The Century of the Self

The Century of the Self

2002, Psychology  -   234 Comments
Ratings: 8.57/10 from 1127 users.

The legacy of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud informs the lives of people throughout the world even to this day, though it's a phenomenon to which most are unaware. The Century of the Self, written and produced by Adam Curtis, is an exhaustive examination of his theories on human desire, and how they're applied to platforms such as advertising, consumerism and politics. This four-hour odyssey is divided into four distinct segments.

Happiness Machines. The first episode concerns Edward Bernays, Freud's nephew and one of the most influential pioneers in public relations. Appealing to what his uncle believed were the aggressive and prurient forces hidden inside of all mankind, Bernays manipulated these inner desires to promote group thinking - first in drumming up the patriotic support of U.S. citizens during World War I and later in the realm of advertising.

The Engineering of Consent. Perhaps the darkest illustration of Freud's philosophy can be found in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. The film's second segment recounts the efforts of Bernays and Freud's daughter Anna, who collaborated alongside the American government to devise methods for suppressing the barbaric potential of the human mind. It was only through these activities, the government believed, that a harmonious democracy would be possible.

There is a Policeman Inside All of Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed. Segment three takes place during a vastly different period of American history: the 1960s. As dissenters of Freud began to come to prominence, so too did a younger generation who were determined to fully embrace and flaunt their inner desires. Following on their lead, corporations and their advertisers morphed their message from one of conformity to a celebration of the individual. In so doing, they showed that the tenants of Freud's theories could be successfully manipulated regardless of the temperature of the times.

Eight People Sipping Wine In Kettering. The final section takes us full throttle into the universe of politics. During the 1990s, in a desperate measure to regain the White House, the Democratic Party enlisted the assistance of Matthew Freud, a public relations expert and the great-grandson of Sigmund. With a determined reliance on focus groups, the party recalibrated their campaigns to fulfill the innermost desires of the American people. Shortly thereafter, Bill Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States.

Whether these tactics were employed for reasons of nobility or perversion is for viewers to decide. Regardless, The Century of the Self unlocks many essential human truths; chiefly, our vulnerability to influence and our need to be controlled.

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234 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. So many regular sincere people in America made him (Edward Bernays) rich and he called them "stupid." So sad. So unfair.

  2. The sh*ts really hitting the fan now with Covid 19.
    Scum !

  3. Those in power have used fraud theories to try and control the dangerous crowds of people and also they way they think and live everyday. There was once a dangerous intention of feelings. That made a program for peace of the world. If you could use propaganda for war you can use it for peace. There is a lot going on in decision making. Persuade women to smoke was an experiment since women don't do it much but cigarettes was a symbol of male power, so some called this "torches of freedom". If a woman smoked it made her powerful and independent. Smoking for women was really irrational but made them feel more independent. Transport the way Americans thought about products. People must be trained to desire new things. Man desire must overseek his needs. Some people are amazed n how motivated the human mind is made. Some people have hidden characters. Sometimes people have to express themselves. Humans are believed to make rational decisions on a rapid basis. Some humans rethink democracy. Mass mind is unrational. People not driven by their mind but their spinal cords. When thinking about what goes through the human mind on a daily basis would really amaze many people the mind is very unique.

  4. Very interesting (and somewhat disturbing) documentary. I'm curious about the follow on 15 years later that analyzes how these psychological approaches have continued to influence modern day society whereas political and corporate leadership in America and Britain (i.e. Brexit, Trump, etc.) are concerned.

  5. shame he couldn't analyze his peado grand son

    1. Psychology isn't a perfect science. Psychology is also one of the youngest sciences today.

  6. Interesting documentary but definitely told from a pro-communist point of view. Needs to put in proper context. Like much of cultural marxism, the film does an amazing job of cloaking its intentions.

    1. Why are you so scared of critiques of Capitalism?

    2. Projecting ur own beliefs. No communism pushed. A mind with attachments to anything isn’t a free mind.

      Be fluid. In a world as distorted as this, it’s the only way to be.

    3. You do realize that your "Communist" type governments do the same tactics highlighted in this documentary? This isn't Capitalism versus Communism; this documentary merely shows how one can manipulate human desires to build consent to an agenda in which you feed desired treats to your constituency while continuing the status quo of building your own power.

    4. Cultural Marxism is just another meaningless invented social construct that appeals to brainwashed infantile westerners, as it seeks to lay the blame and degeneration of a sick social order that was never sustainable from the outset, elsewhere that is drowning in its own filth.....digging its own grave

      A predatory,dog eat dog,society not fit for pigs, founded upon genocidal wars of colonial occupation, raping the land and enslaving millions by "white Christian European colonial barbarians", who claimed to be civilizing the savages. These occupation became too costly to maintain and as opposition to British rule led to the loosing of the colonial noose, it was the US that emerged as the new world hegemon (and was desperate to get into the war to exert its military might in achieving this position) that picked up the slack where the British left off.

      As colonial occupations were expensive and would conflict with the fraud of the US miltary being the world's police promoting freedom and democracy, they adopted the policy of imperialism, where by governments are over thrown by direct but clandestine operations or the support of proxy wars by forces subservient to the dictates of US imperialsm, which means opening up their resources and people for unfettered explotation by comprador lackey's like Suharto, the Shar of Iran and Pinochet

      The "the third world" are not impoverished emerging countries, they are resources rich countries racked by poverty and famine because of western despotism. For every dollar in aide that Africa receives, $25 is owed to the IMF. All African borders, with theexception of Ethiopa and one other that I cannot recall, were drawn up by Europeans in 1910 at the Berlin conference to decidewho would get to plunder where. King Leopold of Belium alone was responsible for the torture and murder of 10 million in the Beligium Congo....that is half the population.

      It is an undesputed fact that the US has been behind at least 40 actionss that have toppled legal governmnets to put in compliant puppets with a conservative cost of 21 to 30 million deaths. Over4 million are dead in the Middle East alone since the first gulf war, imperialist wars of genocide.The west would have collpased in aheart beat if not for western despotism .

      BTW every single attempt at socialism wasimmweditaely attacked and smashed by the west

      Russia invaded in 1918. 10 milion doe from framine as aresult, 200,000 Bolsheviks killed and the psychopath Stalin seized power murdering 900,000 Marxist/sociliat in the 37/38 purges. Revolutionsin Germany,Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy were all put down and resulted in the rise of fascism in every case.

      Indonesian workers seized power in 1965.The American govermnet, with Australia's assistance, worked with indonesian miltary in targetting learders....with the result of 700,000 deaths and the instalment of Suharto.This is the tip of the iceberg

      We are using 10 barrels of oil for every one we find and oil production is in a permanent decline, meaning this crisis is not a crisis, it is a collapse of a system based on a finite resource that is now running out.

      Its straight forward, irrevocable science

    5. Anybody who'd call this film "pro-communist" has obviously fallen prey to the very techniques it describes. Can you say "brainwashed?"

  7. And so I can never be certain I actually know anything.

  8. show this in the schools young minds need to see this before the system (schools) totally embed their control systems upon them ,, as sally says ,essential

  9. The revolution is : If you have two t shirts and your neighbor has zero t shirts, give him one t shirt!

  10. Someone asked for solutions. I have them. Not me, but Solomon (King of ancient Israel, son of King David.) Solomon fell away at the end of his life, but before that, he passed on all his wisdom to us. Although he failed to serve God fully until the bitter end, he did serve God for much of his life. I will also have you know that I am not a christian or religious person. Now, even someone as wise as Solomon, the likes of whom never was before, nor would anyone as wise come after, concluded that this was the answer(solution): 1. Fear God 2. Keep His commandments 3. Enjoy: (a)your food (b) your drink (c)your work (d) your spouse ( I guess if you have one, but I don't think its necessary)

    Solomon was the ruler of the Holy nation, and had grandiose palaces and built magnificent gardens. He was wise enough to recognize that it was all vanity.
    So, if you want all the answers to the great mysteries of the universe (now I say this with love towards you, ) it is: Fear God, do what He says, and enjoy your food and drink, have a cheerful heart as you labor. If we all did this, we would have an ideal society. Thankfully, the Son of God is coming back in the sky to take over here and will rule the world with a rod of iron. Even the people whose heart it is to 1. Spurn God 2. Disobey Him 3. Have a crabby attitude and be unappreciative, will have to go along. Genuine virtue will be imposed worldwide muahahaahaaaa! Thing is: God is good and only aims to take into eternity those who take on His ways from the heart. He's so good, He gave us a free will. So we are free to be crabby and disobedient and lovers of sin if we want to, but God is not going to let people like that ruin paradise for everybody else throughout eternity. They might all be stuck together somewhere. Friends, let us not be there for all time. : )

    1. Jesus was infinitely wiser than Solomon

    2. "I will also have you know that I am not a christian or religious person"
      Yes, your comment oozes with a lack of devotion to an overarching deity.
      I *am* religious and still think what you said was a load of hyper-religious crock

    3. These ideas of prophets, we merely personify and build narratives around cumulative ideas; credit is never yielded to all around you that build you up. A human strength yet a flaw as we become deluded in such personifications/narratives.

  11. I feel violated and not in a good way . A healthy, inquisitive mind is a marvelous thing along with the energy to be heard. I grew up believing in truth, justice ,and the American way. It's hard to lose Santa twice. This is an excellent documentary, a truly "must see" maybe not perfect, but enlightening. ALL people deserve enough respect not to be manipulated, lied to, and pigeon holed into subservient existence (consumerism) by the people they grew up trusting. I don't mean to suggest people are stupid or naive, but too trusting. I believe the German people were heavily manipulated and worn out from their previous generation's mistakes, WW1 and economic disaster and lazy. Maybe apathetic is a better word. It seems the community around where I live votes or doesn't vote on command. It is predictable, they trust they're leaders not to mistake the wrong candidate. I'm grateful for what education I did receive and retain. And being able to get good, informative information for critical thinking. trying to balance the skeptic and the cynic. Thanks to all you who contribute a thought.

    1. Mises - Human Action (Fourth Revised Edition) - Page 876

      5. General Education and Economics

      In countries which are not harassed by struggles between various linguistic groups public education can work if it is limited to reading, writing, and arithmetic. With bright children it is even possible to add elementary notions of geometry, the natural sciences, and the valid laws of the country. But as soon as one wants to go farther, serious difficulties appear. Teaching at the elementary level necessarily turns into indoctrination. It is not feasible to represent to adolescents all the aspects of a problem and to let them choose between dissenting views. It is no less impossible to find teachers who could hand down opinions of which they themselves disapprove in such a way as to satisfy those who hold these opinions. The party that operates the schools is in a position to propagandize its tenets and to disparage those of other parties.

  12. What happened to the videos? . It all shows that "sorry, this video does not exit". Is this restriction country dependent or removed entirely due to some other reason?

  13. Very interesting :) There is also a good book written by Robert B. Cialdini (influence). which some of you may find interesting. Also The four horsemen documentary is the business too.

  14. Part 3 is missing again.

  15. For those watching this great series and wanting to know if the are any solutions to the mess we are in, look up the life works of Jacque Fresco, Peter Joseph and Gabor Maté. They are a great jump-start into new ways of thinking about what it means to be a human on planet Earth. ~Cheers to the challenge of changing for the better.

  16. so in essence, we're not really informed citizens in a healthy democracy; we've all been moulded into obedient consumer droids, selfish wage slaves, consumptive craphounds, lobotimized & atomized, at the service of a greedy elite.

    1. Now you’ve got it.

  17. Most important documentary in history which should be required viewing in order to participate as an informed electorate if you want a true democracy.

    1. After watching all that you still want democracy?

    2. Yes, more than ever!

    3. And here children, we see a dogmatic idealogue.

    4. So what is your solution to bring equality to all? Totalitarian Dictatorship, Anarchy, Libertarianism? Please explain another form of governerment that has worked elsewhere??? If you say Capitalism, you need a slap-down!

    5. And here we see why you're dogmatic. You assume we NEED to make everyone equal. Difference is bad, everyone must be alike. If we could use the Bokanovski's process to make everyone equal we would.

    6. And here children, we see an individual incapable of distinguishing between bringing equality to all and making everyone equal.

    7. I still can't believe Affleck is the new Batman.

    8. Everyone is not equal.

    9. You assume equality is good. Only in court maybe. Elsewhere, the concept of state enforced equality is inherently flawed, and essentially an aggression to the freedom of those who do not benefit from egalitarian policies. The great downfall of democracy, is that it perfectly nullifies the efforts of the people.

      How so? Let's suppose you have a small democracy of 100 people, where each 10 persons are lawyers, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, athletes/artists, scientists, politicians, soldiers, retail workers, and unemployed.
      If they were to make a decision in regards to medicine, the voice of the 10 doctors has the same weight of those 90% who have 0 knowledge on the subject.

      Basically, even if this nation has the best professionals of any given field, democracy, by its very nature, will dumb it down, and take the average consensus which in most cases, is extremely ignorant. Individually, you can be an expert on a given subject, and ignorant on all others. In a democracy, the whole nation is ignorant on all subjects. Terrible.

      It is no wonder that sciences do not use democracy to decide what is truth and is false (discounting social sciences where logic is lacking), instead, they objectively seek the best solution based on the greatest minds at the moment. And guess what? It works. We have cars, planes and advanced medicine because the scientific method works.

      I mean, if you need a heart surgery, will you trust the cardiologist in the room, or what the majority of 10 laymen think is best for you?

    10. Agreed, Ken.

    11. A thing necessary to work alongside democracy is for the people to have strong independent medias. It's essential that our decision makers are held accountable for their actions. We need reliable and unbiased sources of information to make sure we actually know the facts.

      Also, I've been watching a few documentary today and most important thing I learned is that the premise of the author always influence the nature of the fact presented.

  18. The spinal puberty known as Kundalini or tumo or uju kaya (buddhism) Holy Ghost or Shekinah etc found in Plato, davening and zikr (spinal rocking) goes beyond the "freudian desire-bodymind" that Bernays manipulates its adrenalin/testosterone etc... see Advanced Spiritual Intimacy amazon com 300p book on this endorsed by many.. uses Foucault's Ars Erotica critique of Freud to get free of him and his nephew's world-ruining myopic theories

  19. I love this site. The amount of knowledge available here is... I find myself coming here more than any other place. It's great. Props to whomever runs the thing.

    Could you update the links for this series? There are good links for the episodes that aren't available here.
    Part 1: vimeo DOT com/48842811
    Part 3: vimeo DOT com/112533840

    Thanks so much. I'd even volunteer my time and web knowledge if you are interested, admin. Feel free to contact me.
    Best site I ever done saw.

  20. I hear the voices of so many angry and unhappy people. "Evolved?" Hardly. Tragic to deny God and spiritual peace.

    1. Oh please keep God out of it. We don't know if he exist but we can be pretty sure the Bible is filled with nonsense, violence and rape and contradictions from cover to cover.

    2. I watch and promote this documentary because I am skeptical of the powers that be, including any religion! I don't believe in imaginary friends in the sky, and have little patience for those who do...

  21. Freud has done much damage to the psyche of the world. It is time for him to be proven wrong conclusively. That can only be accomplished by humans embracing and valuing rationalism and critical thinking skills above materialism and selfish desires. It is time for humans to grow up.

    1. i think Bernays has done a lot more damage than Freud

  22. Raymond Scott music!

  23. Perhaps this explains why psychoanalysis is not widely accepted in the US & the UK…this way the population remains in repressed & in the dark while the government, military, pharmaceuticals, etc continue making profit off ppl

  24. No coincidence that the Tel-lie-vision was created under this era. Do you know that it puts you in a hypnosis state? (which is the most powerful tool to shaping a mind) There is a book called "Remote controlled" at Amazon about it. Check it out, it's terrifying.

    And someone should act upon this madness of hypnosis, because that is where the real deal is! I don't find it weird that there is not more about tel-lie-vision, because its producer is "BBC".

    1. There is an older book but I remember reading it a long time ago it was called 'Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander - check it out I found it very interesting -

  25. After this watch "The power of nightmares" its a seamless sequel

  26. When one considers the physical human (organism), thoughts, desires, belief systems, and propensities of humans, you are forced to confront the paradox of mind vs body. In the physical realm, which is all there is, though at times invisible, it doesn't take long for the persistent student of biology to discover the relationship with more primitive organisms. One sees the process of evolution, that brought us from self assembled proteins, to (archaea bacteria / extremophiles / (prokaryotes cells without a nucleus), to single celled aerobic (eukaryotic bacterial cells / with a nucleus), to (chordates / multi celled worm like organisms with a primitive ("backbone like structure"), and ("primitive spinal chord"") to an ever increasing number of transitions, more complex collections of cells in organisms on the same basic theme. It is seen in every species of (vertebrate), and played out in the development of the (human fetus) during gestation from embryo.

    We are a complex web of symbiotic specialized cells, a stratified collection of interdependent cells that has manufactured it's own holographic construction of a protective bubble, in which to transform, and dissipate energy from a high state to a low state.
    All of our imaginings, of spirit, or god, or love, of dreams, are the mere jumbling packets of energy dancing in the blackened room.
    We are an illusion, like fireflies, in the cosmic hologram, to eat, and be eaten. The hologram becomes more complex, the pixels get smaller, the vision sharper, until we pass through the ("brane") to build the construction a new, in another dimension, but to the same purpose, our perception of consciousness morphing into a new machine, a new heat sink, a pile of sand washed away on the cosmic shore. "That sucks"!

    1. Thank you for this comment - it is so well expressed as I share the same view/belief. I look forward to your future comments!!

    2. It's funny, now that I read it, after having written these few paragraphs, it seems almost overly complex, confusing, even a little crazy, but then that is the nature of trying to understand our primitive origins, isn't it ? The microbiology lectures on line, from berkley,and MIT, really help one get a handle on the intricacies of cellular development, DNA theory, and sequencing, including the lectures on plants, and their biology help to decipher the complexities of cell function. Understanding primitive (chemotaxis) in cell development, and cell function, really represents a whole new level of understanding of cell evolution. It ties directly to quantum theory, and entanglement, and expansion theory. Human life, and human imagination, is where mathematics, and poetry meet. The reason people like Shakespeare, Mozart, Pythagorus, and Mark twain etc seem to be so extraordinary, "way ahead of their time" They sense the reality behind the curtain, before most people even realize there is a curtain.

  27. I encourage you all to read the Qur'an (in it's true context) and free your minds.

    1. That's nonsense. I'm not going to put down any religion, as I believe in a spiritual side of life behind the material one. I have religions friends and my observations is that religion limits your thinking in a unfortunate way. The nature of life is both mysterious and magical, and I get that people turn to religion in order to find meaning and order in the chaotic mess we sometimes found ourselves in. Sadly, many read into it too literally and take the religious works as facts and truths of life, where it should be read as metaphors of a historical search for a divine meaning. If you really want to free your mind you should always be open to explore, be curious and don't be afriad to question everything.

    2. Medieval rubbish, just another in a long line of fantasies exploited by clerics to control the masses. The bible, the Quran, Mein Kampf, the army training manual, or the guidebook of advertising to mass consumer culture, to the manipulation, of the CIA, it's all the same. My advice to you is, >>> FREE "YOURSELF" <<<<, by taking it as an intellectual exercise. Learn to take it, and all the rest with a grain of salt. Think for yourself, and be truly free. It's all an illusion of bulls*it. It's all poison. It's all their to manipulate you and make you feel superior, or special, or anointed by god to see yourself as better than others, or separate from others by virtue of your affirmation of faith in some imagined god , who is jealous, and vengeful and vein, and violent, and that you must become the arm on earth of this vanity, and revenge, and judgement. All bulls*it all the time. Be peaceful, be compassionate, be just, be honest, be brave, be all the things every human society values, love you neighbor, and children, and family, care for them ,and your community, which is the world, but leave the dogmatic brainwash, and judgmental garbage in the trash where it belongs. Religion does not own, or define morality.

    3. Love your comments, let them roll on! It's time we free ourselves from all this cxxp they try to indoctrinate us with,

    4. except ot enslaves women. religion that enslaves is NOT a solution.

  28. Thank you to all involved in creating this excellent, and engaging, documentary.

    Very well done.

  29. go back to sleep Amerika. here! buy s*it you don't need to make you happy, and keep the elites in power, doesn't it feel good to mindlessly consume worthless trinkets whilst your soul shrivels up and dies

    1. "Hhahaha oh Derek", that was great man. Hahahaha, I have lots of days like that. Don't let the rabble drive you crazy. Let's shop till you drop, for a new Manza, maybe a fir sink, or a gold plated umbrella stand, just the basics? : (

  30. Powerful documentaries and mostly good discussion below. IMO we live in a primitive, destructive, even collectively suicidal time....

    What are inborn and persistent HUMAN NEEDS, and how do we organize (and how transition from today's sorry but very entrenched state of affairs with plenty of 'programmed' people and a 'deep state' existing who hold the armies of the world) to a society that addresses essential human needs of all (or most) people? What is a child (and the state of women who give birth, for example) and what are their unique needs? What is the adaptive unconscious, what is consciousness? (You can't be conscious of what you are not conscious of.....until something (like tremendous loss or dislocation, or simply a quiet sense of dis-ease, wakes you up - and you join with others for change. As an individual, you are next to powerless to make the change needed, all the hype aside.)
    How does manipulation, socialization, cooperation and non-socially destructive competition and innovation (which are also essential, one could argue) work? How threatening is our tendency, enforced by everything media & most social conditioning and even human language itself, to 'not be in the present moment', but still in short-term' thinking, in our ego-centered nature (which is necessary to survive some things, but damning & false/delusional in other contexts). How damning is our relationship-and-inter-being-denial?

    How can we live on a finite planet (with its Life-renewing SYSTEMS that are being make toxic or non-operational and destructive to human and sentient being life) and base our economies on endless growth? How could we convince the People of the folly and who this benefits, and how that is hidden in plain sight?

    How can the net effect of our technology be more than to amplify our self- & Nature-destruction and fear-based delusion and ignorance? And economy of crony capitalism is going to save us? Or totalitarian socialism?
    A civilization built on no heart and no connection to Nature of which we are a part, a civilization resting now on our socialization quotient used against us to perpetuate & enhance our delusions, to benefit 'the few' and give this hidden elite the best chase of surviving the madness...with their own survival, but ultimately delusional needs...?!

    No, all ideas are not equal, but ideology over human needs, science and heart -- with capitalism, and most religion with their 'one true God' and 'people', communism, our ideas on Nature - each only addresses some parts of our needs and human dilemma, while destroying our foundation for Life!
    Primitive Tools of destruction! We are ignorant beyond our knowing!

    What we learn about 'human nature' is immediately corrupted and exploited (Bernays was but one advancer, preceded and followed), pressed into the service of keeping the powerful powerful, with what is foisted on a mostly unconscious exploited public who knows at least unconsciously they will live and die, and so grab what they can of security, individuality, belonging, variety, meaning, connection to something bigger....
    The arc of history is what it is, short for the human race relatively speaking, ...yet with global climate change and material like nuclear/poisoning and mind-control potential born in the last few centuries....well, we are at a breaking point for human life on this planet.
    Documentaries like this are an attempt to wake up the People. Very important. Also important -- the EXPERIENCE of having human needs met - especially in the young.

  31. Also:
    "Manufacturing Consent"
    Noam Chomsky

  32. Edward Bernay's / Newphew of Sigmond Frued. The father of American propaganda, the father of American media spin. I am surprised that a american statue wasn't been erected in honor for his guidlines on how to manipulate a mass population of American with dogma.

    1. Bernays died in 1995; this documentary was released in 2002. Had it not been for this documentary, most of us probably still would never have heard of him. He was powerful enough to make serious trouble for anyone who dared to do an exposé on him like this series. People like him work best behind the scenes, and don't want anyone knowing about them. He doesn't need a statue, he has his monument: the books he wrote, and the society he shaped. We are his monument, every time we buy something we see on TV, because we think it's "cool."

    2. "Manufacturing Consent"
      Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman 1988
      Deals in depth with this subject.....and talks about Edward Bernays.......
      A seminal doc about this subject back in 1988

    3. this, too, by Noam Chomsky. excellent! (entitled) The Lying Elites Game (1991) youtube

    4. Much easier to erect an imported pink Chinese marble memorial to Martin Luther King a decade or two after he was assassinated.. Don't really want people to know they are being conned now do we?

  33. Aww man, after reading the intro I was kinda looking forward to watching this. What's up with the "Sorry This video does not exist" message?

    1. The BBC, which owns the rights to this series, has been very active sending take-down notices to any video service that offers it. Fortunately, that has only been recent, and lots of people have downloaded the videos when they were more easily available. Many of those people feel this is information that needs to be known, so they keep reposting the series wherever they can. If you keep searching, you will find it eventually. If you care at all about the life of our nation and where our leaders have been taking us, I promise the search will be worth your while.

  34. I'm pretty sure that Documentary does exist.

  35. Governments are the very entities that knowingly drive the masses to barbarism. The U.S. government was taken over in 1913 with the passing of the Federal Reserve Act by the royal families of Britain and Europe and their Wall St. bankers and Robber Barons. They are not benevolent philosopher kings, or even benevolent despots, they are scumbags who wish to restore the Divine Right of Kings and put an end to the 200 year old experiment in freedom in the West.

    1. Everyone should read The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, by Eustace Mullins. Its an eye opener

    2. Is there a Youtube vid?

    3. Mullins is a true racist. He detests ALL Jews. Not just a few bad people who happen to be Jewish, but all Jews. I watched an interview with him in which he stated that the Jewish race is parasitic. The entire race? The reason that Jews were persecuted in the Middle Ages was because the Catholic Church labeled ALL Jews as being Christ killers. This blind, ignorant hatred saw its culmination in Nazi Germany. The Catholic Church didn't officially renounce this disgusting edict until the 1960's.

      This neo-Nazi meme has infected the patriot movement to the point that we will NEVER win against the NWO. The majority of curious sheeple, upon reading the plethora of posts on the web of Jew-haters who claim to be truthers and patriots, will believe that anti-NWO adherents, conspiracy theorists, etc. are neo-Nazi scumbags, just as the msm tells them. Unfortunately, some are.

      The bottom line is, people are basically the same. If we found out that the Vatican is indeed at the top of the NWO pyramid, I wonder how many "patriots" who constantly rail against the Jewish race would then start blaming all Catholics or Italians?

      When I think about the NWO, I see evil people - not Jew, Catholic or Protestant. When I think about La Cosa Nostra, I think about evil criminals, not Italians. I certainly don't condemn an entire race due to the evil-doings of a tiny minority. Evil is an equal opportunity employer.

      Sorry to go on, but I want to defeat the NWO, and with all of the stupidity, obviously ridiculous conspiracy theories, dis-info, government trolls and this obsession with all things Jew amongst many truthers and patriots, it is apparent to me that we are losing - big time. And that pisses me the fk off to no end.

  36. I would love to see a 5th episode on what has taken place between the Clinton Administration and Obama's 2nd term. It seems as if the Paradigm has shifted and we now have a highly expedited due to the fact that we've now reached a point where we have more generations that have lived through the mind-rape of the 60's than lived before the unhealthy cultural shift took place.

    1. His other documentary "all watched over by machines of loving grace" was made 2011. It covers more 21st century topics.

  37. Just have to wonder if there´s any connection between Edward Bernay adressing Sigmund Freud as "Uncle Siggy" , and if Bernay had anything to do with "Uncle Sam"? They´re quite the mirrored images of each other, Sigmund and "Sam"... :)

  38. dear all, what are some solutions you come up with.

    1. Media literacy!

    2. Well, it seems that the pulling power here is with our deepest internal desires. We are a populace that is, at large, band-aiding our base desires for
      love, understanding, companionship, adventure, security, sex, etc. with products that promise
      these things. If we can actually fulfill them, instead of repressing them through the use and purchase of consumer goods, then perhaps we wouldn't be as susceptible to advertisements.

      For example, if a woman can convince herself that she is strong and independent through means other than the smoking of a cigarette (to use the film's example), then she has no need for the cigarette's false promises.

      It makes sense when you think of it this way, that women are the primary consumers in our economy. Women are most often forced by society to mask their base desires for sex, intimacy, and companionship (among other things), lest they appear needy or slutty or otherwise undesirable. So, in turn, they are the ones with the biggest holes to fill, and then the ones who purchase the most goods to fill it. (I'm saying this as a woman, from my personal experience with other women, so please don't get all neo-feminist-nazi on me.)

      I think the point is to acknowledge the beast within, and then find something REAL to satisfy it.

      Any other thoughts, guys?

    3. I believe we have the knowledge and technological advancements it would take to instill a socioeconomic system that provides an environment that not only makes power acquisition and destruction of others' lives impossible, but gives us the means to understand ourselves and others while providing positive opportunities to fulfill our basic needs and desires. Basically, we need to create a new system that allows us to be free to fill our needs and wants to the fullest extent with out impeding on other lives. It has been our goal all along, yet we tend to convolute the situation and allow the possibility for personal interest to interfere with social interest. I am not saying we should go back to any system that has failed in the past and try again(not even capitalism), but that we are capable of creating a better system that can address human needs, such as housing, food, emotional needs, etc. as well as other life and the planet's well being as a whole. The problem with our current capitalist social system is that a)we have to have an ever consuming and growing economy to avoid suffering, yet, even if we were successful in that sense, we have limited resources and would lead to collapse eventually anyway. So recessions and depressions are built in, along with a lot of other horrible side-effects. And b) we can not so easily hoard real resources and gain unfair power as we can with currency(esp. fiat), c) having an ever expanding economy means that we will destroy our planet, and lead to the extinction of our race. You could argue that eventually we will have sustainable practices, but that still depends on the people as it isn't built into the system, and as long as profit is the main goal, there will always be people who find ways to use bad practices to make money, and cyclical consumption will remain an issue. I could go on for days, but I think the only real solution is to create a better system. I currently support the Resource Based Economic system, and can't wait to see what the future will hold!

    4. You said it all. It's the flaw in the show. They reiterate that "individualism" is really little more than the car you drive. There is a powerful and interesting alternative take on individuation in the idea of walkabout. A young person is cast out of the community (you probably know this) and survives alone for some months, at last comes home and is given another name. This is a full person with a job to do as a member of the community. The individualism of the west is basically that of the uninitiated adolescent who hasn't met his or her gods and then returned. All we have is the tiny idea that only "I" or mine matter. For the walkabouter happiness is contributing to the community not an Audi.

    5. Well observed.

      The "cigarette"/"freedom stick" of today is the Feminist movement. A clearly useless, harmful thing to anyone using even an ounce of logic or honesty when looking at the results it produces. Despite this, it is more popular than ever, (and strategically, more reviled than ever) due to a few well-placed, un-proven memes and buzzwords, (e.g. "70 cents on the dollar," "Yes, all women," "Ban bossy," "Rape culture," et al) that lead to inevitable counter-arguments and certain division.

      The powers that be have their money. They need full control now. So obviously, the name of the game is to divide us at all costs.

      Market toxic ideas as well as toxic product. Divide and conquer.

    6. I am a woman and regarded by most of my peers as a strong willful person. I DETEST the Feminist Movement! I am proud to be a woman and feel very comfortable in my femininity. In my opinion, the Feminist Movement are a lot of females that are dying to be male and will do anything to prove they are BETTER than men. If you know it, why try to prove it?

  39. I'm about halfway through these comments and I just had to stop to say you all are the most intelligent and fascinating people whose comments on an article I have ever read, and I just want to say thank you, for being so damn interesting and not devolving into name calling as is so often the case in these forums. I've learned lot and you're awesome.

    I'll watch this doc. I can't count how many times I've heard somebody proclaim that they're not affected by commercials, and I've warned them that they are precisely the most vulnerable, those who believe they're too smart to be manipulated.

    1. Agreed, comments sections are rarely worth reading on youtube and other websites. Topdoc is one of the few websites that I know of where the comments are informative and actually worth scanning through.

    2. A childish curiosity never close up for opportunities and are allways eager to understand, not to judge. It´s a life-style of percieving the world thru an ever more complex perspective and to draw conclusions of that yet not understood. Sadly some people grow up without noticing what they left behind.

    3. "And I've warned them that they are preciesly the most vulnerable, those who believe they're too smart to be manipulated" Great!

  40. So the self actualizers who thought they were so independent from outside influence and marketing by business ended being manipulated by it all over again, playing straight into their hands and continuing to make them rich.

    1. And we lost the political movement in the process. Well played business

  41. This film shows very clearly how the expansion of Amerikan capitalism was inextricably tied into corporate monopolization and mass consumerism through propaganda.

  42. irony - edward bernays (jew) techics were used by gebels :)

  43. I’ve just re-watched all four hours of Adam Curtis’ series ‘The Century of the Self’ from beginning to end and I would encourage everyone also to watch.

    The subjects covered are of such a depth and of such relevance now that I can guarentee you will see this westerm consumer world where politics is sold as just another product is, much, much clearer. In fact I can guarentee you will see a LOT of things much, much clearer.

    This is not some heavy documentary that’s laborious to get through. It’s style is creative and engrossing. Adam Curtis specialises in immaculate research, stimulative visuals and a constantly engaging narrative.

    If you can stay the course to the end of this four part series in one end-to-end showing I’m sure you’ll come out at the end so much better informed about where we are today. And how we got here, why Thatcher won the elections she did and what a tremendously difficult job it will be to EVER gain a government that is not merely about fulfilling individual desires.

    PLEASE watch. In four parts, or as a whole as I just did.

    Some of the topics covered:

    The rise of western consumer societies and the subsequent need of businesses to find ways of getting people to buy things that were not necessities. How the study of human psychology was brought to bear on manipulating us toward selfish desires.

    How the field of Public Relations arose and was developed to manipulate our desires, both conscious and unconscious.

    The rise of an intense desire for individual fulfillment and expression and how this was manipulated, first by business marketing their products, and then by politicians on both the right and the left to gain power.

    The rise of Reaganism and Thatcherism and the advent of Clinton and Blair following in their footsteps.

    The reasons behind why Clinton and Blair moved so far to the right and the methods they used to win power in societies which had become increasingly motivated by individual desire.

    1. @Allan Tierney - Thank you so very much for the breakdown of the documentary to how you viewed it. I agree with you that I should now view it as a whole instead of in its parts. I will make sure I have the time set apart to do so and thank you again for your time in writing this ...

    2. Thank you very much for the info. It is great that people on this forum share interesting relevant information about documentaries they have seen which are great. I've got so many to watch, I better stop reading further comments and get cracking with the videos :》

  44. Edward Bernays probably the most dangerous man to have ever lived.

    1. But i believe he meant it for good deeds, however tricky people have used it (abused Bernay's method) into their tool for their selfishness.

    2. AND HE IS DEAD! :》 Now he can't do any further harm to the planet.

    3. OH my

  45. Just a great series of thought provoking videos. What I take away from it is that we shouldn't reject capitalism or the corporate culture, neither one will go away anytime soon, but to just be aware of what is going on. The corporations are watching us, classifying us, and marketing to us... but let's not be too narcissistic, they are not out to destroy us, they just want money.

    1. I think that this movie shows how capitalism is inherently based upon exploiting peoples alienation in order to profit corporations and capitalists. Although the capitalists may "just want money," history shows that they have no moral scruples about destroying people or the environment in order to secure their profits. They view the masses of working people as nothing more than a herd of sheep that is stupid and unfit for self-government.

    2. Your painting with too broad of a brush when you say "they" have no moral scruples. Yes the oil companies and banks have no regard for the environment or the well being of individuals... but you can't assume every "capitalist" that starts a business or registers a corporation has no moral compass. "They" just want money whether they think the flock of sheep is s*upid or not.

    3. Of course there are exceptions, but in general capitalists cannot possibly subordinate the profit-motive to morality. If all, or even most, capitalists were to do this, they would be driven out of business by their less scrupulous competitors. In any case, insofar as capitalism is based upon the exploitation of labor, all capitalists are objectively oppressing workers, and therefore I say "f--k em all."

    4. "All capitalists are objectively oppressing workers" ...really???, I think you watch too many documentaries.
      I welcome a system that could one day replace capitalism, but I'm starting to suspect you don't have any suggestions, just criticism (i.e. "f--k em all").

    5. I do have some suggestions as a matter of fact. I just haven't shared them with you yet.

    6. not sharing? Are you worried I might turn you over to the New World Order totalitarians for undermining capitalist principles?

      At least tell me if your going to take some course of action now that you have suggestions on how to cure the evils of our current economic system. Or will you just continue to be a good little capitalist who happens to watch anti-capitalist documentaries?

    7. Please explain your view Conscious Capitalism given that context you've described.

    8. No, I think it's far broader than that. It's a very well-executed assault on all ideology, and effectively demonstrates their consistent failure in the real world: whether it's the New Left or communism or the ideas of 1990s+ capitalism, it shows how ideologies, with their one-size-fits-all solutions and their need to transform people in order to succeed, fail in their promises every time.

    9. Then you should watch some documentaries where Bill Gates(corporation) talks about reducing the population. He is not the only one that recons 2bln is enough, We are now 7bln. What are they going to do with the rest? 5bl. Just asking.

  46. Freud is far surpassed in intellect and wisdom by Carl Jung. The fact that Freud is still held to be the go to guy for Psychology disgusts me.

    1. And you are?

    2. Erich Fromm, in my opinion, surpasses both Freud and Jung.

    3. True, and Jung is dwarfed by ancient predecessors.

  47. As soon as I encountered Freud I felt uncomfortable, it struck me this was not a theory directed towards the pursuit of knowledge but a manner of pidgeonholing people and asserting power over them through the psychoanalyst. It has been interesting to see over the last while concerns with psychoanalysis implanting a subconscious narrative into patients rather then unearthing them. In addition there is no doubt in my mind that Freud was essentially fatalistic who tried (an to some degree has suceeded) to turning his opinions on human nature (and possibly his own guilt complex) into a pseudo-science. His relationship with Jung (another deluded individual) is of interest as it underlines the man's narcissism and absolute refusal to accept any criticism of his theories whatsoever. That doesn't sound like a scientist to me. There is also proof that he manipulated his "clinical" cases in order to prove his theories. A tyrant of the mind, not the first and certainly not the last. The fact that his "theories" have been used to manipulate people doesn't surprise me in the least. His nephew was a real piece of work...

    1. Thanks couldn't have said it better and another thing about them I find fascinating is how their so convinced that people are irrational but don't seem to see their own irrational thinking or didn't care

    2. "their" is the possessive, bunky. Try they're (they are ) next time. Hard to find meaning in mindless syntax - much less in complex and correctly spelled ideas.

    3. This type of criticism of Freud is typical. I think that he had some theories worth taking seriously and some that were nonsense, but let's not resort to personal attacks on his alleged character. It's more useful to direct criticisms at his theories. The fact that certain of his theories were used by capitalists to manipulate the masses shows that there was validity to those theories.

  48. Thanks for putting up this post. these 'cultural' criticisms are not new and from what I've been able to glean from the review, the author of the book reviewed is using other people's ideas, which isn't to say that they aren't true. I'd recommend John Ralston Saul's "Voltaire's Bastards", "The Doubter's Companion" and "The Unconscious Civilization", not to mention a host of others ("Manufacturing Consent" Herman & Chomsky) plus the other giants who provided these people with the shoulders on which to stand. The source ideas are extremely difficult to argue (by the originators) and their implications hard to understand (by their emulators), but eventually they percolate and are popularized and even when they become part of the popular domain, most of those throwing stones at the edifice thus revealed wouldn't know where to begin to replace what they'd otherwise dismiss. I would hope that I could dispense with the latest publication to know that I live in an extremely cynical age full of in-your-face charlatans who don't know what they're talking about. But consider that to really understand what the guys mentioned above are really going on about you might have to read the mystics and assimilate their ideas into everyday experience, how would anyone relate all of this to a secular ground plan and repackage it in the form of a viable political system? If the system f--ks us over everytime we switch on the TV, let's not get f--ked over twice by those who write about it and get published. they are no messiahs, closer in fact to excited little boys. As for Freudian phsychology, I've always regarded Freud as a plumber in comparaison to Jung, whom I think of, in this category, as a dowser. But again, plumbing is more practical, and you tell me anyway under which laboratory conditions the release of the relevant archetypes is going to be solicited in a patient in order to reconstruct his broken or stunted personality. Better stick to aspirin if medicine is what you need although I recommend diet and regular excercise.

  49. Political and corporate "mind manipulation" for "monetary profits" is fine with me to a very limited extent, as long as it is not mean-spirited. The problem is all the corruption in every facet.These "powers in place" are not only robbing us economically, but also becoming uncontrolable and dangerous socially.

    I expect this mentality from these greedy, tricky bastards, but what I didnt expect and absolutely HATE is that it seems an increasing number of good-natured citizens that I encounter daily are becoming unpleasant and sheep-like, both directly and indirectly due to this tactics and mindsets.


  50. Sure, J F, I agree...but, like the guy above your comment's not-so-veiled reference also indicates, "when your argument starts rambling about the Federal Reserve...Zeitgeist and other conspiracy theory films," I and others who think like me, see just how well the hegemonic superstructures Bernays and others authored really DO work--those that prop up this illusion of reality in petroleum-based geopolitical power terms. Western hegemony works so well that even open-eyed minds can see the ugly truths that crack the sociopolitical surface, yet refuse to consider the geopolitical (let alone geoeconomic, not that one really could) implications that those revelations clearly suggest==at least from the standpoint of conspiracy theorists. There is, in this sham of a democracy, nonetheless legislated space for all opinions, ours included, and I'm happy to share that space if only cybernetically. Note, however, that we are restricted in the exercise of that freedom to the protected and sanctioned "opposition space" bounded on all sides by, you guessed it, "dominant space." And now my 15 bits are up.

  51. Uhhh, the reason why a test grouping (test means experiment) of humans trying to end centuries of CULTURE of racial hate and inequality via Psychological manipulation failed is because the 'Blacks' of the test group we not equal to the task of being experimented on by whites?

    Second episode. For real. That's just silly. I refuse to waste any more time on this.

  52. So, if I am to understand: because some one's better uses them for their talents, that means they created the game? And Freud was there to advise Machiavelli? Did Freud send back mental waves to the Romans via spooky Sci-Fi technology and suggest they build arenas of death to subdue the masses?

    I buy the influence on advertising but the 'father of public relations'? Seriously? Nobody thought of heirarchy and structure and the drives of humans within a social system before Freud's relative?

    Confucius...? The 'God Kings' of Egypt?

    It's particularly funny when they have Goebbels quote Machiavelli, then give credit to Bernays. What better way to rationalize the pick of some random product of his environment as a representative of innovation.

    Oh Jeez, I do believe at the end, this guys daughter gives him credit for the invention of cars and cell phones.

    Jeez. What drivel.

    1. Hi Bruce, it's a documentary. It's important to include many things involved. Glad they did, even if it displays inconsistencies in what you might perceive as it's accompanying narrative. They may or may not have included them on purpose, but it is good that they did not purposely hide them like the news and pop culture hides things everyday from the public.

      In other words, nobody's perfect. At least you noticed these things. That means you are thinking and IMO that was the true overall point of the doc, that there's more than meets the eye at first glance so we need to be aware and thinking about what we are being shown.

      Enjoyed your point about Confucius and the "god kings" of egypt.

    2. Hey Toaster! I definitely get your main point, which I think is to take the documentary with a grain of salt and patience, so as to enjoy it's major narrative. It's kinda cool when I get replies to stuff I wrote years I can see where I was at then. I've since learned to relax a bit and just turn off programs that I find frustrating : ) Better for the blood pressure!

      I do still try to hold a little higher standard for documentaries though, as they can be a great medium for improving dialogue and knowledge base when done right. If the makers of this film could have just stayed away from their crazy suppositions and stuck with the meat of their subject, I would have completely enjoyed it. I just wish documentarians would be more mndful, sometimes, that their subject matter isn't the center of the universe and it's ok to treat it with reasonable limits of it's relevance. Of course, the trap is in making a film that is attention grabbing and 'important' to the viewer...

      Anyway, thanks for the observations and sharing your time with me. I do think that other, more concise, documentaries on media manipulation of societies should be standard class rooom material. Unless we make ourselves aware of the manipulation in advertising (as well as 'news' and it's corporate sponsors, etc), we will be ill equiped to make actual decisions and to stay ourselves, rather than a mindless derivitive of mass media. Peace!

  53. Another set of fantastic documentaries from the BBC....

  54. This Bearnaise guy was one deceptive, corrupt, guy we would have been much netter off w/o. The worst part is now we are dependent of this system to keep the economy going and the earth can't sustain this demand on it's resources to support it.
    Check out the story of stuff on this site, it is short and simple yet something every person should be aware of.

  55. excellent stuff. The legacy of Freud psycho analyses as interpreted by Bernays is likely societal mass suicide. Take a good look around if you doubt me.

  56. thank God the world is getting ready for another major shift which won't include 101 flavours or boy bands. the America we all love and loath will soon collapse in on it's own economic indulgence and this pointless entertainment circus will find it's run out of money to continue. then we can get back to the business of becoming worthwhile humans again.

    1. Exactly.

  57. All Americans born or naturalized citizens should have this as required viewing. Civic"s class is now called to order. Before you become a
    Lemming or a Sheeple invest time in yourself and your brain.

    No one owes you anything !

    1. Was browsing through, looking for something to just pass some time, and came across this documentary and your comment. I am not quite up to the challenge tonight, but your statement has made me really want to watch this film very soon. I just saw the first episode of The Newsroom, a new HBO series, I don't usually recommend television programs, but I think every one (not just Americans--I'm Canadian by the way) should watch at least this one episode. The dialogue on media culture as it is today and our growing complacency with being fed fast food information are exactly what needs to be said at this point in history, and exactly what people need to hear. If you have a bit torrent d/l program, here's the torrent file for it, and thank you so much for your comment, so very glad I came across it. Funny how that is sometimes, and despite FB and Twitter and the Internet's tendency to be a very fast food culture, it is at it's best when it leads you to find exactly the person and information you needed to find but weren't consciously looking for :D AA45510BE6EB9092AA08FD6B97C6205641802A8B.torrent

    2. I have no words for how brilliant and needed The Newsroom is. I agree, everyone should watch it. All 5 episodes have inspired me to the point of tears. I could kiss Aaron Sorkin's feet. It's exactly what this generation needs. I'm overwhelmed at the brilliance.. it's not a tv show.. it's a proclamation of truth and justice and standing up for what's right even if you're standing alone and opposed. WATCH THE NEWSROOM! Thanks for the comment :) I love you Canadians.

    3. Cheers from another Canadian that randomly scrolled down on the comments after finally finishing this great doc, saw yours, and is going to check out this 'The Newsroom' cause it looks awesome!

    4. But I owe others so much. And so does everyone else.

  58. Century of Self is an important work, because it encourages the audience to look deeper at the already observable. This is a huge distinction from other films that wade in the conspiracy-buff waters of Zeitgeist, etc. Nonetheless, those very films have undoubtedly cast a shadow on real discourse about real issues, thus thoughtful films are now attracting a slew of "theorists" harping on and on about the Federal Reserve and "9-11 truth" (Always be wary of "truth").

    You simply can't argue with much of the history of public relations and psychology offered in Century of Self. It simply shatters the notion that government and corporations are mutually exclusive entities vying for power. Government's motives depend on who is influencing it. Corporations' motives are always profits. It's amazing how the field of marketing and PR can make one forget that at the sight of crafted imagery. In essence, Century of Self effectively encapsulates the evolution of how for-profit interests evolved in this area over the 20th century, and how politicians adopted these standards of marketing. Obama's 2008 campaign serves as a perfect example of this, and his campaign won Advertising Age's 2008 Marketer of the Year Award, beating out Apple.

    The other major notion of so-called "common wisdom" that Century of Self effectively disembowels is the notion of "individuality". I put that in quotations because it certainly rings hollow outside - what do we call it? Oh, yes: reality. Somewhere along the way, Americans particularly became obsessed with this notion of "individuality": that is, that we are all autonomous beings that largely determine our own fate and point of view. Not only does Century of Self explore how these unrealistic, self-absorbed claptraps make perfect target consumers, it also illustrates the political overlap during the Reagan and Thatcher era.

    The folly of embracing "individualism" in the first place is comical on its face. One is born into a certain family in a certain culture. Right off the bat, it's not self-determined. Then, our point of view and personality, especially during developmental years in childhood, is formed by how we interact with the world around us. Not to mention, generations before us gave us so much knowledge, technology, conveniences and concepts. We simply don't live in a vacuum, no matter how much we want to be "individual", and everything exists relative to everything else. We aren't "snowflakes" either.

    Instead of branding Capitalism as "evil", the film does a good job of illustrating how it is just another vehicle of concentrated power. In essence, Capitalism and Communism share vastly more similarities than differences. They both have centrally-planned economies and both rely on a top-down distribution of power that propagate an illusion of the bottom tier "rising" through the system. The main difference is the "sell"; Capitalism strokes the "individual" within us and Communism strokes the "worker" in us. Of course, there are elements of both in us, but both systems merely use them for embracing what maintains their centralized power. Like Capitalism and Communism, Nike and Converse didn't compete because they were different: they competed because they were alike. Nike bought Converse. Capitalism "bought" Communism.

  59. Freud was a fraud. The credit should go to his teacher, Charcot. If you read Freud he admits it. Freud pushed psychotherapy back immensely.

  60. how is it that so many don't see corporations clay feet?

  61. I probably missed a segment of this, as I watched it on YouTube, but it has real staying power. I've thought of it every single day for two years, believe it or not (and please direct me to the "idee fixe" department of this hospital). Flawed? Of course. Everyone will find something to disagree with here, but it's brilliant nonetheless in its overall thesis.

    I had a problem with two parts: (1) Wilhelm Reich as someone who went too far, depicting him as some crazy, evil scientist talking about a bogus "orgone energy"; and (2) the Human Potential Movement, which was destroyed because it actually went against narcissism, not into it. Reich had a lot to say against Freud that the filmmaker could have used, in effect, that Freudian denial (of sexuality, but that's a word with more in it than you think) goes hand-in-hand with fascism. Somebody needs to actually prove orgone energy doesn't exist before ridiculing it. Werner Erhard gets trashed without ever really understanding his work; you'd think people hung out at "est" retreats to become bigger consumerist a-holes than they already were. Sure, a lot of this stuff went off the rails, but that's the whole point of the film -- how, time and time again, the establishment in any form has used the methods of human liberation against that very liberation. It would have been much enhanced by treating these movements fairly. In fact, I would have loved to know more about just how the government/capitalism/whatever went about mowing down the Human Potential Movement, because that in itself would make a fascinating film.

  62. I don't really care for the way that this doc completely glosses over the horrors done in the name of politics by governments throughout the so-called century of the self while setting up "capitalism" as some kind of bogeyman that has created all of the modern world's problems. It was governments, not corporations, that waged the bloodiest conflicts in the 20th century, sending literally hundreds of millions of people to their deaths in the bloodiest 100 years of human history ever recorded. There can be no blaming "capitalism" for the millions murdered by Stalin, by Mao, by Hitler, and by all of the other tyrants who have tried to claim dominion over the lives of people they never meet and don't understand but presume to rule.

    The unquestioned assumtion here seems to be that if it weren't for all of these greedy "capitalists" trying to make profits, politicians would be able to focus on doing the right thing for society. This view is naive in the extreme. Politicians by and large seek only one thing: Power, and more of it. They are a class of people who will say anything, promise everything, and deliver nothing but lies and general misery for all people foolish enough to support their grasping for ultimate control. What this documentary calls "capitalism" could be more accurately described as fascism, which is the merger of the political class with a select elite of favored companies and interests from the private classes in order to control society for the benefit of the government and these favored interests. Americans have lived in a fascist economy ever since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, and to call the complex mire of cronyism, lobbyists, and insider power brokering that is Washington DC a thing created by free markets is both insulting to said markets and an uninformed opinion based on a fundamental lack of understanding about the concept of free markets.

    I agree on some points in this doc, such as the danger of handing political power over to focus groups and the potential emptiness of the consumer lifestyle, but there is a huge difference between a corporation attempting to manipulate your emotions into buying this or that trinket and a politician manipulating your emotions to start a war or increase your taxes or pass laws that restrict your freedoms. Americans are only beginning to see the damage that can be done by government unbound by any sense of decency or fear of accountability, and yet they still point their fingers at "capitalism", which is a thing that few who bandy the term about can even describe. You can choose to not be manipulated into basing your life around the things you buy, and freely choose products and services that you want or need. Try making the same choice with your government. Try opting out of your taxes and see what the response is. If you refuse to buy software from Microsoft, they don't send armed men to haul you away to jail. If you refuse to accept the government of the land in which you live (no matter how far outside of your interests that government may operate, and though it may also operate completely without your consent or agreement) you will be severely punished through imprisonment and perhaps death.

    Free markets are not perfect, but this doc seems to advocate putting more control into the hands of the bloodiest killers in history, all in the name of supposed social justice. Politics is not the answer, it has done more than enough harm to far too many people. Peaceful commerce is the lifeblood of human cooperation and survival, and our best chance to make it in a hostile universe. Sorry for being so long winded, just thought it was an important point to make.

    1. Perhaps, you need to see governments as the arms of the corporations for it is them that are pulling the strings. It's more centralized and efficient that way.

    2. One hand washes the other. I'm not saying that there aren't large corporations who are complicit in and sometimes the driving force behind a lot of malfeasance. However, without the force of government behind them, the influence of these subsidized interests would be far less problematic. This doc trashes commerce and gives fascists like FDR a pass, making it seem like it is people seeking to buy and sell things that is the problem and not the fact that most of humanity has handed power over to a tiny political elite. Just because some companies have taken advantage of this situation does not mean that all companies and economic interests seek to do so.

    3. Well, using standard fare talking points about Hitler, Stalin and Mao (you forgot Pol Pot) doesn't have anything to do with the films thesis. You could name virtually any empire or regime in human history and say, "See, that wasn't Capitalism!" Much ado about nothing.

      The film's thesis is critical of equating what is good for profit with what is good for the public. In a non-government free market utopia, what is good for business is good for humanity. In reality, the interests are quite different, and COS illustrates this more than amply. It's pretty matter-of-fact that profit motive does not reflect having the public interest at heart.

      When your argument starts rambling about the Federal Reserve, I get the feeling that you have Zeitgeist and other conspiracy theory films on repeat until your eyes bleed. Talk about missing the obvious: Taxes are in no way comparable to consumer services and products. Please humor me about the DARPA developed internet you use, the federal interstate system you rely on, the NOAA satellites you get weather info from, the public airwaves, the FDA to regulate the safety of your medicine, the FAA to regulate the safety of your airline travel, the workplace safety standards of OSHA, health and human services, etc. Much technology taken for granted was government developed and safety comes from public institutions, not the industries, who are obligated to deliver profits, not serve anyone.

  63. classic doc. adam curtis does good work.

  64. Of the dozens of excellent documentaries I've seen here, if I could make one of them required viewing for every person in the United States, this would be it hands down.

    When I was a psychology major, I took a lab course in behaviorism. The simple experiments would have been stupid, I thought, except that they proved how well behavior could be manipulated. As I watched my sweet little pigeons and rats go through their predetermined paces, I saw that this was less a theory of "learning" than it was a theory of "teaching."

    My analysis (which I didn't share with my teachers) was that the experimental subjects had X amount of knowledge and the experimenters had X+1 amount. If the subjects were given X+1, they'd see the game and say "screw this." The pigeons would KNOW that the blue-colored water would upset their tummies, and not waste their time figuring it out through experience. The rats would SEE the design of the maze and solve it on paper, like a crossword puzzle.

    This insight chilled me with the implication, "What do I not know that I don't know? Who has the knowledge to manipulate me?" My teachers for a start, I suspected.

    Well, I was "astoundaghast" when we got to the part of the documentary where the revolution started to eat its children. Clinton and Blair directed their campaigns by the strategy of literally telling swing voters what they wanted to hear one week to the next. Like rats pressing one button after another in the hope of getting an occasional pellet, Clinton and Blair darted from one group to another, trying to get a stroke from somebody, anybody.

    The swing voters controlled the candidates far better than the candidates controlled the swing vote. The scientists had become the subjects, apparently without knowing it. To me, another proof that at the extremes, left (Freud, psychodynamics) and right (B.F.Skinner, behaviorism) join hands.

    I especially valued the point made by 60s activists that Chicago 1968 taught them they could never defeat the police power of the state. So they turned from a philosophy of changing society to a philosophy of changing people, in the hope of someday reaching critical mass. That's a far more satisfying analysis of how the 60s became the 70s than seeing the shift merely as from narcissism to supernarcissism.

  65. So, it turns out that democracy is nothing but a charade for capitalism and greed. Keep the people believing they're free, in control of their destinies, let them vote and rape them from behind. Clever, very, very clever. And here we are again, having come full circle, allowing the dark forces to be unleashed and take over once again. Only this time, there's no escape.

  66. when did humans start to believe they should get everything they want in order to be happy or fulfilled? what happened to "four hots and a cot",
    or "any day above ground is a good day"?

  67. Most professors say Psychotherapy is bullshit. There's a Yale lecture that can watch on YT.

    1. Most professors and clinicians will say PSYCHOANALYSIS is bullshit, which is most certainly is, not PSYCHOTHERAPY. Psychotherapy includes a range of differernt talk treatments which have been shown to be clinically effective. Don't confuse the two.

    2. The Aztec Gods were not real ether but that did not prevent the Aztecs from organizing their lives (and deaths) around them

  68. "The Power of Nightmares" is probably Curtis' best documentary to date, be sure to check it out if you enjoyed this.

  69. The great khali.................

  70. Nice music.

    1. From memory the better music in this film is by Arvo Pärt and Raiph Vaughan Williams. Spiegel Im Spiegel and Fantasy on a Theme By Thomas Tallis, I can't remember the other tracks, but these two are repeated throughout.

      Andrew Davis Does a nice Tallis and I'm currently listening to the Spivakov/ECM recording of Spiegel/Für Alina.

  71. This documentary changed my world view when I first saw it years ago. It only touches on the life and work of Wilhelm Reich, one of Freud's students that split with him on very underlying issues of human nature. His work with orgone energy is fascinating, and well worth a look into.

    1. I think you will find nothing of Reich in this doc. It is about mass mind manipulation:
      Happiness Machines. Part one documents the story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays who invented Public Relations in the 1920s, being the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses.

    2. If you had taken the time to even watch one minute into the 3rd episode you would know undoubtedly that Reich is discussed in this film. Forward to the second hour and there it is. ~ This doc is where I first heard of him and I took it upon myself to learn more. I've watched this film dozens of times, so there's no need for you to share the synopsis.

  72. It is certainly interesting to see how the Politicians learned to spin themselves to get votes. The truth in 2011 in both Britain and US, is that all those Middle Class self-directed focus group participants got screwed by their Pols policies, clearly always working for the Top 1%. While we may have had v-chips, we also had regressive taxes, dismantling of financial regulation (what focus group said anything about that), and handing out all the FCC licenses to a handful of powerful private corporations like Murdoch. We live in a very dangerous and scary world because nobody thinks they need anybody else.

  73. Wow, pretty amazing documentary. I love how it's an alternate history of the 20th century of the capitalist world (mainly the USA, but it really applies across the Western countries). I've heard people describe it in economic terms and political terms, but new psychological. It's amazing how this doc charts it as Freudian at first, then free expressionist and then individualist, charting the "soul" of the country through psychoanalysis. Very interesting, thought provoking and entertaining.

    Although, I do have some questions: what is really the HUGE revelation? That business and politics are pointed at exploiting our emotions? Well DUH. Notice how the only good documentaries are ones that provide an emotional response from us? The only things we remember are the things, people, events that resonate and provide positive or negative emotions? Rationality is good and all, but it's when something strikes our emotional core that we really latch onto it. I guess what this doc says is that it's a new discovery (only in the 1920s), but it seems kind of inevitable in a complex society. I don't think it's necessarily sinister; it's actually pretty smart.

    It does reflect a lot about modern contemporary society and politics though. I live in one of the most politically apathetic countries in the world, where a major political problem is simply getting people out to vote. Perhaps the idea that consumer activity and the free market lulls people into a sense of complacency is very true, like in Canada. They feel empowered by consumer choice and are comfortable with "others" taking care of the problems, even if they won't admit it.

  74. I find it funny how the hippies of the past become the consumers of the future. Irony at its finest.

  75. ive watched this on twice and it really drives home that we mostly we only THINK that we are free thinking individuals good docimentary well worth the watch

    1. We are to an extent. We do have core individual values, beliefs, wants and needs and emotions that separate us from everyone else. Yet, in a large society, our identities are also dependent and defined by what we are and what we're not. As much as some might not like to admit it, your individualism is not in spite of social, cultural and political spheres, it is created because of it as well.

    2. you think too much (hope you have a good heart)
      Subject: [topdocumentaryfilms] Re: The Century of the Self

    3. LOL I have been told before I think too much, I am always thinking about something. I don't know if that's a bad or good thing. I also do think I have a good heart, well, I like to. Anyway, I don't really know what that has to do with my comment...but...thanks? I guess?

  76. I can tell just by reading all the comments that all people here talking about psychology and freud's theories are lay people and do not fully understand the massive impact freud had on the development of many theories today. Many of freuds insight still hold merit today such as defensive mechanisms. Everyone knows about that friend who always blaming everyone else for intentions he really has himself "everybody is selfish in this world"(projection), always relativates things although we know that it has to hurt "it could have been worse"(rationalization), acuses others of provoking his emotions "I'm not angry, you made me angry" (projective identification) etc etc.

    What I'm saying is do not dismiss the impact Freud has had on psychology because of some flaws in his work. He gave us profound insights into the deeper workings on the psyche (on the very basic level of instincts to the complex structures of personality).

    1. Are you a lay person?

  77. Real necessities were never the issue... It has been all about manipulation towards profit.

  78. Wow, what a reaction to Freud. Maybe he really was on to something.
    Let’s be precise, maybe Freud was indeed wrong about many or even most things, I am not arguing against that. But, do you really think your reaction is scientific, calm, cold and without bias?
    Just few quotes from comments below: "criminal" "outrageous" “selfish vulgar greedy"… Is it maybe that we are all full of urges and impulses that we barely keep under control. They are so obvious we sometimes fail to see them.

    About humans in general being well balanced, living according to their needs, have good judgment... ? and until Freud came along and screwed it up all for us, it was all great? Hmmm… Just open history book on any page and find a treasure trove of neurosis.

    What is unusual or shocking is not that we are generally normal until something triggers outrageous impulses in us. It is quite the opposite: beside all the weird impulses we seem to function quite well as balanced human beings in a society. On surface it seems to be quite calm.

  79. Worth the four hour running time.

  80. Bernays is a psychological Nazi and his work contributed to all that is wrong with society......What a dick, glad he's dead, too bad he lived....

    1. You are aboslutely right about that : Bernays was a real criminal indeed : worse than the regular maffia : Bernays manipulating the minds of people for materialistic gains, f****** with people's minds , to be more precize : manipulating the desires of people instead of their needs ....outrageous unethical = an understatement .

      Thank God for the fact that Freud's psychology has no scientific grounds : pseudo-science at its worst like a professional said .

      Freud's psychology that had massive devastating effects on modern time peoples like no other = the worst thing that can ever happen to humanity, turning people or individuals into selfish vulgar greedy consumption materialistic machines animals in the name of , ironically enough .

  81. To whom it may concern :

    I love this great eye-opener site , i do thank you for it from the bottom of my heart ; great docus really . i cannot thank you enough for that : this is really a gold mine , a priceless great site in fact .

    But , i do hope that you would be tolerant enough to protect the freedom of speech here ...

    Do not let some intolerant bad apples here spoil everything for everybody here .

    Thanks , appreciate .


  82. Not really way above average as you put it .

    We have been witnessing some attempts to revive the dead = communism (Zizek ) & Freudianism (Lacan , Zizek ) haha

    You remind me of some guy in another forum with the same views really , ironically enough ...........haha

    A socialist guy who 'worships " Lacan, Marx, Freud, Zizek , so.

    I am aware of Lacan's & Zizek's works : both are /were communists by the way : this ideological background of theirs should be enough to know where they were / are coming from .

    Fact is : Freud was indeed right about many things like the fact that there are indeed evil dangerous forces in our subconsciousness that shape our thought & thus our behaviour , but those forces can be put under control & rechanneled elevated inthe sense that we should accept their existence as such & try to to improve them while stimulating our good sides in the process .

    One should thus not manipulate the masses as Bernays & others used to do , that unethical way , but should stimulate the good sides of people instead & teach them how to cop with their dangerous irrational impulses , reflexes , basic instincts ....

    Note that exact sciences & human sciences, including the main-stream psychology, evolutionary psychology, behaviourism .... have been dominated by materialism as an ideology, as a view of life : a paradigm ....excluding all non-materialistic paradigms in the process .
    Science has been hijacked by an ideology = materialism .

    According to the materialistic monistic ethics ( including the liberal or marxist ones ) that can be traced back to Spinoza's ethics :

    There is neither good nor evil as such , no free will , .......

    what have those ethics to do with science then ? nothing .

    Ethics that are not a matter of facts but a matter of ideological moral ethical references & views of the world, life , the universe ...

    P.S.: individual freedom in the absolute sense or democracy that consider the individual as a totally rational entity is a myth thus : the people rule is a myth : see how in reality the masses are manipulated in order to "choose" a certain political moral ethical ideological economical ...direction .

    democracy is a myth thus .

    Congratulations .

  83. Way above average, I am glad somebody had the balls to confront philosophy in documentary.
    The fact that Bernays was able to manipulate masses so effectively, only proves power of Freud's theories! Theory is neither good nor bad, it depends how you use it. I am quite sure Freud would not approve mass consumerism! But even if he did, it does not prove him wrong.
    It is like the fact they were able to make atomic bomb from Einsteins predictions (even if Einstein may have been a pacifist) It does not make his theories wrong.

    Did you know Lacan was best interpreter of Freud, And Slavoj Zizek is best interpreter of Lacan. Please go and read some of this stuff - do not make uninformed judgments!

    1. Hi:

      See my response above , after this one , i guess.

      Thanks,appreciate .

  84. Pretty good documentary. Let's be honest. We have destroyed half of this Planet, because we were not allowed to develop a personal in-sight and create our own way of life. Fitness clubs - a typical example of the most abusive, manipulative experiment. Surrounded by photoshop images and asexual body builders who inject themselves with pharmaceutical products /... NO NO NO.

    We are destroying our Planet and destroying our natural compassion and ration due, because we it is lazy to believe a lie than seek the Truth.

  85. Here it seems like Freud is to blame for irrational human instincts, as if he invented them?! As if they were not there before him, he just discoverd them and made them visible. It is like blaming Newton for gravity. :)
    This whole idea of people making rational decisions goes agains everything I know about human nature. Name any human era that was "normal" or rational.
    Personally I think we are doing surprisingly well, considering we crawled out of mud few houndreeds milions years ago... We like to compare ourselves with angels, that is why we have such high expectations, but scratch the surface and our savage past comes out.

  86. wow this is amazing o.o

    If a Candidate really wants to make a change and help people awaken and adapt against this type of things, they need to link this Documentary. (ones you know you cant fall for it and began to really think of that there voting for)

  87. i freaking love freud.

    1. Why? most of what he said was wrong.

  88. After watching this, you just understand why and what happened 9/11. same manipulations of masses.
    And how come nothing has changed since 70's and 80's ? :/

    1. Exactly :

      How can one still pretend that real democracies would exist where the masses rule : the people rule is a myth .

      Those criminal rulers just manipulate the masses at will , under the so-called democracies , under dictatorships totalitarianism such as those of Stalin , Hitler , Kaddafi....

      Instead of stimulating the good sides of the masses , politicians, marketing people, business, capitalists ...manipulate the desires , reflexes, basic instincts of people turning the masses into vulgar greedy never-satisfied consumption robots in the current west & elsewhere : no wonder that capitalism still rules today worldwide.

      By the way : i've always despised Freud after being fascinated by his work :

      Freud is the perfect example of the fact that psychology is a pesudo-science relying on paradigms mostly , not on facts , even though Freud was right here & there , to some extent at least, but he was fundamentally wrong of course .

      Disgusting how he considered all human behaviour as a reflection of the sexual drive as if man can be reduced to one monocause .

      Freud's " 3 contributions to the sexual theory " is pure subjective pornographic mythical fantasies : disgusting.

      Freud 's "Totem & Taboo " is full of Greek_Roman & other myths taken as facts ; what has that to do with science ?

      Freud was/is one of the biggest causes of turning man into a vulgar consumption selfish greedy animal thanks to darwinism also .

    2. saying that psychology is a pseudoscience because of Freud is like saying that chemistry is not science because of the alchemists who came before it.

      Freud was more than 100 years ago. psychology has advanced a lot since him.

      however as much as i do agree with you when it comes to his psycho-sexual theory, and the totem & taboo, i have to give him credit where it is due and that is on his ideas on the subconscious.

      and the last part of your comment...blaming Freud and Darwin for humanities greed?? wow. thats like blaming Newton for bombs.

    3. You did not understand me correctly, my friend , i am afraid :

      What i meant is that Freud had invented most of his psychology with no scientific grounds to base it up on .

      If some patient of his wouldn''t fit into his theories ,he just considered that patient in question a psychologically sick one , to be more simple= pseudo-science at its worst thus .

      Next time , i will try to elaborate on that , i have temporarily no time , sorry , so, i will leave it at just that .

      Thanks, appreciate

    4. i fully understand now.

  89. This is an eye-opener. It's sad to see how easily manipulated humans are. Every person should watch this and realize we have always been considered unable to think rationally and that the "elite" should make all decisions for us. This was the Corp manipulation that took over our Government and destroyed our democracy. It took years, through trial and error by them, to take over.

  90. So cigarettes are a a symbol of the penis? I smoke unfortunately so what I'm doing is putting a penis in my mouth and sucking it repetitively? I don't think so... women were oppressed at the time, you could have given them any one of the taboos and they would have jumped at the chance to wave a symbol of rebellion in the faces of men hence burning bras, which they continued to actually wear as they gave support. Now our days many women (and men) are giving up smoking because of the now realised health issues related to smoking. Are women giving up their freedom in favor of oppression? No. 13 minutes through and I can't watch any more of this B.S I was always a proponent of Carl Jung who said the subconscious is the true self, caring nurturing, compassionate. The conscious is the false ego damaging and in relentless pursuit of the interest of ones self. It closely ties in with the Buddhist belief. Think about it the next time you do something nice for someone you make that decision almost instinctively, unless its for a birthday or some such reason which is planned. The next time you screw someone over, that normally take forethought and conscious decision making.
    Freud also pioneered the dream dictionary... Since a child my dreams have always been of violence, In the army before I was ever actually in the army, on the run from something chasing that I never actually or trying to survive a doomsday scenario normally a water world situation. I looked that up in several different dictionaries and they all said I was afraid of losing the family business... I'm the bottom of the barrel of the lower class there is no family business. If these idiots ever succeeded its because they stumbled across a method they didn't even understand. Oh correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Freud also say most men secretly want to murder their father and bone their mother?

  91. i totally agree with another comment this should be part of school curiculam. it explains things so wonderfully that a teenager would have a good understanding of society and psychology after watching ,even though these ideas are not new to me ,i still sit back in astonishment when you hear just how cunning the advertising men actually are , the techniques they must use today huh ?

  92. In Adam Curtis and Zeitgesit 2011 we trust! This and the rest in the Adam Curtis Collection (The Power of Nightmares, The Trap and more) are all must see documentaries.

  93. What I saw in this documentary is that neither extreme is completely successful and that what has developed is a society filled with people who are only concerned about their own desires. I believe that capitalism is the best way for the economy to succeed, but what I believe will keep capitalism in check is some self discipline! People need to be responsible for their own actions. Understanding that you can only buy what you can afford is something that has been lost in our society and unfortunately our government. Living beyond your means and always wanting more makes for unhappiness. Start focusing on what you need and then buying what you want as you can afford it is a more responsible way of life.

    1. I detect a libertarian here with a hint of conservatism.

    2. Maybe people wouldn't feel compelled to buy things they don't need or can't afford if credit cards were'n't advertised so much. I have been getting credit card junk mail for years before I ever had a card. Commercials depict credit cards as status symbols, and our consumer culture urges us to buy more and more. Our ability and desire to be live within our means is being intentionally disrupted and manipulated, making it difficult to make the right choices. I do agree that we need to take personal responsibility for our actions and develop self discipline, but it's going to be an uphill battle as long as the people in power keep the deck stacked against us. Our society is filled with traps designed to ensnare us in debt, get us addicted, and erode our ability to think rationally.

  94. Is this documentary seriously trying to convince us that individuals are a fiction invented by ad men to sell more cars and clothes?

    He is arguing against self-rule? It as if he is trying to prevent us from declaring our independence. Let Adam Curtis know we will be celebrating the 235th anniversary of such a declaration in about a week.

    1. This all depends how you define yourself. Do you define yourself through the things that you purchase or your character? Before you answer look around you and see what you have. Do you always go out and buy the newest things? Or do you wait until somethings breaks down before you get the new product. I do not remember his name but it was a psychologist who was paid by a few car companies who said the way to sell the SUV to consumers is to get their animal instinct out and sell it to them like they will go out to the woods and be back with nature. Then someone ask " but nobody will use an SUV for this purpose" his response was "it does not matter what they use it for but the perception that they believe in". This is one example how we are manipulated to believe is something that is not really needed. Also look at kids responses towards video game consoles I myself included when I was younger. Sega is better/no Nintendo and now it is PlayStation or Xbox360. All consumers saying one is better than the other is irrelevant what matters to them is the loyalty to the corporation. Best way to see how advertising works and mass media is to turn your cable TV off for 1 month if you watch TV to see what effects it has on you or if you do not have cable get it for 1 month and see what effects it has on you. You can run these test in your home and will be surprise at the results.

    2. It's called a duopoly. Coke or Pepsi? Ford or Chevy? Mcdonald's or Burger King? Democrat or Republican? It keeps us divided, in an us vs. them attitude. How can a society at war with itself ever unite to face it's true enemies? Marketing and social control are becoming even more disturbing sciences than they were just 10 years ago. I recently heard of a new field of study called neuromarketing, which uses functional MRI brain scans to see how or brains react to advertising. Advertisements can then be changed as needed to provide the most effective means of creating the desired response. Many advertisements appeal to the more "primitive" regions of the brain like the limbic system, which are responsible for emotions.

      When I was a young child, my dad only let me and my brother watch PBS. At the time, I just wanted to be like the other kids and watch cartoons, but I'm grateful now. He helped keep me from being indoctrinated with consumer culture at a young age. I think this is why I never jumped on the bandwagon of haing to have the latest, greatest toy, or car, or clothes. Thanks Dad!

    3. @ Mark Stouffer
      "He is arguing against self-rule?"

      Adam Curtis is not arguing for, or against, anything!

      Adam Curtis is spoon feeding you history.

      If you cannot tell the difference, then maybe you have
      been more affected by the Boob-tooB than you realize.


  95. Greek Prime Minister won the elections in October 2009, his main message - and actual wording - throughout the campaign being 'there is money'...Hurray for the focus groups, right?

  96. All that effort to suppress the 'savage' side of the human mind when the clear solution is to have humans understand this side of themselves. To be aware of it is to be able to see it in yourself and therefore not be victim to it. Of course this approach would not allow those who crave power to control the masses.

  97. Great set to watch: Zeitgeist, Century of Self and Human Resources! All kids should understand this or at least be exposed to it. They are after all (if we dont mess this planet up too much) going be the directing/deciding masses one day. Great set!

    1. Agreed 1000%! Definitely catch the Zeitgeist 2011 Official Release on Youtube...

  98. This should be required viewing for every high school student in their government class.

  99. meh, good doc, but nothing astoundingly new that i was unaware of

  100. We are a species that has "free will" or "freedom of choice," semantics aside. This part of the human condition has always had, and will continue to have, both terrible and wonderful consequences.

    Answers to what system, generally speaking, for both individuals and society as a whole, works best is already written in history...

  101. Existential philosophy would say that the our life’s are meaningless, we search for answers from the universe and get no reply, out of this confrontation we realize that our life’s are indeed absurd – what is called existential angst.

    Faced with this we have two choices ( a) create a meaning by taking a leap of faith religion for example, or (B) commit suicide. This is rather grim indeed suicide or faith. The western world today is a much more secular society than it was previously, or earlier in the century. So why is there not mass suicide or a re-embracing of religion? This documentary partly answers that question by highlighting our new religion - individual identity - given to us by the products we buy. It is a thinly held together illusion that gives us this meaning. my question is not how to destroy this illusion; but rather if this falls apart what will replace it, can we have a ‘society’ that does not allow a search for meaning as part of its framework? Because sitting here writing this I think of communism, which is a search for collective meaning, liberalism which is embracing individual meaning, and most other political systems that come to my mind are in one way or another searching for meaning. We are so complicated us humans, yet this is a common thread that links us all, and indeed in many ways a mystery.

  102. This makes me remember the quote from C.P. book "Fight Club".

    "I wonder what type of furniture expresses me best."

  103. Brilliant documentary. I've often felt that I cannot connect with modern politics, and that rationality seems to have taken a backseat. Until I watched this, I couldn't seem to understand what could have led us so astray.

  104. @Philonous

    Ha, an opinion on Curtis I agree with that's rare! One thing I find brilliant about Curtis is that, his work promotes political thought and makes the viewer form an opinion.

    If I where to have a question to put to him, it would be to ask if this is his intention, or if it was an accidental result of the pressure placed on him to remain politically neutral whilst producing his work?

    Whatever the answer, the style with which he tells us his "story's" is utterly unique and spell binding.

  105. It was possible to persuade people to behave irrationaly, if you link products to their emotional desires & feelings.

  106. check gustave le bon's 'The Crowd - A Study Of A Popular Mind'.. this mans work influenced freud.

  107. Absolutely amazing and eye opening!

  108. Agreed, this is an amazing documentary. The concepts parallel Spiral Dynamics theory. The video ends eluding to a system where self-centered individualism becomes more responsible to the larger groups welfare. This value meme is called orange/Green. American NeoCons used the term 'compassionate conservative' to connect to voters in this meme after the Clinton Administration.

  109. From what i see I don't think Adam Curtis is a "conservative" it appears to me that criticizing the big businesses for manipulating people's unconscious desires to buy their products is a very liberal-like criticism; Also Adam Smith's Power of Nightmare was heavily criticized by conservatives and neo-conservatives, and praised by liberals.

    Even if Adam Curtis is a "conservative" his documentaries are nonetheless interesting and thought-provocative. As someone else said, I don't think Adam Curtis is promoting collectivism, he hasn't given the slightest hint on that; he's criticizing what the individual has become: a self-centered, irrational, and consuming individual as oppose to a rational, disciplined, and socially active individual.

    Anyways I saw this documentary several times and I love it, not only do I enjoy its explanation of the history of public relation in connection with psychoanalysis and consumerism; I enjoy interpreting the documentary as a historical criticism against consumerism and the manipulative practice of big businesses.

  110. &
    Pandora's Box
    The Living Dead

    - all available here!

  111. Collectivism is not at all being promoted by Adam Curtis (whose personal political persuasion is 'Conservative'), in fact he is completely against 'Liberalism'. His documentaries are without doubt the pinnacle of the genre and as has already been said here ESSENTIAL viewing if you want to educate yourself and forget all that we have been conditioned to accept as 'reality'

    Power Of Nightmares
    The Freedom Trap
    The Mayfair Set

    All superb..

  112. Very informative series. Lots of good information, but with a liberal slant.

    Collectivism, which is being promoted here, is not something one should aspire to. Collectivism has given us regimes and a mob mentality.

    As Margaret Thatcher said, "the problem with socialism is sooner or later you run out of other people's money". You can't rob Peter to pay Paul forever. Sooner or later Peter will be broke. I guess socialists and collectivists feel it is better for everyone to be broke, though.

    What is sadly lacking is a realization that the talking heads, the movers and shakers behind "spread the wealth" are living high on the hog themselves. In the U.S. we see movies stars and other big names trying to promote socialism with all their might, while they have been made filthy rich by capitalism. Hypocrites, all.

    1. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is a socialist. Do you get your understanding of isms from a box of Cracker Jacks?

  113. Indeed Very comprehensive research on the whole field of manipulation of the masses - a nice view on this.

    Surely on of the best docu - alon with the docu "Flow" water.

  114. All I have to say is that this is one of the best doc's Ive ever seen....Must watch, will answer a lot of questions one may have of this world.

  115. Amazing documentary. Mind blowing, really. Although, it crystalizes what I have always sensed over the last few decades. That the "self actualization" or "self esteem" movements, in various forms, are not only abject failures, (in that they accomplish nothing but allowing you to become more of a robot), but they are also dangerous.

    Self absorption, (like Narcissus staring at himself in the water), is just another way to hypnotize you into not noticing what you are losing when it is taken away.

    The vast majority of us will never be rich. The vast majority of us will never be famous, in fact, most of us will be forgotten in as little as 50 or 100 years after we die. If you're lucky your genetic material may carry on, and that is all that nature wants from you. We will probably, none of us, have any lasting impact on the world.

    That is fine by me. I don't want any record that I was part of this horrendous species after I am gone, but most people in this country actually secretly think they are special enough to be rich and famous someday. It boggles my mind.

    Anyway, just be content to live a good quiet life, helping when you can, don't hurt anybody, and just go out with some quiet dignity. That's all most of the human race has tried to do for most of it's history. Can't that be enough for Americans?


    1. horrendous species? yikes! no wonder you want to remain anonymous. sad.

  116. This is by far the greatest and most important documentary I have ever seen.

    The ammount of research and vital connections it makes into the world of politics, psychology and business is trully astonishing.

    This documentary changes the way you see everything!

    Adam Curtis - You're a genius!

    If you haven't seen it Run (don't walk) to catch it all!

  117. great insight on how the world works, both economically and politically. great insight into the evolution of the 'self' in the last 100 years. this was a great watch, very important.

  118. I need to go out and buy this! It will complete my infinite self identity.

  119. This should be regular curriculum in school. Children need to be taught how to rationally understand their own minds before they can develop some of greatest gifts associated with living in a civilized society. Love,empathy,compassion,justice; an innumerable figure of life altering insights. And above all a collective purpose.
    My hat is off to the BBC for this one.

    Noah York

  120. u may start to read existentialism starting with kirkeegard...

  121. Wow, Amazing, we take for granted the world we live in but, its interesting to see how much of it is an artificial construction. Also how are lives are in a sense scripted. Does anybody now of any books on subjects such as these?

  122. Most certainly one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. This is journalism at its best! A great documentary which stretches over the entire 19th century. RESPECT!

    ***** (5 Stars)


    Best Regards,
    Der Oberst

  123. this touches on so many areas of human existence in society, fascinating.....Thank you to the film makers for trusting us with this information! Here's to the intelligence and sanity of the mass public!!!!!!!

  124. That's an amazing documentary indeed!
    Leaves you thinking about the exciting complexiness of human mind

  125. This is one of the most important documentaries ive ever watched. ESSENTIAL.