The Century Of The Self: Controlling The 'Dangerous Crowd' In An Age Of Mass Democracy

Tyler Durden's picture

"This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy," begins Adam Curtis, as he describes the propaganda that Western governments and corporations have utilized stemming from Freud's theories (and his nephew Bernays).

The business and political world uses psychological techniques to read, create and fulfill the desires of the public, to make their products or speeches as pleasing as possible to consumers and citizens. Curtis raises the question of the intentions and roots of this fact. Where once the political process was about engaging people's rational, conscious minds, as well as facilitating their needs as a society, the documentary shows how by employing the tactics of psychoanalysis, politicians appeal to irrational, primitive impulses that have little apparent bearing on issues outside of the narrow self-interest of a consumer population.

The words of Paul Mazur, perhaps ironically working for Lehman Brothers at the time, sum it all up: "We must shift America from a 'needs' to a 'desires' culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed... Man's desires must overshadow his needs."

Episode 1: Happiness Machines (17 March 2002)


Episode 2: The Engineering of Consent (24 March 2002)

Episode 3: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed (31 March 2002)

Episode 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering (7 April 2002)

*  *  *


h/t Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform blog

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
MisterX's picture
MisterX (not verified) Jan 1, 2015 9:20 PM
Miggy's picture

It works in the opposite as well. Try using a major search engine to research something complex to try and learn something be it finance, computers, whatever. The results on the first few pages are filled with articles that use technical jargon that are written clearly to try and confuse you or are just incorrect. I have noticed this more and more over the years to now it is at such a point I start at page 10 of any search result if I can get anything at all.


Also these search engines use page spead as a ranking mechanism. I am always leary of a site that is not in my cache but loads fast. Sound funny? It's true.


Work out your salvation, this world does not mean that much anyway.


John 3:16

Self-enslavement's picture
Self-enslavement (not verified) Miggy Jan 2, 2015 10:15 AM

The Chosenite agenda of total enslavement is dependant on total enforcement and propaganda.

SAT 800's picture

The above series isn't the right series; there's more; and it's absolutely devastating. If I get around to it, I'll post the link to the three videos; they're on some video site or another; I've got it bookmarked.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It's all right out there in the open if we're willing to honestly look.

<Which means we must also be willing to recognize the prior conditioning already embedded within ourselves.>

Man Who Was Thursday's picture

Adam Curtis is a brilliant documentary maker.

The only documentary I wasn't able to get my head around was "All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace". I simply did not agree. Everything else is gold.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have some problems with Adam Curtis when he is producing for the BBC. Since the BBC is a full fledged organ of the (UK) state I always wonder what did not get past the censors. And why some stuff did get past the censors.

jaap's picture

The man who killed Kennedy was also a Beeb doc.

Ghordius's picture

those BBC censors...
do you expect them to be more efficient then those of the Big Six?

Your guess is as good as mine's picture
Your guess is as good as mine (not verified) Cognitive Dissonance Jan 2, 2015 7:34 AM

He's not exactly producing for the BBC, he's freelance and it just so happens a lot of his stuff is aired by the BBC. 


He's representing what many in the BBC think but aren't allowed to say because of impartiality clauses in the licence fee structure.

SAT 800's picture

He's the real deal. lI learned a lot from watching the full series of documentaries; including the one; among many, that the BBC had blocked from U-Tube, (for "copyright reasons); but none of the other ones ?? This made me a little curious and I found the "missing documentary" on one of those slightly sleazy video posing sites, where they never seem to get any copyright notices. It was mind boggling. That guy has got the whole picture; he understands exactly what's going on, and it didn't take 15 minutes in to see why they didn't want that one on U-Tube. I think somebody in the "Ministry of Truth" got fired over letting that series get published at all. Highly reccomended.

SAT 800's picture

If you think you have problems with him; it tells me one thing right away; you didn't watch the banned documentary; the one that's missing from U-Tube.

Victory_Garden's picture

Control the waterfall of truth?

Sure, go ahead and try it.

Who was that masked man's picture

There is no "truth" other than that which is created by the powers that be for the purpose of controlling those whom they wish to control.  What passes for "truth" is merely a construction in the imagination.

shovelhead's picture

You can fly.

Now go jump off the Chrysler Bldg.

You will find truth pretty quick.

And your imagination will have nothing to say.

Ignatius's picture

You saw Newton's apples floating away in NYC on 9/11 also?

I thought it was only me.


nmewn's picture

Kinda like frrrrreeee health insurance! and ObamaFones?

//// can't tell the difference between what you need and what you desire...and that there is no such thing as a free lunch?

Is someone really making the argument that "the government" putting the arm on Verizon or your local doctor has no consequence to themself?

Fucking bring

bunnyswanson's picture

Person waiting for a delayed SS check states:

1 day 14 hours ago

   · · Android Browser 4.0 on Android

"Dumb idiots,got through to a representative and asked where the rest of my money is,he had no idea what I was even talking about, he looked it up said he was gonna transfer me so that his supervisor could help me and instead transferred me back to the we are experiencing heavy call volume try again later message.

Oh my god I hate this company, I wanna sue, if I knew where there offices were I'd probably shoot every last one of there uncaring asses.

For Christ sake because of this shit I was nearly stranded for three hours in 5 below 0-24 below with windshield and not even dressed for the weather because I thought I could take a cab to the bank and back Ughh!""


Where's my money is the chant on this site.  Kids are going hungry, they state. 

Who was that masked man's picture

I'm saying that "truth" is like the unicorn or like pixies and angels, it exists only in our imagination.  Your truth, my truth, someone elses truth are like our opinions, personal and unique, not absolute and universal.

i_call_you_my_base's picture

In cultural evolution, self delusion and lies win.

Anusocracy's picture

Only if they promote their purveyor's survival.

besnook's picture

that cannot do what they want with the internet in the way so they will have to end the freedom and liberty the internet encourages.

that makes the bottom half of the class the most dangerous people on earth. they are ones who will "willingly" succumb to the scum and lead the rest of us to hell on earth.

souljaboy's picture

I agree with Adam Curtis. That's great. What's not great is there is no one around with whom I can discuss what he and I believe.

lipskid's picture

i agree, I watched this excellent series about Mr. Bernays several years ago, but any time I try to talk about it with other people, they look at me like I am from Mars, (though it could be my Freddie Mercury pornstash.)

Ignatius's picture

"Americans are free to say what they think, but do not think what they dare not say."

-- an immigrant physicist

dreadnaught's picture

In Amerika, you are only free to buy brands A, B, and C-in any color you desire.......thats it

barroter's picture

As a kid, I was quick of thought and precocious.  My Uncle, after hearing what I had to say once chimed in: "You're pretty smart, but you can be too smart for your own good."

Being a kid I didn't have the experience to understand that. I do now.  The pressure to NOT blurt out the truth is fairly strong. So I keep the gems to myself and use them for my own benefit.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

i grow one of those every november. It does make it diffucult to get people to take you seriously

Ignatius's picture

In combination with the tight leather pants and the offensive bulge?

I could see that that might hinder free and open dialogue.

q99x2's picture

I had an igmmicist growing on me. I cut it off before it became another Bernanke.

Your guess is as good as mine's picture
Your guess is as good as mine (not verified) souljaboy Jan 2, 2015 8:45 AM

Maybe you're just speaking with the wrong people.

SickDollar's picture

This is a Must WATCH  Docu, saw it way back in 2002

this will show you  how we became a pure consumer zombie

I love the " adding an egg" story




Flying Tiger Comics's picture

You're JUST NOW catching up on this?


Can't wait until you discover the internet...


The9thDoctor's picture

You're JUST NOW catching up on this?


It's an oldie but a goodie.  Some people may not have seen it or heard of it yet.

caustixoid's picture

This is an excellent series.   Curtis' ability to mine the BBC archives for fascinating footage makes it worth it alone.  It certainly describes the world we live in - governments can no longer offer us a better future so they offer to protect us from our fears, which they create in large measure.  Curtis seems to believe the politicians are actually in charge and making decisions, but hey, no one's perfect. 

SickDollar's picture

+100  the same author covers that  theme in "The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear"

SickDollar's picture

From the same Author:The Power Of Nightmares

Hint: The power Of nightmares is the sequel to "The Century Of The Self",but in  post 9/11 society   (9/10 rating)

Radical Marijuana's picture

Yes, SickDollar, both worthwhile documentaries that I watched a while ago. However, for a while it was hard to find, and some previous links to that were broken. That documentary appears to have become more readily available recently. The Century of the Self deserved to be featured on Zero Hedge, as were these before that:

 Zero Hedge’s collection of economic truth documentaries.

Those are all on my own list of Excellent Videos on Money Systems ,,,

Not long ago, there were too few, now there are too many. I have time to watch them, most people do not. Worse, the overall situation continues to be that evidence and logical arguments mean nothing to systems based on lies, backed by violence. After we figure out what has been happening, there is still nothing realistically practical that can be done to stop the established collective groups of trillionaire mass murderers from punching their debt engines on through hyperdrive!

The banksters and their buddies already own the mass media, and control their political puppets. Any miraculously successful politicians, that might be able to change things, would probably end up being discredited or destroyed in order to prevent that. Moreover, in my view ALL the videos of this kind that I have ever watched fit the pattern of "reactionary revolution." They usually spend about 90% of their time doing good historical analysis, then followed the last 10%, or less, presenting bullshit "solutions" based on impossible ideals, still depending upon false fundamental dichotomies.

The funding to make videos about the social facts regarding the combined money/murder systems, along with the emergence of the psychology that accompanied that politics, is just another subset of the overall problems with respect to funding the political processes in general. The trillion dollar mass media make trillion dollar videos, (practically all the mainstream movies and TV shows) to support their view ... and then proportionally less money is spent to make videos for the fringe market, and then the fringe of the fringe market, and then, the fringe of the fringe of the fringe market. Ironically, the more times one goes through that process of going through the infinite tunnel of deceits, regarding the runaway fraudulence of our financial accounting systems, and self-deceptions, the closer to the economic truth about the combined money/murder systems one gets. However, doing that results in connecting the dots of data that the events on 9/11/2001, as well as the financial crises in 2008, were BOTH INSIDE JOBS, whereby the ruling classes were able to control those that they ruled over, with the overall social situation thereby ending up even worse than it was before those events!

Deeper truths follow the pattern of that radical truth. Economics is a dismal science, and the more one knows the more dismal it becomes. Thus, dismal squared, dismal cubed, and so forth ... Similarly, the more radical economic truth becomes fringe squared, then fringe cubed, and so on ... I present the fringe of the fringe of the fringe position, and that Fringe Cubed position has way too small an audience to sustain the effort to make videos for them.

Instead, the only videos on these topics that I have ever seen appear to me to mostly be more on the general theme of "entertaining ourselves to death." While I like to learn about these things, as far as I can tell the ONLY thing that ACTUALLY FOLLOWS from watching videos, like those linked in the article above, is that THE MORE ONE KNOWS, THE WORSE IT GETS!

I have NEVER yet seen any presentation of the problems which did not follow the pattern of controlled opposition, which is mostly a relatively good analysis of the problems, followed by a collapse to bullshit "solutions."  One of the reasons for that, I believe, is that the more one studies these issues, the more intertwined the combined money/murder systems become, which is why I have settled upon the definition that money is measurement backed by murder. Most of the psychology that enables politics are ways to maintain the self-deceptions which were made by the history of the development of the combined money/murder systems. I have never yet seen any presentation of the social facts which continued to be consistent with those facts when that presentation switched gears from its relatively good analysis of the problems, to then proposing bogus "solutions."

My overall view is that there is just as much reality to the information flowing through the supraconscious ecology as there is to the information flowing through subconscious psychology. However, while there was resistance to accepting the reality of the unconscious processes within ourselves, there is much greater resistance to accepting the unconscious processes beyond ourselves. Most of the psychological explanations for economic and political activities tend to be allowed to stand alone, or be free-floating, WITHOUT connection to the historical selection pressures that developed the frequencies for those various possible psychologies to become what they are today.

Just the same as the political economy actually operated INSIDE the human ecology, so too human psychology was produced by the history of the human evolutionary ecology. However, most people continue to want to operate economics without regard to the environmental ecology, and to explain economics by referring to human psychologies, which are deliberately not connected to the schedule of reinforcements which selected for the relative rates of those possible psychologies to become more or less dominant.

So far, I am not aware of any documentaries which adequately present the connections between the combined money/murder systems, so that the human psychologies would be presented inside of that context. The reasons for that appear obvious, namely the history of successful warfare based on deceits and treacheries, which became the foundation for wealth and power based on enforced frauds. The vast majority of the science of psychology has actually been applied within the context of the ruling classes' war against the consciousness of those they ruled over.

While more and more people are waking up to those social facts, so far I have have never encountered any better presentations of how and why those developed to become the patterns of the existing social facts. The Century of Self is a window into the world whereby the science of psychology ended up much more serving the promotion of the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, rather than enabling people to overcome having been brainwashed to believe in that bullshit.

It is my current opinion that the possible audience that would appreciate and approve of much more radical truths is so extremely tiny that there are no practical ways for such work to get done and be presented. In my opinion, the overall social facts are that, between the established systems, and their controlled opposition groups, the world is more than 99.999999% dominated by bullshit. Almost all of things that people want and need are ALREADY inside of systems which are almost totally based on the bullshit of backing up lies with violence. Therefore, more radical truths about the human condition and civilization appear to me to be desired and approved of by something like less than 0.000001% of the general population.

Of course, such people are probably a million times more probably readers of Zero Hedge, et alia, than found in the general population, inasmuch as it appears far much more common for those who publish on Zero Hedge to have familiarity with the political system being based on enforced frauds than the general population appears to be currently aware of. However, here too, I find that the standing pattern is more than 90% good analysis of the problems, followed by less than 10% collapses back to recommending bullshit "solutions" to those problems.

The9thDoctor's picture

So far, I am not aware of any documentaries which adequately present the connections between the combined money/murder systems, so that the human psychologies would be presented inside of that context

I highly recommend Michael Tsarion's documentaries.  He is the ONLY conspiracy researcher there is (that I know of) who has connected psychology and the conspiracy.

Radical Marijuana's picture

Yes, The9thDoctor, I have watched several of Tsarion's documentaries, and found them very worthwhile. However, I still find him too psychological, and, by his own admission, not sufficiently interested in politics. Moreover, in my view, his conception of "evil" is not connected enough to the concept of entropy, much less is based on a radical critique of the established conceptual formula regarding entropy.

SickDollar's picture


thanks for the links and the wealth of info

Radical Marijuana's picture

For sure, SickDollar, the Internet has awesome in theoretical potential, although it has, so far, not changed anything really significant:

The Net Is Mightier Than The Sword - James Corbett at TEDxGroningen
STP's picture

Very intriguing presentation. I would argue, that the overwhelming amount of information as eloquently pointed out by Mr. Corbett is only a part of the problem.  There are two other factors, not discussed and the first is trust.  How do we trust the information, to begin with?  Do we really evaluate the source and intent, with an open mind?  Is the information truthful or does it simply represent the truth as beheld by the author or authors?

Secondly, while the Internet is a most amazing technology, I wonder too, how a consensus is reached?  From what I see here on ZH, it is used with the Up Vote and most significantly, the Down Vote, a very rare feature on any other Website.  From what I see here, a consensus is formed by the fleshing out of issues and ideas.  Zero Hedge is also unusual, in that it is a multi national community, with it's members coming from a very broad range of business and community sectors.  We hammer everything out here.  It is Fight Club and unfettered by faux countries and customs.   I haven't found anything else in my limited experience that even comes close to what this website does, and I am thankful for it.

I believe that the powers that be, fear this and they would love to shut it down.  I wonder what the reaction would be...?


Radical Marijuana's picture

STP, my view is that the overwhelming majority of "alternatives" are but alternative bullshit. Approach more "truth" is like attempting to appraoch the vanishing point in perspective.

The history of every other technology was a gradual take over by larger and larger corporations. It would be a political miracle if that did not eventually happen to the Internet. Meanwhile, we are lucky to be living nearer to the birth of the Internet, when the original ideals behind its creation still have some reality.

I also agree with you that Zero Hedge is relatively better than any other Web sites that I am aware of, which focus on the topics of interest featured here.

SickDollar's picture

please send me some your trused sites


Radical Marijuana's picture

There are practically none that I still keep on my bookmarks list anymore. Many, that I used to often go to, I finally stopped going to. Given my limited amount of time, I tend to look a little at some of the Web sites that are collectors of Canadian mainstream news, and then look at Zero Hedge for some alternative global news.

The only two Web sites that I currently visit on a fairly regular basis, other than those I mentioned above, are:


I also get lots of emails from various people recommending that I take a look at something, which I usually do ... However, I rarely go back to those sources again after that ... These days, there are practically no Web sites that I "trust" anymore ...

guidoamm's picture

It is important to identify proximate causes versus the ultimate driver. 

The application of psychological techniques is but an adjuvant to an existing arithmetical reality. Political parties and the idea of "democracy" are also but mere conduits for a fundamental policy that was imposed arbitrarily and unilaterally by government. The concept of freedom of choice too is merely a vehicle to cement what is the one fundamental reality that few, assuming they are aware of it, are ready to discuss.

What is not being discussed, to my knowledge, anywhere including on the internet, is the issue of possession - property.

The fundamental issue is money.

From the legal point of view, the money that is imposed unilaterally and arbitrarily by government does not belong to the person that accepts it in exchange for his/er labor.

This is THE ultimate driver of everything else political, social or economic it may be.

The crux of the problem is as follows;

- On on one hand, under penalty of law, government imposes the use of a currency that belongs to a third party

- On the other hand, the owner of the currency has no reciprocal obligation to guarantee the exchange value of the currency

This fundamental dynamic gives rise to an asymmetrical purchasing power advantage thus the concentration of profit thus the concentration of owership.

With no obligation to maintain its exchange value, the owner of the currency will always and everywhere increase the quantity of money in circulation hence it will always and everywhere increase the quantity of credit in circulation

As it has been proven in spades over millennia (the Chinese experimented with this type of monetary system when Europe was still eking a living with flints), this monetary system has arithmetical limits that are quickly reached bringing about the collapse of the system.

Hence the necessity to fragment and polarize society in order to push this system into the remotest corners of the economy and society to stretch out in time the eventual demise.

The perception of "freedom of choice" is therefore necessary in order to increase the circulation of the currency. Freedom of choice must be introduced at all levels (political, economic, societal) and pushed to extremes in order to compensate the inherent and arithmetical reality that is the diminishing marginal utility of the system.

The corollary of this system is that it not only guarantees that government eventually becomes the single largest entity in the economy but it also guarantees that, along the way, government progresses from benign enforcer of the currency (at the outset) to eventually tolerating dubiously legal behavior (for the good of the system) to eventually abetting criminal behavior to, finally, sponsoring criminal acts.

This is how it works

The fact that money does not belong to the person that earns it in exchange for their labor, means that despite presumed physical freedom to travel, we are inherently in debt. 

This is the key to a set of realities that eventually divest society of their wealth and freedom.

Despite the fact we may never have applied for a loan to buy a house or a car, by merely accepting money in our daily life, we are unwittingly responsible for the debts incurred by our sovereign.

Our indebtedness, manifests through the erosion of the purchasing power of the money leading to a constant increase in the cost of living.

As the purchasing power of the money is eroded by the owner of the currency, not only are citizens impoverished but government's fiscal revenue is impaired.

Impairing fiscal revenue, guarantees that fiscality becomes more onerous.

when fiscality becomes more onerous, the regulatory environment becomes more byzantine.

As fiscality becomes more onerous and the regulatory environment more complex, industry and business are monopolized eventually leading to offshoring and an unemployable population.

This is a compounding dynamic of course which ineluctably leads to where we are today.

The long and the short of it is that regardless of the political persuasion of successive governments AND regardless of whether the economy is expanding or contracting, through the constant expansion of the monetary base and credit markets, wealth is increasingly channeled towards the owner of the currency. Thus the more complex and deeper the economy becomes, the more ownership is concentrated in the hands of the finance industry and, in particular, in the hands of the owner of the currency.

You should now begin to understand why in 60 years of presumed democracy and economic freedom, subsequent governments of the center, the right or the left in the West have, invariably and despite differences in style along the way, resulted in a constant increase in the cost of living and the concomitant loss of purchasing power and wealth.

Is there evidence of this dynamic leading to the concentration of ownership? Of course:–the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html