The Century of Self is a fantastic BBC documentary series I recently discovered either by a random Tweet or from my trolling on YouTube. I’m not sure anymore. I save so many links and resources in my bookmarks with promises to revisit them. During the holidays I did a clear out and re-organizing of my saved links and thankfully I did.
Released by BBC Four in 2002 by filmmaker Adam Curtis, the series, featuring four episodes in total (“Happiness Machines”, “The Engineering of Consent”, “There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed”, and “Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering”) , as Curtis describes, “is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”
It explores the impact of Sigmund Freud‘s theories and the use of psychoanalysis by politicians and public relations agencies over the past 100 years. What’s fascinating is the use of PR to influence and determine how to make people buy certain products – just watch the section on Betty Crocker’s cake mix.
This is episode 2: “The Engineering of Consent”, though I highly recommend you watch the rest of the episodes as well. (Click on the links above.)