If we start with the premise that man is made in the image of God, we can deduce that man is like God. Afterall, Jesus was the son of God, and he embodied particular traits that made him great! Now, what is this god-like force that some men possess? Is it charisma, which quite literally means a divinely conferred power or talent? And if Jesus had charisma, and I think he did, then this quality might be interpreted as divine. But the problem is that Hitler also had charisma, and most people would agree that Hitler was not good. So, what did Hitler and Jesus have in common? The ability to speak to crowds and resonate with individuals on a deeply emotional level, and on a primitive plane through the use of story-telling and parables.
The most lasting cult-like figures used stories. Stories are as old as humans. We must look to the origins of human nature to understand where power comes from. It comes from moving towards God and away from flesh and blood. The most potent power a man can possess is a sublimation of the sexual energy and a retention of the vital essence. The spirit is in complete contrast to the desires of the flesh, or desires that exist outside of the self. If you satisfy the body, you will remain hidden. If you satisfy the spirit, you will become great! When Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted, he told Satan that “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” His physical body broke down after 40 days of fasting, while simultaneously connecting to his Father in Heaven, the divine. Listening to God and following God, while turning away from the body will cause men to have the powers of God. A man follows a vision, through the power of his creative imagination, and brings it into being through faith. This is similar to a connection with God.
A leader articulates a vision through the power of imagination. This source of power does not rely on limiting patterns from the past, but comes from the infinite source. It is limitless, in the way that God is infinite. It will require unconventional behavior and extreme risk-taking. Jesus was continuously tested by religious leaders, which would have resulted in his death if he answered incorrectly. Before Hitler was anybody, he stormed a beerhall and declared his political philosophy while firing a gun into the ceiling. He was consequently imprisoned.
What sort of spirit would possess someone to make claims that would lead to their death? It is the transcendence of fear for what might happen to an earthly body, and an expression of the spiritual one. On more than one occasion, Hitler compared himself to Jesus, the savior of Germany. These claims would be ludicrous, if they did not come true, and Jesus would be a liar, if he did not rise from the dead.
Why do crowds respond to these individuals? Freud thought that the moral center of consciousness is overridden by a crowd controlled by a charismatic leader. When we become part of a crowd, we lose our sense of self and become unrestricted, and free. On a primitive level, people desire to be a part of crowds, to give up cognitive control, and allow a charismatic leader to be in control. This contrast of wanting control and wanting to give up control is an element of human nature. It is most obviously an expression of the sexual energy that desires both bondage and submission. It is man’s desire for adventure and security, which is in constant conflict with each other. Desires are always in conflict. They originate from the earthly body. To overcome desire, one must give up desire, and follow God, and all of the things of the earth will be added unto you.