The Century of the Self - BBC Production from 2002

 


The producer was Adam Curtis, who tells the story of how the work and teachings of Sigmund Freud, his daughter, Anna Freud, and in particular, his nephew, Edward Bernays influenced corporations and governments in their quest of controlling people’s behavior - influences that continues to this day.
This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the crowd in an age of mass democracy. -- Adam Curtis’ introduction to the first episode.
Bernays (1891 - 1995) is considered the “Father of modern marketing techniques”. If you know someone who has a degree in business, specifically in marketing, they’ve likely heard of him. He specialized in teaching companies and entire industries (in particular the tobacco industry) how to use media, the news, and political influences to push ideas into the minds of the masses. The concept of a “throwaway society” is born out of his teachings.
Curtis quotes banker Paul Mazur of Lehman Brothers as making the following statement during the 1930s
“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.”
A running theme throughout the production suggests an elite few desiring to control the “unwashed masses”, not just within the realms of consumerism, but labor, politics, and faith. The third segment shows how these techniques were used starting in the 1960s to expand the influences of religious cults and New Age fanaticism - again, using techniques to control the minds and behavior of large groups of people - concentrating on teaching how to find and satisfy the urges within individual’s inner self. Curtis tells the story of how a group of consultants met with the leadership of a fairly large and mostly conservative convent in southern California named, “Convent of the Immaculate Heart”. These consultants offered to teach the nuns how to improve their effectiveness in reaching those they ministered to. They stated they would teach communication skills and psychological techniques. Within a year, the convent closed - most of the nuns left the ministry to “rejoin” the outside world, and a significant number turned to radical lesbianism in the process.
While the production is certainly not a Christian one, I think there’s an extremely important (and likely unintentional on the part of the producers) Christian message. There is a strong satanic power used by The World using these techniques. We see it every day in our culture, and have for the most part become numb to its influences and power due to its pervasive presence. Curtis exposes an extremely powerful weapon used by the political, religious, and corporate interests I believe are in league with those who will one day, soon, stand with antichrist. I’ve recommended this video to other Christian leaders. Hopefully, you’ll find a strong message of warning that you can use in your own sphere, and pass it along to others.


Episode Link
Happiness Machines Part 1
The Engineering of Consent Part 2
There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed Part 3
Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering Part 4

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