Christopher DeGroot writes:
There is a simple reason for such phenomena: Human beings are powerfully attracted to anyone or anything that seems greater than themselves. There is in human psychology a deep animal instinct of veneration and idolatry; into this has gone all our history, all our terrible struggle to survive and endure. Thus many people naturally take to flattery and are not at all troubled by it, their pride being no hindrance to sucking up to others. And this instinct is universal among classes and peoples. (…)
For, regardless of age, gender, race, or class, there is in human beings an unconscious need to venerate someone or something. Different people realize it through different forms. For some, it’s a picture or an autograph. For others, it’s small talk with an eminent or famous person, to be related to others time and again. The essential thing is that the idolaters shall have idols.
The instinct to worship, to bow down to, is overlooked (or even unacknowledged) in the vast majority of attempts to diagnose our behaviour and our ills.