The Century Of The Self

“This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.” —Adam Curtis’ introduction to the first episode.

Part 1-Happiness Machines:
Part one documents the story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays who invented ‘Public Relations’ in the 1920s, being the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

Part 2-The Engineering of Consent:
Part two explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany, and in response to this, they set out to find ways to control the masses so as to manage the ‘hidden enemy’ within the human mind.

Part 3-There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed:
In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas, which lead to the creation of a new political movement that sought to create ‘new people’, free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and politics. This episode shows how this idea rapidly developed in America through “self-help movements”, into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation.

Part 4-Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering:
This episode explains how politicians turned to the same techniques used by business in order to read and manipulate the inner desires of the masses. Both New Labor with Tony Blair and the Democrats led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group which had been invented by psychoanalysts in order to regain power. Both set out to mold their policies to manipulate people’s innermost desires and feelings, just as capitalism had learned to do with products.

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  • Woz

    Good stuff and legitimate enough. Consumer capitalism is the most dangerous form of social structure and it was fuelled via individualism, its a sad day when the majority of people do not know what makes them happy, and that is just what the multinational companies want!

  • Jackmeoff

    A must see for every college/univ. student…..in fact, for everyone with a level of English that can fully comprehend it. The director, Adam Curtis, is amazing, you must see his other works….BRILLIANT!! My favorite is this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/05/all_watched_over_by_machines_o.html

  • Clix (ክሊክስ)

    This was the red pill I was given by Adam Curtis without being given the choice of the blue pill.  Damn you Adam Curtis!  I have never enjoyed pop culture and a ‘good’ television show ever since!

  • Anonymous

    Its a dry and boring documentry, but one of the most intresting i have seen. A must see documentary.

  • verde’n fata

    Wow… great documentary, 10/10, but unfortunately the fact being that it was done by the BBc makes me hurl and thus no grade can be given, no conscious human can take this good doc without a gram of salt. 

    • http://twitter.com/1987yearzero Joshua

      wut?

  • Aherne

       Moss Aherne  ex Dublin /Ireland
     
                         As the final credits rolled and a great human being Louis Armstrong sang that rather sentimental ‘commercial ‘ditty-I thought it was always a wonderful world-as in nature, and the greater mysteries.
     Trouble has been-and evidently continues to be -the media /PR/advertising/marketing of a sucking (s word)society.
    Sigmund would possibly say -if still amongst us; ‘zats the oral phase for you; and look vat dat nephew has done with ye all’.
    I admire these men for their ingenuity…and berate myself too, for having been ‘suckered’ for a time-if not an age.
    Now where can I buy a book on self-actualisation. No!…the libraries! ‘Wait— I’ll write it…soon; current ladyfriend wishes are blurring my direction.   She needs to see this documentary.  Life is complicated! 
     
      Needn’t be so!.  I’ll watch this once more to ‘deprogram’
     
    https://mosaherne.wordpress.com/
      

  • Rob

    Dam removed by the user. It is on youtube though just google it