Outside the Box Video Series: The Century of the Self - WhoWhatWhy

Outside the Box Video Series: The Century of the Self

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Century of Self 1This 4-part BBC mini-series aired in 2002, tracing the development of Freudian psychology and its exploitation by advertising to manipulate people into wanting things they don’t need. The documentary describes the impact of Freud’s theories on the perception of the human mind, and the ways public relations agencies and politicians have used this during the last 100 years for their engineering of consent. Among the central characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. He is widely regarded as the father of the modern public relations industry.

The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism and representative democracy. The series also questions contemporary attitudes toward identity as expressed in fashion.

Part 1: Happiness Machines – Part one documents the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays, who adapted Freud’s ideas in the 1920s to techniques of mass manipulation.

The Century Of The Self 1 of 4 Happiness Machines (17 March 2002) from Erich Nolan Bertussi on Vimeo.

Part 1: Happiness Machines

Part 2: The Engineering of Consent – Part two explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try to control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires –which could be channeled to benefit the manipulators.

The Century Of The Self 2 of 4 The Engineering of Consent (24 March 2002) from Erich Nolan Bertussi on Vimeo.

Part 2: The Engineering of Consent 

Part 3: There is a Policeman Inside All of Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed – In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas, which led to the creation of a new political movement that sought to create new peoples, free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and political manipulation.

The Century Of the Self 3 of 4 There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads He Must Be Destroyed (31 March 2002) from Erich Nolan Bertussi on Vimeo.

Part 3: There is a Policeman Inside All of Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed 

Part 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering – This episode explains how politicians turned to the same techniques used by business in order to read and manipulate the inner desires of the masses. Both Tony Blair’s New Labor in England and middle-of-the-road Democrats led by Bill Clinton tested policy proposals on focus groups to best learn how to advertise them to the public.

The Century Of the Self 4 of 4 Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering (7 April 2002 from Erich Nolan Bertussi on Vimeo.

Part 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering 

Panorama Credits: Sigmund Freud: Ferdinand Schmutzer / Wikimedia / Television Set: John Atherton / Flickr

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5 responses to “Outside the Box Video Series: The Century of the Self”

  1. @John Stewart; What mankind has done to this world in the past 2015 plus years, in the name of GOD or his son Jesus, is some of the most horrible times in history that you can possibly imagine. The only thing that comes close to the unbelievable crimes on humanity is Governments and their ‘rulers’. Pretty sick when you really think about it. That’s why, as far as I’m concerned, you can take almost all present governments and all religions and get rid of them forever before we as human beings end up losing ‘life on earth’ because of religion and politics. Unfortunately if we stay on this same bullshit road we’ve been on for the past thousands of years, we’re doomed. All because of ‘power’, ‘greed’, and ‘control’. Sorry about that, but it’s true!!!

    • Less about ‘in the name of’ than on the foundation of the Monetary Belief system, which upon the shoulders of all other belief systems are hoisted as tools of manufactured consent and desire.

      Freud was very right about his intuition about human instinct, truly his nephew perverted this intuition to the gain of plutocrat puppets of the overlords the so called “masters of the universe”.


    • All of the problems of this fine earth is based on , money, power, greed and control. Put all of these words in a phrase and go to the real dictionary and you’ll find the definition to be, religion and politics. There’s not one religion that’s not based on ‘the big four’ and the same for governments….Sorry but that’s really how it is!.

    • Nah, religion and politics are the superficial layer on top of the Monetary Belief system, they are built on top of it and are the methods and tools used to create the mind-jail and planetary serfdom that we all acquiesce to having control over our daily lives.

      working to pay for membership.

      In the America’s before aboriginals found europeans on the shores there was 100% unemployment and 0% poverty.


  2. Avatar John says:

    There is only one problem….mankind has turned their backs on God. Instead of putting God first, they have put themselves first, and by doing so they have made a total mess of our beautiful world. There is only one way to fix this…..repent and turn back to God. Get on a winning team instead of a losing one. Find out more at ItsHisStory.com. God Bless

    • Avatar Steve says:

      psst god was made up by egyptians to control their slaves. freud figured this out too.

    • There are plenty of problems and this world.
      This world is gaining in social and societal complexity.

      Knowledge and awareness will help many problems.

      One version of belief system is not going to cure a global acquiescence to the pervasive Monetary Belief system in a media saturation culture society, especially when so many versions of the the ‘story’ you purport to be THEE answer exist.

      Even amongst your ‘fellow believers’ you would be hard pressed to agree on a common narrative of ‘your story’ that would be a unified singular story to cure all the ails of humanity.

      Watch the documentary series by Mr. Curtis and learn something. instead of pontificating with an overly simplistic view of life on this planet.