I have discussed charisma so often on this blog that I feel like I need to talk a little bit more about what it actually is.
I have previously wondered whether charisma is something that is learned or innate. Personally, I am inclined to suspect it is some sort of genetic trait, though I base this idea chiefly off of the example of the Kennedy family. Likewise, as I have said, wouldn’t people like Hillary Clinton, Martha Coakley and Richard Nixon, who were all anti-charismatic, have taken the trouble to learn charisma if they could?
I should point out that “Charisma” is derived from a Greek word meaning “favored by the Gods”. So, I suppose a religious person or person of faith would say that this is, indeed, what charisma is. I don’t just mean the branch of Christianity called “the Charismatic movement“, but it seems to me that any religious person could argue for the validity of the argument that charismatic people are, if you will, touched by God. I suppose that such an argument might go like this: “God endows certain people with special gifts–quite apart from any of their other skills or traits–to make an impact on humanity.”
This is actually a pretty compelling argument, given the mysterious and rather mystical effect charisma can have on people. It does seem divine when you watch a charismatic person speak to a crowd.
So, do you believe this is a divine phenomenon, or do you incline to another explanation?