Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Charisma And Passive Aggressiveness

Ignatius Loyola once said: "Everyone's friend is no one's friend".

I know a person who's a perfectly pleasant nice guy.

People like him because he's great in "lobbying": knows how to talk nice to people, knows how to be charming; for example, by dropping little humorous remarks during a conversation that leave you almost enchanted; and giving an impression that he really cares about you and is always willing to be of help and assistance to you. Nevertheless, I've noticed this person can be very negative under his pleasant surface; this is indicated, for example, how he can suddenly snap at you by saying something sarcastic, which makes you totally surprised and embarrassed.

These off-hand remarks make you think there's a lot of negativity hidden beneath those ongoing niceties. There's also a certain tendency to passive aggressiveness in this person, I'd say. He never insults or attacks you directly, but you can always "read between the lines" that he somehow disapproves you. There's never a direct answer "No" from him, but a sense of hesitation and reluctance always reeking out. "Sweet outside, bitter inside" is almost the sense you might get from this person.

Is there some sort of basic inner uncertainty in people like these that they try to compensate with this behaviour of trying to please everyone? Is their deep inner bitterness a result of their unconscious desire to rebel against their assumed roles as nice guys or girls, who feel they're always supposed to help and assist, to resolve conflicts of the others, and generally please everyone -- and that way trying to gain people's acceptance?

I often wonder what "charisma" in people consists of. Does there exist in some people a certain "God-given" gift of gab and inner radiance; or is it just more an innate skill to speak your way around the people, to convince and persuade, perhaps combined with good looks and excellent social skills? Because a "charismatic" person can be totally empty inside.

They can charm the masses, but if you have a chance to talk with them face-to-face, they might collapse like an empty balloon which has no hot air left. This sort of outer brilliance and inner void typifies a narcissistic person. One example of this sort of "charisma" in history is Hitler, a man who was able to hypnotize the masses but was a totally unremarkable petty-bourgeois mediocrity behind all that pomp and circumstance.

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