corboy - do you not feel great when someone agrees with the posts you make on RR.com? Do you not feel great that you make a difference to the readers here, and they feel great after having read some of your posts?
And if you didn't need to feel this effect all the time, would you have made nearly 3000 posts on RR.com?
I just want you to have a look in the mirror before we convict LGATs of anything. I am not making a value judgment - I am asking you questions.
Having said that, I've participated in many Landmark Education courses, and to your point, I will share my view:
1) the Forum did make me feel 'high', because of the confessional aspect of it. A year and a half after I'd done it, I chose to admit indiscretions to my wife that I would not have done prior to doing the Forum.
2) the less secrets I harbored toward my wife, and the more I came out into the light with what I'd said and done in the past, that had a negative effect on me and my environment, the more charismatic I would feel.
3) the Forum marked the beginning of my relationship with God. I got baptized, started giving a tenth of my income to church and charity, things I had been previously concerned about or 'cared about', I was actually doing something about them now, rather than just talking about it.
4) you are right in saying I have a need to "get high" constantly by being around people who value and appreciate me and to whom I feel I am a contribution. As a matter of fact, I think I cannot live without that ongoing "high" that comes through participation and serving others, even if it meant they would "take my money". The more I gave - be it Landmark, the church, charities - the more I got back. The experience of giving humbled me, particularly when I knew that the people I give to have committed their _lives_ to transforming human kind, as God ordained it. Money is of no inherent value - its use toward a goal consistent with God's will is what makes it valuable.
And I may indeed be a narcissist too. Who knows.
(quote)the charismatic person has learnt to raise their own spirits by raising the spirits of other people.(unquote)
YESSS! That is it. Ever tell a good story and have the pleasure of friends and eavesdroppers hanging on your words?
And that lovely roar of laughter when you give the punch line? You feel great. Your audience feels great. Your emotions echo back and forth and the shared sum is even greater.
But a few need to get this effect all the time.
In addition to Dr Storr, another person who has examined the psychology of charisma is Len Oakes, an academic and clinical psychologist in Australia. He was able to interview 20 leaders of various sects and groups..and their followers. And he found that all of these charismatic leaders had narcissistic personality disorder--a sense of emptiness and a need to achieve a sense of self repair.
What these persons did was become 'avid students of social manipulation.'