This is my first post so I hope I am not doing this wrong. Anyway, I feel like this word is on the tip of my tongue, yadda-yadda-yadda, ok, enough about me.
I am writing about the nature of power throughout history and I am looking for the word that best describes either (1) the human characteristic or gift of, or the talent or power to, be able to compel people to do their bidding under the auspices of a goal or purpose that is purported to be larger than themselves (“higher”) or (2) the name of such a person who possesses the aforementioned characteristics.
This of course brings up historical paradigms of religion, political movements, or even that inexplicable cult of personality, but words like charismatic, prophet, torch-bearer, visionary, mantle, etc... feel like they fall flat because they are not strong enough or the implications of reverence could either be beatific or simply empty praise. Plus, these are tired words.
On the other hand, words like demogague, master, supremo are blunt and imply either a clearly a negative power or one that exists in a system of oprression or class by the nature of the title itself. Furthermore, they really don’t necessarily convey that the person holding this title posses this property or is just a pretender. The word I seek is about the real thing, because results matter.
It’s a word to describe the powers of (mostly) men throughout history. Some clear examples of dead (or possibly undead) people, you have Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Jim Jones, and of course legions of legendary military commanders both the winners and losers, so obviously we are talking the gamut of what could be considered “good” or “evil”, “successful” or “failures”. However, this word transcends value judgements because the property does not beget the goals of its possessor. It just “is”. It is that wonderful or terrible quality that could compel a person to acts of great self-sacrifice, duty, cruelty, or insanity. Or to invade Poland.
I hope that someone reading this is thinking “oh, you mean [BLURGH]” and I will just smack the side of my skull and say “Yes! Why couldn’t I remember that?” Or I might be dreaming and there simply is not a lexical handle for what I am thinking of. I am fairly certain this property exists based on plenty of evidence, so there has to be a word for it, right?
One space donut to the person who can think of it. Thanks!