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Charlatanism of some degree is
indispensable to effective leadership
             Eric Hoffer

Cult: Charismatic Master

Robert Heinlein once said that "Courtesy is the oil that the machine of society runs on" The same can be said about a cult leader's charisma. He's smooth, charming, friendly and will tell you exactly what you want to hear. That is his appeal, he can make you believe exactly what you want to believe. And he can make it seem like it is all so reasonable.

Part of what makes the leader so appealing is that -- a smooth cult leader -- will make it seem like it is all about YOU.

<insert the celestial chorus for the insecure, dissatisfied and self-loathing> For that moment that person who is so desperately yearning to be someone other than themselves is finally recognized as SPECIAL <end parting of clouds and light show>

For the few moments that you are basking in the gigawatt glow and warmth of his attention. It is in that moment that you start spinning your own beliefs about his intentions. It isn't for his benefit that he does this, it is for yours. He is offering to make you bigger, better and faster. Study with him and you will learn the secrets of the ultimate fighting system and will not only be able to defeat hordes of evil attackers but also be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Since he will teach you how to be a member of a secret warrior elite, the Clark Kent/Superman reference is amazingly appropriate. Another variation is spiritual enlightenment -- although that is much rarer outside the religious/metaphysical cults. No matter how far fetched these goals may seem, they are always for better and more noble goals than the enrichment and power of the cult leader. And that is very much part of his charisma and appeal.

In case you haven't figured it out, the cult leader doesn't work alone. He appeals to people who want to be appealed to. For example, Adolf Hitler tapped into the German rage, shame, frustration and sense of persecution resulting from the loss of WWI and the Allied punitive measures; measures that created extreme economic hard times for Germany during the depression. The Germans, themselves feeling persecuted gratefully embraced a leader that not only offered them economic salvation, but reestablished cultural pride and power. Hitler was incredibly charismatic, but what he was offering appealed to dissatisfied people. The combination of appeal of his message and charisma is what blinded people to the authoritarian aspects of him, his party and his goals.

This is why it is so important when meeting a charming and suave master instructors to look for the Bitch Patrol!  Among the busy activity of the Scottish Knights (those working their way up the ladder) you can easily see the BP in action if you watch. These people protect and isolate the Master so he can always be "a good guy" The instructor's charm is most often a sales pitch to get you into the system. The question you need to ask isn't "Do you teach classes?" -- odds are he does -- the question you need to ask is "Do you regularly teach beginner classes?" Not teaching beginner classes in your own school is pretty indicative of an elitist mindset. Supplicants must prove themselves worthy before being instructed by the grand poo-Bah himself. He will select the few, the worthy and teach them how to be warriors of this deadly art.

Quite simply if you dream of being a warrior...join the military. They do it for real, not as a fantasy. While cults are all about Superman fantasies. You can save your money and buy Superman comic books instead, that at least has resale value.

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