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Adam Curtis’ acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.

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?

The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund’s devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund’s great grandson, Matthew Freud.

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.

The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was 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.

Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticising the motorcar.

His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.

It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today’s world.

Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise – that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany. To stop it ever happening again they set out to find ways to control this hidden enemy within the human mind.

Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna, and his nephew, Edward Bernays, provided the centrepiece philosophy. The US government and big business used their ideas to develop techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people. But this was not a cynical exercise in manipulation. Those in power believed that the only way to make democracy work and create a stable society was to repress the savage barbarism that lurked just under the surface of normal American life.

In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas in America. They were inspired by the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, a pupil of Freud’s, who had turned against him and was hated by the Freud family. He believed that the inner self did not need to be repressed and controlled. It should be encouraged to express itself.

Out of this came a political movement that sought to create new beings free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and politics.

This programme shows how this rapidly developed in America through self-help movements like Werber Erhard’s Erhard Seminar Training – into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation.

But the American corporations soon realised that this new self was not a threat but their greatest opportunity. It was in their interest to encourage people to feel they were unique individuals and then sell them ways to express that individuality. To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.

Део први: Машине среће
Part I:Happiness Machines

Део други: Конструисање сагласности
Part II: The engineering of Consent

Део трећи: Има један полицајац у нашим главама – Он мора бити уништен
Part III: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed

Део четврти
Part IV:

Овај текст преузет је са званичног сајта за филм (BBC 4).

This text is quote from official Movie site (BBC 4).

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Edward Bernays

7 Comments

  1. dakle, treba uzeti omanji godisnji odmor za pregledati ovaj post🙂, i sad posto sam provela toliko vremena da ga bar delimicno pogledam ne zameri ako ovde umesto komentara ostavim ceo post:)(odgledala sam I i IV deo, druga dva kad uhvatim vremena).Jos je Ibzen tvrdio da je masa glupa, a kako je covek otkrivao sebe , tako je otkrio i da manipulise sobom i naravno drugima.Deluje jezivo kad se ovo sve pogleda, jer manje-vise svi sebe posmatramo upravo ovako kako je ovde prikazano, kao individue koje donose nekakve odluke i imaju moc kontrolisanja sopstvenog (ne retko i tudjeg) zivota.Retko ko se zapita sta je u svemu tome zaista nase, tj. ono sto smo mi, a sta je to sto „bi mi trebali da budemo“ da bismo bili „prihvaceni“ u ovom skupu individua sto se drustvom naziva.Pitanje stvarnih ljudskih potreba je zaista diskutabilno, kao i to sta to mi stvarno zelimo, a sta bi „trebali da zelimo“ po raznoraznim drustvenim kanonima.Kao drustvena bica, imamo potrebu za pripadanjem.Da bi smo „pripadali“ moramo biti koliko toliko prilagodjeni, inace bivamo izopsteni.Da ne bi smo bili izopsteni moramo (po trenutnim zakonitostima) biti :mladi, lepi,odredjenih propocija,da posedujemo materijalna blagostanja i tako dalje (govorim uopsteno).Da bismo bili vecno mladi lepi zgodni pametni bogati i sta-ti-ja-znam sta vec moramo koristiti prizvode koji nam to omogucavaju, voditi zdrav zivot na zatrovanoj planeti itd. Da bi smo to mogli moramo posedovati novac.Da bi smo posedovali novac moramo uciti, raditi i u nekim zemljama se na taj nacin i moze zaraditi isti. Kad se zaradi taj isti novac, on se naravno trosi na kupovinu svih onih proizvoda „koji su nam neophodni“ da bi smo mogli biti sve ono sto vec spomenuh…i tako.Krug.Konzumentski.A Ako nesto preostane tu je zabava. Treba se zabavljati. Imperativ srece.Mora se biti srecan. Ako nisi srecan, pa onda si naravno nesrecan.Krajnosti. Nema izmedju.Robovi zelja, koje sto je najgore, mozda uopste nisu nase.Ali, da skratim:)Ima jedna knjiga koja se zove „Blud rada“ od Mihaila Epstajna, i sad bih mogla navoditi mnoge stvari iz nje jer se ticu ove teme, ali navescu samo par.On predocava, kako je danasnje drustvo u stvari drustvo kondicionala. Po sistemi ako-onda.Potrebe jednih pretvaraju se u mogucnost drugih.Nasu potrebu iskazujemo nekom drugom ne kao nasu potrebu nego kao jednu od njegovih mogucnosti.(npr. umesto „donesite mi vodu“ recenica glasi „da li biste mogli da mi donesete vodu?“) Imperativ se na sve nacine izbegava i zamenjuje kondicionalom.On je to nazvao „alhemijom uctivosti“.Sadasnji sistemi kredita i osiguranja takodje su odlike drustva kondicionala.Mi zivimo od sredstava koje bi smo mogli zaraditi, placamo usluge koje bi nam mogle zatrebati, nasa imovina nije ono sto imamo nego ono sto bismo mogli imati ako bi smo…Nista ne postoji samo „onako“ nego sve klizi ivicom „ako“ i citava se stvarnostr sastoji od naizmenicnog smenjivanja mogucnosti“ (koje se retko ostvaruju).To je informaciono drustvo gde se ne proizvode i ne trose toliko predmeti fizicke realnosti, koliko informacije. kapital ustupa mesto informaciji kao baznom drustvenom resursu. Realnost je imenilac a mogucnosti su brojilac. I tako dalje, preterala sam definitivno…🙂

  2. Iskra, gde si bila celog mog zivota?😉

  3. paaa,malo kasnim.. pokvario mi se brod kod Alfa Centauri Proxima😉

  4. „Trebalo je da skrenes desno kod Albukerkija…“ 😉

  5. hahahhahahha🙂 neces verovati, prvo sam htela napisati da sam skrenula levo od Albukerkija i zalutala…:)

  6. znaci lavirint?

  7. Znaci znaci. Onako, Etotako. 😉


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