This is a really interesting subject actually. Apparently a messiah is a heroic leader or saviour king who will rescue the people from their hardship, and has the following qualities:
- Great political leader
- Well-versed in and observant of the law
- Charismatic and inspirational
- Great military figure
- Great and righteous judge
- Fully normal human being.
Can you imagine such a person? I’m pretty sure that one doesn’t exist right now. You only have to look at the state of politics of any nation in the world and check whether the leader of their government is any of these things and you will find that they generally fall down on one or two of the criteria.
It’d be nice, though.
Put your writerly mind to work now and imagine an entire people (and I mean everyone) united under one leader – someone who has the support of all the people of all the nations. Could you describe such a person?
I would probably start with the charisma. What would it be like if someone had sufficient charisma t0 get everyone to like them? I’m just trying to think now who this messiah would come into contact with as they grew up: parents, family, friends of the family, other toddlers at playschool, teachers, babysitters, shopkeepers, bus drivers, people in the street, other kids at school (including bullies, geeks, goths, jocks, loners etc.), neighbours and on and on into adulthood.
Imagine every single person that they come into any contact with, whether in person, by phone, over the internet, in print or over the radio; imagine all of them loving this nascent leader unconditionally, without any trace of jealousy, back-biting, resentment, hatred or any form or negativity.
What would that person have to be like in order for this to happen? Sure, the charisma would be the starting point, but what else? I guess this is where the other qualities come in. For this to work, you’d need to have someone who absolutely knows the difference between right and wrong (law) and who follows this to the letter.
For this to happen though, there has to exist such a thing as ‘an absolute state of rightness’ – something that would apply to everyone. Is this possible? Could you, as a writer, imagine this existing in today’s world, or would you need to make up a totally fictional world in order for this to be so? I guess this is where your writing skills, imagination and talent will come into play.
Just about all the other attributes of a messiah, as listed above, would be needed too, and I was thinking that all these qualities would have a transformative effect on everyone our hero comes into contact with. Each person would have to go through some kind of conversion from the hating, backbiting, envious person they were, to the loving, accepting and … worshipping (?) person that they would necessarily become.
I’m thinking now of what it would feel like if I was loved, accepted and worshipped by everyone I met. Would I notice the difference between me and other people? Would I feel any sort of pressure or performance anxiety? Would I ever doubt myself? I’m thinking that if I was the true messiah, then, actually I would feel quite normal. Whatever effects I would have, on the people I meet, would be the same effects as I would have been having on them since birth, and so the whole shebang would just come natural to me.
So how long would it take for me to transform the entire world to goodness? I’m remembering something called Six Degrees of Separation now – which basically says that all of the friends of my friends of my friends (six times) would encompass the whole of humanity. So on this basis – we’re looking at world transformation well within a lifetime, for sure.
But then – what about all these people? Golden ages usually have a smaller population than the seven and a half billion we have right now. So could a world transformation come about without an apocalyptic event like a nuclear catastrophe or a giant meteorite strike? I read somewhere that if we all lived like Indians then we would need about 40% of the world’s resources, but if we lived like North Americans then 250% of Earth’s assets would be required. So I guess the answer is yes – we could do it. Especially if we were all transformed into nice people that had no need for retail therapy to make us happy.
So – in my head, as a writer – all it would take to save us all, and lead the entire world from hardship to heaven, is one sufficiently enlightened and charismatic leader. Yay!
But would it make a good novel? I would say that the answer to this would be no. People seem to love to read about struggle and pain. If something comes too easy, then they tend to lose interest. If a saviour were to come, and there was no opposition to his or her progress, then it would be … well – pretty boring really!
But these are just my thoughts on the coming of a messiah for us all – what do you think?