Throw Away Your Telescreen!

the truth is always subversive

The Century of the Self

Posted by charliemarks on January 12, 2008

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

Episode 1 – Happiness Machines

Episode 2 – The Engineering Of Consent

Episode 3 – There Is A Policeman Inside All Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed

Episode 4 – Eight People Sipping Wine In Kettering

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.

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4 Responses to “The Century of the Self”

  1. ihtys said

    yes we aew to self centered. SELF is from FLES h

  2. Dave On Fire said

    I haven’t had chance to watch this yet, but I remember it being the subject of a MediaLens alert and subsequent exchange between ML and AC:

    http://www.medialens.org/alerts/02/020403_de_Media_Century.html
    http://www.medialens.org/alerts/02/020618_update_BBC.html
    http://www.medialens.org/alerts/02/020626_Adam_Curtis.html

    Curtis is a highly perceptive filmmaker who raises topics few journalists dare broach. However, he does have a tendency to shoehorn history into his own narratives, and I think it’s probably worth “balancing” the documentary with a glance at these alerts.

  3. For sure, he’s a complete idealist (in the Marxian sense) but he touches upon some interesting historical events, and the series has some brilliant interviews…

  4. Dave On Fire said

    Oh yeah, I’m not dissing. I’ve posted The Power Of Nightmares in the past, and now I’ve watched the first part of TCOTS it does have some really fascinating insights.

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