Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Charisma, Morality & Human Nature

The great philosopher and political theorist, Niccolo Machiavelli, noted in his book, The Prince, that to achieve any semblance of power requires the setting aside of moral imperatives. Doing what was necessary for the situation was the means by which a person achieved the success desired. Machiavelli was referring to individuals who desired to govern, but many of his philosophies are relevant to how one moves about in society. It is no mistake that the emotions of people are easily aroused through the art of oratory and the placating of fears. Once these emotions are aroused, it is easier to move the individual about at will. As a repercussion, the individual gives up her free will and is at the will of the puppet master. Individuals in this state seek to apply the same solutions in all instances. Consequently, when it's a time to defend, she seeks to retreat. When the time is to hate, she wants to love. All actions inappropriate for the situation at hand!

Napoleon Bonaparte was a devout atheist, but believed religion was good for the people, because it kept them controlled and made them easy to manage. He knew that the limitations people placed on themselves would help his personal ambitions to become emperor for life. This realization has been the foundation for many dictators in usurping the will and power of its citizenry. Any serious discussion of charismatic leadership must begin with understanding the dynamics of humans and the relationship to their social environment. Individuals view life and act according to their modes of thinking through the socialization process. We must begin analyzing what we believe to be "fact" versus "opinion."

No comments: