chief").

10:34 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Interesting comments. I think charismatic people are expert at manipulating how we feel about them and ourselves. The catchphrase "magnetic personality" applies as well. We want to spend time with charismatic people, we are drawn to them.

They speak with authority, and either say what we want them to say or are persuasive when we disagree. We identify with them and want to be like them. I think that is where the looks part comes in.

I wonder if it can be like an emotional hypnotism in some cases.

11:12 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

trey, if what you mean by emotional hypnotism is that the charismatic person induces a change in the emotional state of the person or group they are speaking to, then i agree....but isn`t that what we all want on some level,to be able to have people like us?

teachers of communication talk about internal states of emotion. once we have control of our own internal emotional state and can choose the optimum state to communicate, we choose relaxed, happy and receptive.

try it yourself.

if you are tired,stresed and cranky the things you say will reflect that. conversely, if you are relaxed and smiling, you come across that way also.

can we choose our internal state?

sure. it`s a major part of what i teach.

there are always those who, for whatever reason, react adversely to those with a smile on. but for the majority of us, we resonate with the relaxed happy person and are certainly in a better frame to recieve whatever message they are presenting.

so, i guess the question begs to be asked; what is the difference between the genuinely happy outgoing person and the tele-evangelist/insurance salesman?

i think it`s pretty simple. is there a dollar sign at the end of the sentence? does the person speaking to you want you to do something you wouldn`t normally agree to?

12:09 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

and i will make a small judgement about steve jobs here. he represents a sort of nerd messiah to many, and that i think it`s less about his charisma than his association with doing feats of magic.

chris angel is sort of the same in that regard.

they are both passionate about what they do, successful and do magic tricks in front of large audiences.

i am reminded of a friend who became engrossed in the way that donald trump acted. he felt that his personality was the key to his success in business.

i warned him strongly not to start behaving like a spoilt child with a bad attiude, but he was convinced that it was his arrogance that got him his wealth.

when i showed him that it was his father`s considerable success in property developement that laid the groundwork for trump`s success and his dogged determination to prove his father wrong that forged his empire, and not how he behaved in front of a camera he began to see my point.

12:21 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Dr. Alistair, I was hoping you would chime in. I am with you about most of what you said. I would say that we can influence and steer but often not control our affectice states. I can even say that at times it is not in our best interest to control or change them.

If our feelings are just the other hemisphere's way of thinking, then they bring something important to the table that should be considered. Now, sometimes it is important for me to know that I am feeling sad because I am having a pity party and I should just change my attitude. So my feelings are not always "right" but even when they are there to let me know I need to change my attitude, they are useful.

Other times they are there and hard to decipher, but they seem to hold some important info that will get me in trouble if I ignore it.

I agree that at times we need to lean on our cognition and emotional control, but at other times that emotional gnawing is a real source of wisdom.

Wisdom to know when to control and when to follow our feelings may be the bottom line. What do you think?


1:01 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger CPJones said...

At least with Jobs, it was just about his products, although he did foresee how they would revolutionize everyday life.

There seems to be plenty of healthy skepticism of charismatic politicians here. But every presidential election season some of the brightest people I know of complain that they "just can't get excited" about candidate X or Y, due to what - insufficient charisma?

1:03 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger BarryD said...

I'm a terrible one to judge what seems to attract other people to such figures, since my reaction to Jobs has always been that he seems full of crap, and I never found Barry O to be charismatic at all.

It seems that, to be charismatic, one has to believe his own BS, at least to some extent, or to be a true sociopath.

1:21 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger BarryD said...

BTW I wonder about what makes someone receptive to charisma, and what makes someone fail to respond to it or even distrust the charismatic.

Okay, I was receptive to Harry Browne. In person he had quite a presence, even shortly before his death. But I was interested in what he was saying, not just who was saying it.

My family background is Austrian, and all my relatives including my parents experienced the Nazi regime. For me, that's not Godwin, that's real history of real people.

Did this make me a real skeptic? Or is there something else?

My grandparents were not seduced by Hitler, either, and they didn't have that history to look back on.

Might it even have a genetic component?

1:54 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Mister Wolf said...

Dr. Helen,

If you're really interested in public speaking may I recommend that you read "De Oratore" by Cicero. It may be over two millennia old, but the art of public speaking hasn't changed much since ancient Greece and Rome.

As for our President and his "charisma", I'd argue that he doesn't really have much in the way of true oratorical skill. He relies on emotions and demagoguery to give an illusion of competence. The only reason why he's even remotely considered a good orator is because a real orator is very rare. Cicero points out this oddity at the beginning of "De Oratore" of so few true experts in the art of public speaking and it hasn't changed much since his time. What I believe Obama has is what I call the intoxicating personality. His mere presence causes people to look up to him(well, I should say SOME people). In fact, his approval rating would be higher if he never had to open his mouth. Hitler had an intoxicating personality. Churchill did not(Churchill was a real orator; remember, shortly before WW2 his political career was pretty much dead because of his insistence that Hitler was no good). Typically, an orator has a lyrical quality to his voice and words while the demagogue with an intoxicating personality has a demanding(almost shouting and in Hitler's case real shouting) tone.

You can see the lyrical quality within Sir Winston's "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech. Sir Winston's words are a type of spoken poetry.

There is far more to oratory but I think that's enough for now. Till next time.

2:02 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger David Foster said...

One thing that is remarkable to me, and not in a good way, is how many people there are whose livelihoods involve giving presentations..but who never bother to learn how to do it decently.

I'm not talking about learning to give Steve-Jobs-level pitches, just how to do a craftsmanlike job that won't put your audience to sleep. But an amazing number of professors seem to be unwilling to put in the work to deliver material effectively, and also in business there are plenty of people whose career prospects would be greatly improved by improving their speaking skills..but either don't know or don't care that they have a problem.

3:49 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

Wisdom to know when to control and when to follow our feelings may be the bottom line. What do you think?

trey, i think that is the crux of personal growth. while the analyst can help us with the technical, therapeutic and transactional strategies, it is still necessary for us to do the steering of the boat once we leave the office.

cpjones, jobs is still well within the newtonian mechanical viewpoint regarding his products and thier impact on society. for a more organic viewpoint may i recommend ray kurzweil and his book, the coming singularity, wherein he takes us on a journey into the future of computational machines and thier impact on society.

jobs, for me, is the circus majordomo, directing us to the highwire. nothing wrong with that. we need a guide. but it is pure consumerism. he may just as well be presenting the new line of refridgerators at the home show.

3:57 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

and if you want to see an orator at work, google video has many clips of christopher hitchens.

3:59 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Hitch is an evalgelical athiest. He is quite insulting of people like me who are evangelical Christians. So I give him his space and wish he would give me mine. 8)


4:02 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

actually he is a non-theist. to be an atheist would be believing in something unproveable.

my appreciation of hitchens is in his precision with words, which i feel is a cornerstone of good oration.

care and concern with the meaning of words and being precise about the words you use to describe your reality is also a cornerstone of good mental health, because if you are confusing yourself with words you tend to percieve reality with some deficits.

do you feel that hitchens is taking your space?

5:10 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

dr.alistair --

"actually he is a non-theist."

Hitchens: "I'm not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful."

6:06 PM, October 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, now we're on to Chris Hitchens!

Hitchens is much like Professor Harold Bloom of Yale. Call him a snob because he loathes Stephen King and JK Rowling, but don't call him a dunce...the man knows his stuff!

Same for Chris Hitchens. He's an atheist? Evangelical or otherwise, he also knows his stuff. Whatever supernatural fetish you choose to indulge is your own affair, but Hitchens routinely sends his interlocutors to the back of the woodshed because he knows what he talks about.

Evangelical! What is that? Some kind of diploma?! You got "saved?" You "found the light?"

Spare me!

6:43 PM, October 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: If you take offense at my last post, them by all means share with us your views on the Creationist Museum in Kentucky. I so love to hear Christians talk about how Adam & Eve drove around the Garden of Eden in the latest model of the Ford Velociraptor...or maybe they preferred the Chevy T-Rex.

Be careful how loudly you say the word "evangelical." Somebody might hear you.

6:45 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Olig quoted: "but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful."

Spot on. That is the part of Hitch I do not cater to. Thanks!

Kevin, I am not at all offended by your post though you are kind to ask. Nor am I afraid of claiming what I believe. And yes, you are correct that I am saved and saw the light. I would spare you if I could, but it is not up to me! That is the point. 8)

Hitch is indeed brilliant, you and I agree on that. Shame he is a bit of a bigot on things spiritual. But it is a large world and there is certainly room enough for him and me.

I have not been to the Creationist Museum in Kentucky, but I might go if it is near a distillery. While I am saved, I enjoy a good bourbon.

I have never heard a Christian talk about Adam and Eve in their Ford or Chevy, and I have been to a lot of churches and know a lot of Christians. Maybe I need to hang with you more to have those interesting experiences.

With kind regards,

7:06 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

i think what hitchens is refering to is the bureaucracy of the church. he`s certainly not attacking a person`s personal beliefs, one`s that are a vital part of many a man`s life.

hitchens is an intelligent and thoughtful man and would never attempt to speak for another out of turn.

it is merely that those who defend the church as an institution make such an easy target.

9:22 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"it is merely that those who defend the church as an institution make such an easy target."

Well, do not get me started on that. Perhaps CH and I agree about something else. I hope you are correct and I am mistaken about hit antipathy toward faith.


11:02 PM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Fen said...

Hitchens: "I'm not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful."

Well, you're wrong. One key benefit to Religion is that it teaches us to focuse our spiritual energy on the divine instead of a mere man.

Its no coincidence that "athiests" refocus their spiritual energy on Obama, Global Warming, Humanism, etc.

9:53 AM, October 20, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You needn't hang at all. If you want "interesting experiences," you need merely spend some time at an accountancy firm with a few criminally bent accountants. Talk to the CEO and ask why they put up with a few severely bad apples. If they say, "Well, it's none of my business," then you know what I'm talking about.

Or, perhaps you'd prefer to join the LAPD. I hear 92% of those cops are actually professional and dedicated to being of service to society. But when you meet some that beat the mother-loving tar out of motorists on videotape, and you wonder why the whole group has such a bad reputation, then you'll know what I'm talking about.

It's called policing your own. If you're a deer hunter and you see another deer hunter litter, drink booze (even bourbon) while hunting and fire his weapon in the general direction of the nearby daycare center...don't gasp in shock when the whole group comes under the harsh scrutiny of others who really aren't impressed with how you spend your free time. When deer hunters or cops or accountants or ANYBODY spends more time making sure that their little group is acting like sentient bipeds, the whole groups benefits as does society as a whole. And when a group, oh, say Christian for example, mouth off on how spiritual and benevolent they are, and society sees lunatic creationists riding anamatronic dinosaurs and others hurling insults at the grieving next-of-kin of American soldiers and Marines on the pretext that the federal gov't isn't presently corralling gays into boxcars to ship them off to concentration camps...then you'll understand what I'm talking about.

So when you encounter another atheist who laughs hysterically at religious types, you need merely take a drive to Kentucky (or even YouTube) to see why some people who didn't sleep during science class find religion hysterical.


Fen: Tying atheists to global warming, Obama and humanism is pathetic.

10:17 AM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Fen said...

/should read

Its no coincidence that "athiests" displace their spiritual energy into Obama, Global Warming, Humanism, etc.

10:22 AM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Fen said...

"Fen, Tying atheists to global warming, Obama and humanism is pathetic.

Hardly. People who deny their own sexual energy see it displaced in unhealthy ways.

The same applies to those who deny their spritual side. It manifests in other ways. Diefication of Obama is just one example.

10:24 AM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Dr.D said...

I'm not quite sure how we got to this point from "charisma," but your last comment is a complete non sequitur. Your points about the need for members of a group to police themselves made pretty good sense while you talked about the police, the hunters, the accountants, etc.

But why, and by what authority, do you think one group of Christians can "police" another group who call themselves Christians, even if their actions are questionable? The actions of the people that you refer to are not accepted by most Christians, but we do not have the authority to do anything more than to ignore them, just as you do. Neither we nor you can stop them from calling themselves Christians, just as we could not stop you from calling yourself whatever you want to call yourself. It would be a gross violation of your civil rights if we said that you could not be KevinM, and so it is with them.

As to your last point, there is no truth at all to the idea that staying awake in science class make religion funny. I know any number of highly intelligent, scientifically oriented people that I see in church on a Sunday morning. For myself, I am a PhD engineer and a priest, so I did not sleep through science class, but I find no humor in religion.

10:39 AM, October 20, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you don't find humor in religion. We have more in common than I thought.

You missed my point entirely. If a group of people can exist under one name (Christians, Muslims, Deer Hunters) and within that group there are a number of certifiable fruitcakes and the non-fruitcakes either cannot or will not maintain the credibility of the group, then the group will be known by its actions, legitimate and lunatic alike. And when most people see any group that so readily tolerates lunacy, violence and vile social behavior, the group loses all credibility.

I don't care if you drop a hundred bucks in the poor box if I know you beat your children at night.

You're a PhD engineer and priest? How cool. I'm a test pilot for NASA when I'm not splitting atoms for fun and profit. I'm also the guy who came up with the Internet and human genome project. You want fries with that, Father Archimedes?

10:57 AM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Well, that answers that!


1:00 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

and i think charisma is very inmportant....

3:19 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

Fen --

Its no coincidence that "athiests" displace their spiritual energy into Obama, Global Warming, Humanism, etc.

As an atheist who derides Obama, thinks GW is a scam like GC was before and understands that Humanism is simply a "system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate", I think you need to rethink your straw and alfalfa.

Why the quotes around atheist?

4:44 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

TMink --

"Hitch is an evalgelical athiest. He is quite insulting of people like me who are evangelical Christians."

You do understand that evangelical Christians are usually quite insulting to people who aren't? Kinda goes with the term evangelical (late Latin for 'in your face').

4:48 PM, October 20, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Olig, you have a good point, as usual. Too many, far too many of my brothers and sisters have been insulting and demeaning in the way they share their faith for too long. I can promise you that I do not, but I know of many people who have and do.

One that comes to mind, I was accosted by a twenty something guy about wearing jeans and that being a sign of my rebellion to God and that I needed to repent (and change my pants I guess) lest I suffer eternal damnation. It was about 1971. He was accosting me as I was walking into church.

If it helps my consistency rating just a tad, I do not hang out with boorish believers either.

Take care pal.


9:43 AM, October 21, 2009  
Blogger Barb Oakley said...

I think that the frame surrounding someone is the most important factor in creating a God-like aura of charisma that seduces people. For example, if Obama was still just a junior senator, he'd be known as good speaker and a senator, but not much more. Mao was considered by some to be a poor public speaker, as was Stalin. But put a Chinese or Russian of the time in front of his leader, and he'd have been tongue-tied with awe.

Early on, Jobs didn't have the cult-like status he now enjoys, because didn't have the achievements he now has. He's now viewed in the context of a very different, far more adulatory frame.

I notice one trick that some people play in one-to-one meetings is to try to hint at their "frame," to shape your perceptions of them so you'll treat them better.

Take a look at some of the work of Harvard feminists. Their "research" states, basically, that science doesn't apply to feminist theories. These women would never get away with this is they didn't have something like a Harvard "frame" to put would-be criticizers in their place. After all, how could a Harvard professor be wrong? Surely they'd be called out by their own if they were...

You can get away with almost anything if you have the proper frame.

2:24 PM, October 21, 2009  

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