I’ve personally seen, heard and read some shocking behavior and expression that I see as evidence of a cult of personality around some “master” whose students follow him with totally blind adulation. The blind worship almost always goes beyond appreciation for great skills to extend to some kind of attributed leadership of virtue, heroism, or more. Shouldn’t the originally Buddhist based arts help one to let go of attachments of all kinds? Shouldn’t the Daoist based arts help people to be “one with the Dao”, “to follow Dao and Dao alone”, rather than become a blind follower of a cult of personality? Even in post-monarchic, democratic, free-thinking societies, this kind of weird psychology and sociology occurs. There must be some deep fault in human psychology that comes from some ancient need to follow the alpha male that is not totally overridden by free-thinking, liberal education, democratic ideals, freedom of the press and so on. How stupid can people be?

Here is an excerpt on cults of personality from the Wikipedia entry:

A cult of personality or personality cult arises when a country’s leader uses mass media to create a heroic public image through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are often found in dictatorships but can be found in some democracies as well.

A cult of personality is similar to general hero worship except that it is created specifically for political leaders. However, the term may be applied by analogy to refer to adulation of non-political leaders.

Background

Throughout history, monarchs were almost always held in enormous reverence. Through the principle of the divine right of kings, rulers were said to hold office by the will of God. Imperial China (see Mandate of Heaven), ancient Egypt, Japan, the Inca, the Aztecs, and the Roman Empire (see imperial cult) are especially noted for redefining monarchs as god-kings.

The resurgence of ancient Greek democratic ideas in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries made it increasingly difficult for monarchs to preserve this aura. However, the subsequent development of photography, sound recording, film and mass production, as well as public education and techniques used in commercial advertising, enabled political leaders to project a positive image like never before. It was with these circumstances in the 20th century that the best-known personality cults arose.

Read more here. Isn’t Wikipedia great?

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