Saturday, 26 July 2008

Dear charismatic old Dr Dabic

It was hardly surprising that Radovan Karadzic should have spent the last few years making a living from alternative medicine, for he was said by many to have great charisma. This is what you need—one might say it is all you need—to peddle the ragbag of dangerous rubbish that is homeopathy, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine and the technique of channelling energy into your head through a grubby topknot.

For some notes on the harm that such superstitions can do, go here. It is an American site; over there there they have even more practitioners of this sort of thing than we have, but they also have many energetic opponents of it, and have coined the useful word woo to describe everything that is subject to New Age credulity.

Charisma: A gift or power of leadership or authority; aura. Hence, the capacity to inspire devotion or enthusiasm. Applied to a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, super-human, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.

A book about the coming to power of that most charismatic of all twentieth century leaders explains it thus: A leader who is invested by all his followers with the attributes of a man of destiny may be designated as a charismatic leader. Such a leader is one supposedly endowed with ‘special grace’ (Charisma), for the fulfilment of a given mission.

Sieg Heil!

No comments: