Holiday Special: Something That Changed My Perspective (#4)

This week, I’ve used the slowdown in business news as an opportunity to share some things 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 (I caught it in a limited art house run in the US). We’ve featured the first three segments, “Happiness Machines” and “The Engineering of Consent.” and “There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed” earlier in the week. Today’s offering is the final part, “Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering.”

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 Sigmund 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 Freud’s nephew and creator of the public relations industry Eddie Bernays called “the engineering of consent.”

The series is timely given the start of the US presidential primaries next week. From the BBC description of the final segment:

This episode explains how politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfil the inner desires of the self.

More important, it also shows how reliance on those techniques contributed to their move to the right.

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.

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  1. Anonymous


    I am not an unalloyed admirer of Curtis but I think people should watch his documentaries if only because they might give them pause for thought.

  2. Ed Wright

    After watching The Century of Self I felt the the BBC had made very similar points as MediaLens but in a way that allowed the perceptive viewer to come to the same conclusions without being told what to think. I really enjoyed it myself.

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