Messiahs, Narcissists & Cannibals: A Question of Redemption

by LJ Frank

In his work The Messiah, James H Charlesworth, Editor, views the term, and title “Messiah” as found in the Hebrew Bible as referring to a present political and religious leader appointed by God. (The word “Messiah” was invented by men to serve, among other things as an inspiration and applied to kings, priests, and prophets; the historical person Jesus does not fit that designed role nor did he claim such…that title occurred in later scripts/exegetics and not part of the original “Quelle” or source material).

A narcissist is a solipsist (the idea that only one’s mind is certain to exist) who experiences others and the world as existing solely for them. Irvin D. Yalom, MD, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, Third Edition.

O, what a world of profit and delight…Of power, of honour, of omnipotence… Is promis’d to the studious artisan!     Christopher Marlowe, The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus

What is it in the human mind that would account for a person to identify him or herself as a “messiah” or anointed one? What is in human genetics that triggers the thought and emotional process preceding the objective of becoming a messiah? Is it a complex lust for power to save people from themself or offer redemption or reason for existence?  What are the external conditions that serve as a catalyst to the internal wiring of the person?

Genetics. There’s something within the human cell that triggers consciousness and conscience – awareness – but what is the precursor of awareness?   See, The Sentient Cell: The Cellular Foundations of Consciousness by  Arthur S. Reber (Author), Frantisek Baluska (Author), William Miller  (Author).

Dating back to the Paleolithic age (Old Stone Age), a human skull was discovered that displayed indentations encircling the top of the skull as in a ritualistic crucifixion. Sacrifice? Why? Who was that person… did that person commit an act that was at odds with his or her tribe or did it involve magic or something more provocative?  Magic throughout history has played a decisive and at times divisive role in people’s lives. And rulers employed perceived magic to retain control of people.

In his work on Shamans, Sorcerers and Saints, Archaeologist Brian Hayward, traces primitive ritualistic and magical practices, as one example, humans devoured their enemies by eating their bodies and brains, not for food, but rather to consume their souls for the purpose of enhancing their own spirit and as such it became a supernatural benefit – a form of communion (the body and blood) as if there was magic to such a ritual in order to gain greater strength. Waa it a method of an anointing style ritual? Can the threads of the messianic mind be found in the desire to devour one’s competition and for self-empowerment? Do such rituals include a desire for redemption?   

Bias for one’s tribe affects the development of the mind…. we learn from our environment and experience within that environment…. it’s the ancestral experience. Our genes learn and adapt or die sooner than wished. Experience offers different insights as to the world around us. Good and evil may appear to be relative in the genetic world (See Hamlet’s comment to his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, “nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so). Poetic but accurate? No.

And…as two friends of mine, a philosopher and a psychiatrist suggest– isn’t what’s being discussed about the people who have these messianic complexes—actually about narcissism— (a personality disorder)—underlining such complexes.  The mystery is why anyone would fall for someone’s messianic claims.  This is not just a psychological but a social phenomenon. As a purported messiah gains followers, others become attracted. That still others want to kill self-proclaimed messiah’s is not at all mysterious, since such people with their followers threaten the existing power structure.  The mystery, again, is why people would follow these narcissists who spin ridiculous tales, are obviously unfit for any position of authority, and very often lead their naïve followers to their deaths in suicidal cults.

The portrait of an historical messiah (savior) is never quite accurate. The artist never really captures the mind and the soul…only the outer skin, the surface, the flesh, the face – all such external characteristics may be misleading as are the actual words, whether repeated or not. Historically, messiah’s words were redacted and interpreted.  

Today we see disarming redactions in real time with authoritarians spouting repetitious disinformation with messianic (narcissistic zeal) complexes – the lust for power and greed for more wealth at the cost of those “true believer” followers. Information is redacted to suit a cause – the authoritarian’s cause.

What happens to our consciousness and conscience when they are unable to distinguish between the truth and a lie?

A genetic link appears to exist between the ancient shamanistic and cannibalistic quality of devouring one’s competition or enemy to make one stronger, and even become godlike – as in being anointed or appointed.

Knowledge calculated to disinform, and mislead through repetitive lies – words, slogans, and propaganda, whets the appetite to devour the redemptive nature of the truth