This week, I’ve used the slowdown in business news as an opportunity to share some things I have come across that affected how I view the world.
I can’t recommend strongly enough that you watch the award-winning 2002 BBC documentary, The Century of the Self, by Adam Curtis. The series comes in four segments; we’ve featured the first two earlier this week, “Happiness Machines” and “The Engineering of Consent.”
Curtis said, “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.” It focuses on how Freud’s ideas were used by business and government, far more deliberately and extensively than one might imagine, during the 20th century to achieve what Curtis calls “the engineering of consent.” From the BBC’s description:
To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?…..
Sigmund Freud’s work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society’s belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man’s ultimate goal.
Today’s offering is “There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed.” Although I found all the segments eye-opening, this one, which (among other things) explains how some of the social ideas coming out of the idealistic 1960s were co-opted by Reagan and Thatcher, was particularly illuminating.
I encourage you to watch a few minutes here, and then go over to Google Video, since you will see it in a larger scale format there.
Click here to view it at Google Video.