Stephen Diamond, writes in Psychology Today (Sept. 29, 2014), about Messiah Syndrome and the psychology of terrorists.
We all have a “messiah complex” dwelling deep within. But not everyone becomes completely possessed and grandiosely inflated by it. The desire to redeem and “save the world”, when kept in check, can be a very positive force in life, motivating us to do good deeds and to leave the world a better place – if only infinitesimally – than when we came into it.
But when one has been chronically frustrated in realising this positive, creative potentiality, it remains stillborn in the unconscious, dissociated from the personality, rendering them highly susceptible to possession by the messiah complex. This is especially true when the sense of self has been underdeveloped or weakened due to trauma and other early narcissistic wounding.
What is the messiah complex?
It’s a complex psychological state when a person believes that he or she is a saviour today or will be in the near future. It is a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are destined to be the saviour (otherwise called Christ or saviour complex).
While the term ‘messiah complex’ is not addressed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the symptoms of people with a ‘messiah complex’ resemble those found in individuals who have grandiose delusions or delusions of grandeur. This form of delusional belief is more commonly seen in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
What is true is that we all have some form or degree of messianic complexes. Because idealism should be a path normal people would take.
Vincent van Gogh even in his “abnormal state of mind” puts it well
Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.
We live at a time where in spite (or despite) using advances in digital technology to propagate truth, our world is more confused. Nonsense is being elevated on a pedestal. Personal gains and agenda are without a conscience any more. And there will be those who with delusions of grandeur will promise the gullible a better world. Not that it’s bad, but it can be wrong when it is impossible to give the sun and stars.
What better way to create a following than the make a situation as dire and as unsustainable as possible, and have some looney bin lead you all to hell?
Remember, all the people with messianic complexes are delusional. And there is no greater fool than the fool that is fooled by a fool.