The Century of the Self

"The Century of the Self is an award-winning British television documentary series by Adam Curtis. It focuses on how the work of Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have analyzed,‭ dealt with, and controlled ‬people."

This is essential viewing to understand how we are governed (controlled).

Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, was asked by the US government to help "sell" America's entry into the first world war. He promoted the message that America was entering the war to spread freedom and democracy, a message repeated to justify wars ever since, most recently in the Middle East.

In the early 20th century, there was a taboo on women smoking cigarettes which were regarded as a male domain. Bernays was asked by a tobacco corporation to help capture the other half of the potential market for cigarettes that the taboo denied them. Using the ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays persuaded women that cigarettes are a penile symbol of masculine power and allied the practice of smoking to the emancipatory struggle for women's equality through the suffragette movement. Women smoking quickly became acceptable and big tobacco was very grateful.

Bernays used these techniques to turn people from citizens to "consumers".

Paul Mazur, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in the 1930s, declared "We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. ....Man's desires must overshadow his needs".

And of course governments use these techniques to "sell" domestic policies and wars of aggression.

Our world view has been choreographed through concentrated media. The series explains how our decisions are not based on rational thought but appeals to emotion and base instincts.

The original link to the series has been taken down. You can get to it here:

Hat tip to George for this

Sigmund Freud was concerned with psychological study of individuals. Bernays used his uncle's ideas to understand and control the psychology of the masses on behalf of governments and corporations. The world view presented in the media from both left and right has been carefully constructed to achieve particular aims. The official narrative of 9/11 isn't challenged on the basis of rational thought at either end of the political spectrum; it is socially unacceptable to broach the subject in polite company, much like man-made climate change scepticism. How clever is that?


0 #3 Clive Menzies 2014-09-28 10:17
Quoting Bill Kruse:
Some of this is greed in action but a lot of it, the incessant need for growth, is a direct consequence of the banking system where we always have to put back in more than we've taken out.
Agreed Bill, this is covered in

But nonetheless, conditioning for compliance with the system is essential or people would realise how they are being manipulated. All the incentives act to reinforce people's conditioned world view and subscribed to the economic paradigm which guarantees inequality, conflict and environmental destruction.
0 #2 Bill Kruse 2014-09-28 09:53
Some of this is greed in action but a lot of it, the incessant need for growth, is a direct consequence of the banking system where we always have to put back in more than we've taken out.
0 #1 Arvind Parmessur 2013-05-31 13:17
This is a timely reminder as to how our daily life is under the "control" of the multinationals. This "mind-control" is further consolidated by having access in Policy making through the corruption of the large majority our elected politicians.
Amongst a range of books about the use of psychology to manage our behaviour, Vance Packard book `The Hidden Persuaders',det ailed how behavioural scientists recruited by the American advertising industry were increasingly using psychological techniques to increase sales.
Currently there is the Nudge Unit at 10 Downing St designing policies and implementing ideas to control our behaviour.

I am not sure whether I am under their influence. Perhaps I am to some extent!!

Please register to post comments