By Charles Lindholm
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The best known of these two is Le Bon, a liberal journalist and racial theorist whose work The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind became an instant classic, inspiring much of modern social psychology, while also heavily influencing the Chicago School of sociology. More striking, however, was the importance of his theory of leadership for the actual practice of politics. Roosevelt met him, de Gaulle cited him, and Hitler has been called Le Bon's best student. Tarde was a less well-known figure, but his influence has been no less far reaching.
They are strengthened and expanded, according to Durkheim, because as "each one is borne along by the rest" in impassioned collective celebration they all feel themselves to be a part of the larger truth of the timeless and potent community, which stands above the individual's limitations of mortality, self-interest, and personal weakness (Durkheim 1982: 56). "Men are more confident because they feel themselves stronger; and they really are stronger, because forces which were languishing are now reawakened in the consciousness" (Durkheim 1965: 387).
Furthermore, every such compulsive stimulus also, by definition, lays claim to universality, and imitation only ceases when countered by a competing invention or idea, or by some natural constraint. So a potent charismatic relation implies a pressure toward expansion and intolerance; and the degree of commitment of the followers is in direct proportion to the intensity of the stimulus offered by the inspiring leader. All society is said to begin with this magical and compelling assertion of will, which derives its strength from the arousing figure's expressive emotionality and his ability to convey excitement, power and absolute belief: "Is it possible to deny that volition, together with emotion and conviction, is the most contagious of psychological states?
Charisma by Charles Lindholm