Charismatic Theory of Genius

Charismatic Genius

The charismatic theory of genius states that the essential characteristic of genius is its magical gift of influence, spiritual charm, hypnotic power, and the ability to inspire, infect, fascinate and lead people.
In the traditional sense of the word charisma (Greek χάρισμα – “a gift from God”) is understood as a unique heavenly gift, divine power sent down to man. In Christianity, charisma means “the gift of God”, grace, “grace” (grace), in which God reveals Himself to man as a revelation, a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit in man, thanks to which, he becomes a prophet who keeps in touch with Heaven and has a great influence on people.
On the other hand, this concept is connected with the ancient Greek goddesses of beauty, grace, charm, nature, human creativity, goodwill, and fertility – Charites (Dr.-Greek from χάρις, “grace, beauty, charm”), the three deities embodying the joyful and eternally youthful beginning of life. The three beautiful goddesses – Aglaea (“Shining”), Euphrosyne (“Joy”), and Thalia (“Blooming”) gave people creative inspiration and had the magical gift of attracting attention. In this case, the emphasis was placed precisely on the special qualities of supernatural attraction and the magical power of mythical characters.

Due to the existence of two interpretations of the concept of charisma, we can distinguish two ways of understanding the charismatic theory of genius:
1. Genius as a gift of heaven. Genius is understood as a heavenly, divine gift, possession of magical power and unique abilities, and geniuses appear as the chosen ones of higher powers, messengers of the gods. At the same time, if God is the creator of all things, then geniuses are endowed with supernatural creative abilities.
The very concept of charisma was first developed and introduced into the field of sociology, politics and culture by M. Weber. He called charisma a quality bestowed by God. “The term “charisma” will be applied to a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is considered extraordinary and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers and qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary…”.
2. Genius is a magical power, a supernatural ability to influence people and the world around them. The most pronounced property of a charismatic personality, considered in social terms is an extraordinary personal charm, the ability to inspire, inspire, energize other people, to enthuse and lead them. Thus, according to D. Simonton, the essential characteristics of genius are the ability to influence the masses, the ability to mobilize people and unite the nation around common goals, to lead the struggle in critical situations.

Plato and Aristotle spoke about the special “divine qualities” of outstanding people. B. Spinoza called these qualities “divine virtue”, and Kant, Hegel and Feuerbach saw their origins in historical activity conditioned by extra-personal grounds.
To charismatic qualities, M. Weber attributed magical abilities, the gift of prophecy, exceptional volitional qualities, and the ability to influence people with great emotional power. He defined charismatic leadership as based on devotion and exceptional holiness, heroism, creative revolutionary force, recognizing the personal mission“ and a unified view of the world derived from a consciously integrated meaningful attitude toward life”
N.O. Lossky argued that the essence of the surrounding reality is made up of supertemporal “ideal personalities”, “substantival agents”, having superqualitative, metalogical creative force, and L.N. Gumilev spoke of the existence of special passionary personalities characterized by an overabundance of living energy, causing an irresistible inner desire for activity aimed at achieving the happiness of contemporaries.
According to D. Granin, geniuses are “flashes of Nature”, a very special breed of people with an innate ability to receive from the external environment a huge energy and direct it to change and creativity. In the very nature of genius is something mystical, inaccessible to logic, some coming from the depths of the subconscious instinct, the regularities of which are unknown. Their desire for creativity is determined by their spirituality, their inspiring faith, and their ability to subordinate themselves to the service of high social ideals.

A charismatic personality is usually a charming, creative, successful and self-confident person who is able to inspire admiration and unconditional faith in his or her abilities, inspire a sense of awe in the people around him or her, and exert a profound and extraordinary influence on them. According to J. Conger charismatic leaders are characterized by sensitivity to the environment and others, a high level of personal risk, and most importantly the ability to formulate and communicate their vision, to create an atmosphere of trust and commitment and to achieve the joint achievement of this vision. They have the ability to communicate complex ideas in accessible, emotional messages – parables, symbols, analogies and metaphors.
Н. Tichy and M. Devanna identified the following traits of transformational leaders:
1) They see themselves as change agents.
2) They have courage and boldness.
3) They believe in people.
4) They are driven by fundamental values.
5) They are lifelong learners.
6) They can deal with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity.
7) They have a vision of perspective.

According to A. Sosland a charismatic personality uses the following strategies to exercise their influence:
1) Stand out from others.
2) To experience an epiphany.
3) Surprise supporters.
4) Devise a ritual.
5) Defeat enemies.
6) Show autonomy.
7) Awaken special emotions.

The key qualities of charismatic geniuses are a thirst for activity, the burst of creative forces, enthusiasm, creative inspiration, inclination to mental impulses, as well as the ability to charge other people with their energy and lead them.
A genius is distinguished by awareness of his mission, high creative potential, manifested in non-standard, original, qualitatively new solutions and actions, as well as a powerful, planetary, transformative and at the same time convincing and understandable vision.
The charismatic genius is distinguished by the ability to create a vision linked to higher values and the gift to communicate it to others, through empathy and inspirational motivation, and to realize it, in synergistic interaction with others.
The emergence and affirmation of charismatic personalities are determined not only by intrapersonal but also by sociocultural factors. Geniuses are born in situations of social crises, in periods of aggravation of struggle and the emergence of radical changes in society, as well as determined by the presence of adherents and loyal followers who share their worldview and mission.

A distinctive feature of a charismatic genius is the fact that he uses his high need for leadership and power as a means of achieving higher goals, and as a tool for transforming the world around him.
The genius creates a creatogenic atmosphere around him, inspires others, strengthens their ability to dedicate themselves, awakens creative potential, concentrates energy and strength, and thus, thereby advances the surrounding people and surrounding objects to the ideal. Possessing a magical, spiritual aura, charismatic genius infects others with his faith and energy, and awakens their spiritual forces, leaving behind a lot of supporters and followers.
Charismatic leaders are most often born in turning points, in extreme historical conditions. They make heroic accomplishments and revolutionary transformations and transform outdated traditions and laws.
Creative charismatic geniuses are key figures in the evolution of culture and instruments of progress, they are distinguished by their extraordinary productivity, and the significance of their accomplishments, their charisma is supported, grown and strengthened by the success of historical and momentous results of creativity.
Charismatic geniuses are the founders of new religions and new trends in art and scientific schools.
Supplementing the list of charismatic personalities given by Weber, we can assume that the founders of world religions and religious movements (Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, Luther, Calvin) possessed charisma, great military leaders (Alexander the Great, Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar, Tamerlane, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, Napoleon) and outstanding politicians (Abraham Lincoln, Peter the Great, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro).
At the same time, the influence of genius on other people can also be indirect and realized through his biographies, diaries, and works, which can awaken creative forces, and inspire and elevate a person. “There can be no genius without a lasting productive force,” said Goethe.
Jean-Marie Guyau noted that if Napoleon captivates by force of will, then Corneille and Victor Hugo captivate no less, but in a different way. Among the artistic geniuses with charisma, we can distinguish – Goethe, Verdi, Hugo, Tolstoy, Picasso. The influence of genius on humanity knows no space-time boundaries and can even increase with time.