The Century – and Country – of the Self

This is a documentary I stumbled upon in Youtube and after watching it, I thought that this explains much about the kind of world we have today. It is a must watch.

The documentary “The Century of the Self” by Adam Curtis shows how Freudian ideas were successfully exploited in the 20th century by corporations and businesses.  The basic premise was that Freud’s theories about inner desires can be exploited to alter mass behavior.  The key figure here was Edward Bernays, Freud’s nephew who was also a public relations executive. He recognized that advertisers can use messages that appeal to people’s subconscious, thereby influencing them to buy the products of the company or even favor the politician who is his client. Instead advertising the good traits of products, Bernays’ ads showed how personal vanity or inner desires can be fulfilled with the product. For example, having a certain cigarette brand makes you look sosyal, or having a car makes you look macho. In effect, Bernays mastered the most effective method of mind-control – making the masses do what he wants by pandering to them and giving them what they want… even if it is not really for their benefit.

Bernays made people want things that they did not need, and thus encouraged the widespread consumerism that marks today’s world. But his method was also effective in politics. It was used by the CIA to condition the American people to hate and overestimate the threat of communism in some countries it interfered in. It was used to propel Reagan to the presidency. And it was certainly used by our politicians here to propel themselves to power. Basically, the power of pandering to the subconscious desires of people allows one to control them like perfect slaves. Yet it is not all good. Note how the documentary attributed the Great Depression to the consumerism that came as an effect of Bernays’ projects.

Pardon the large number of Youtube posts here; I wanted to share the whole series. This is a fantastic documentary to watch and may change your view of the world as we know it… and it may change your life. 4 hours.

The Century Of The Self – Happiness Machines 1 of 6

The Century Of The Self – Happiness Machines 2 of 6

The Century Of The Self – Happiness Machines 3 of 6

The Century Of The Self – Happiness Machines 4 of 6

The Century Of The Self – Happiness Machines 5 of 6

The Century Of The Self – Happiness Machines 6 of 6

The Century Of The Self – The Engineering of Consent 1 of 6

The Century Of The Self – The Engineering of Consent 2 of 6

The Century Of The Self – The Engineering of Consent 3 of 6

The Century Of The Self – The Engineering of Consent 4 of 6

The Century Of The Self – The Engineering of Consent 5 of 6

The Century Of The Self – The Engineering of Consent 6 of 6

The Century Of The Self – There is a Policeman Inside our Head and He Must be Destroyed – 1 of 6

The Century Of The Self – There is a Policeman – 2 of 6

The Century Of The Self – There is a Policeman- 3 of 6

The Century Of The Self – There is a Policeman- 4 of 6

The Century Of The Self – There is a Policeman- 5 of 6

The Century Of The Self – There is a Policeman- 6 of 6

The Century of the Self – Eight People Sipping Wine – 1 of 6

The Century of the Self – Eight People Sipping Wine – 2 of 6

The Century of the Self – Eight People Sipping Wine – 3 of 6

The Century of the Self – Eight People Sipping Wine – 4 of 6

The Century of the Self – Eight People Sipping Wine – 5 of 6

The Century of the Self – Eight People Sipping Wine – 6 of 6

In my view, this is what created the world as we know it today – consumerist, emotionalist and irrational.

But one can apply this to how our country is today. The majority of Filipino people seem to think this way – looking to their own selfish desires instead of thinking rationally. How and why the people chose Noynoy Aquino instead of Richard Gordon, Nick Perlas or Gibo Teodoro, why Erap remains a strong contender in elections, why they keep voting celebrities who even have no qualifications for the position, and why our people are so consumerist and yet they remain poor… this may be one pertinent explanation. We may certainly be a Country of the Self.

About ChinoFern

Just another nobody on the Internet who believes even nobodies should have a voice... because the Internet provides that.
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3 Responses to The Century – and Country – of the Self

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Century – and Country – of the Self | Anti-Pinoy :) -- Topsy.com

  2. benign0 says:

    Despite all efforts of governments to attempt centrally-originated mind control over its citizens, it was really the collective genius of the marketing efforts of private enterprise that succeeded in this endeavour. You can see this in the way holidays and occasions that are bonanzas for retailers and producers of consumer goods and services enthrall people. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. become stressful occasions because everyone becomes compelled to buy a present for a love one to mark the occasion and signify one’s caring and thoughtfulness on that occasion (never mind the rest of the 365 days in the year where one can do the same) to the point where one risks being ostracised for not conforming to these traditions.

    • ChinoF says:

      Yep. Celebrations have certainly become stressful… and overly hyped. Not to mention the balikbayan boxes mentioned in my other article. We Filipinos really have a culture of consumption to the point that the ostracism extends to those who resist this consumerism. Thing is, when will the next recession thanks to overconsumption happen?

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