The Century of Self

From the BBC documentary” The Century of 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.

Episode One of the series on google video (didn’t know that was still around!).

“Sigmund Feud’s cousin… Edward Berneys was the first person to take Freud’s ideas about human beings and use them to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations, for the first time, how they could make people want things they didn’t need by linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.”

“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.” — Paul Mazur (Lehman Bros, ca.1930)

Wikipedia on Edward Bernays.


One comment

  1. Oh, wow… it is disturbing to even study marketing and realize that it is, in reality, based on behavioral psychology; Freud’s theories and Skinner’s conditioning, for example. “The all-consuming self that has come to dominate our world today.” America’s culture is one of independence (self) as opposed to Asian, Hispanic, Hawaiian… and other cultures that are collective in nature (thinking of others).

    It was sobering to hear about efforts to interest women in smoking… “Torches of freedom.” Manipulating the unconscious was what the marketers picked up (irrational emotions). Connection of rational (torches of freedom) with the emotions of power and independence.

    It has been my experience that not having a TV helps avoid the marketing; but it takes God to get rid of the selfishness that drives… .

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