I’ve no desire to contribute to the oceans of ink already wasted on this gross oversimplification except to say this:
They got it wrong.
Only masochists derive pleasure from being mistreated. What men and women crave isn’t abuse; it’s excitement, mystery, an element of danger. Call it charm, animal magnetism, allure, it’s all the same: few things are more seductive than charisma.
Taken from the Greek word kharisma meaning “divine gift,” the greatest seducers of all time were all powerful charismatics. Charismatic people have that certain something, the “je ne sais quois.” They’re supremely confident, seemingly unfazed by mundane concerns.They radiate personal power, the most potent aphrodisiac. They tend to be great orators, with the ability to enthrall an audience of one or thousands with equally casual ease. In the presence of the charismatic person we become transfixed in the (mostly vain) hope that we might discover a fraction of their magnificence reflected in ourselves.
Unfortunately the most oft repeated mistake in all history is to equate beauty with goodness. Charisma does not require a moral compass. Power without moral rectitude is putting the proverbial gun in the baby’s hands: the problem isn’t the gun. In a best case scenario, extreme charisma removed from strong character creates a grade-A douche-bag. In a worst case scenario you have the worst despots in all history.
Strangely enough, the word “moral” has gotten a bad reputation. The cultural range for what one person considers good and another bad is vast. In order to avoid arguments about what constitutes morality, for the sake of argument we will define character as this: when gifted with the ability to act with impunity, that which one does when not being observed, and when there is no possibility of punishment or reward.
Character adheres to a code of ethics. It’s reliable. It values and engenders trust. Character shows up, calls back, keeps promises. In short, character is bland, boring, unsexy.
This is problematic. Charisma makes us swoon but might lead us to disaster. Character is steadfast and honorable but wooden, and dull. How do we resolve this?
With Phi Φ.
Ratios can be defined as the proportion of one thing to another; it’s knowing how much Jack Daniels to add to a Coke to have just the right balance of sweetness and potency. Around 300 B.C. the mathematician Euclid made the first definition of what would come to be known as “the Divine Proportion.” More than a millennium would pass before Leonardo Fibonacci went to study geometry in North Africa as a child. Probably best known for his (still) leaning tower, his return to Italy introduced both the concept of Arabic numerals and The Golden Ratio to the west.
An irrational number (along with it’s more famous cousin, π pi) if you think you’re unfamiliar with the concept of phi, you’re mistaken. The equation which represents perfect symmetry is everywhere you look, if you’re looking. Logarhythmic spirals manifest in the shell of a nautilus, the overlap of rose petals, the pattern of sunflowers and pine cones. From the circling of a hawk descending upon its prey to the arms of hurricanes and even galaxies, nature demonstrates its affection for the number 1.618. From the Pyramids to the Pantheon, architects have appreciated the proportion of perfect aesthetics. It’s in the drawings of Leonardo DaVinci, the sculpture of Michaelangelo, the paintings of Salvatore Dali, the symphonies of Sebastian Bach. Even concepts of human beauty, both of face and body, can be traced to this calculation.
So why not apply the concept of ideal proportions to a lover?
When set upon a base of character, charisma provides the stage to perform its seduction over and over. The ability to identify these qualities and their relative proportion to each other is key, not just in seduction but in securing healthy, stable, sustainable relationships. The capacity for character and charisma exists in each of us. Instead of simply searching for an ideal mate, begin by adjusting the sliding scale in yourself to ideal proportions.
Souls of a like nature seek each other out, so if you truly want to find The One, start by becoming The One.
© Jackie Summers 2011