The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Multimedia posted Mar 21 2006, 9:29 PM Source: InformationLiberation Print

The Century of the Self

The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized."
- Edward Bernays


Adam Curtis' acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.

To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund's devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund's great grandson, Matthew Freud.

Sigmund Freud's work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society's belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man's ultimate goal.

Please Note: Viewers should be sure to read Ludwig Von Mises' 'The Anti-Capitalist Mentality' to balance the socialistic elements of this film.

This film was produced by BBC which is Britain's government run news channel, therefor it downplays the evils of government and plays up the vices of business. The enemy is not capitalism or 'consumption' but government and its insidious propaganda. Mass produced goods enrich society because they reduce the amount of time a person has to work to satisfy one's essential needs. Government propaganda debases society because it is used as an excuse for everything from murderous wars of aggression to oppressive economy killing taxation and regulation. When a business sells you something voluntarily you will only buy it if you think the product is worth more than the price you have to pay for it. When the government propagandizes you they are merely giving you excuses to submit to their use of force which will be bearing down on you whether you like it or not. The two are very different and this film does a disservice by confusing them. That said, it's important to understand the propagandists who serve to justify the crimes of the state. Selling someone a product they don't truly "need" hurts no one, selling people on a war they don't need gets millions of people murdered and destroys entire societies. - Chris, InformationLiberation

Happiness Machines
Part One

One: Happiness Machines

The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud's ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn't need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticising the motorcar.

His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.

It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today's world.

See Ludwig von Mises "The Noneconomic Objections to Capitalism" and "The Argument of Happiness" to balance the propaganda in this section.

The Engineering of Consent
Part Two

Two: The Engineering of Consent

The programme explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud's ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses.

Politicians and planners came to believe Freud's underlying premise - that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany. To stop it ever happening again they set out to find ways to control this hidden enemy within the human mind.

Sigmund Freud's daughter, Anna, and his nephew, Edward Bernays, provided the centrepiece philosophy. The US government, big business, and the CIA used their ideas to develop techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people. But this was not a cynical exercise in manipulation. Those in power believed that the only way to make democracy work and create a stable society was to repress the savage barbarism that lurked just under the surface of normal American life.

There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads:
He Must Be Destroyed

Part Three

Three: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed

In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas in America. They were inspired by the ideas of Wilhelm Reich, a pupil of Freud's, who had turned against him and was hated by the Freud family. He believed that the inner self did not need to be repressed and controlled. It should be encouraged to express itself.

Out of this came a political movement that sought to create new beings free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people's minds by business and politics.

This programme shows how this rapidly developed in America through self-help movements like Werber Erhard's Erhard Seminar Training - into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation.

But the American corporations soon realised that this new self was not a threat but their greatest opportunity. It was in their interest to encourage people to feel they were unique individuals and then sell them ways to express that individuality. To do this they turned to techniques developed by Freudian psychoanalysts to read the inner desires of the new self.

[InfoLib Note: The portrayal of Wilhelm Reich in this film is completely wrong, Wilhelm Reich was one of the greatest men to ever live, check out his book "Listen, Little Man!"]

Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering
Part Four

Four: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering

This episode explains how politicians on the left, in both Britain and America, turned to the techniques developed by business to read and fulfil the inner desires of the self.

Both New Labour, under Tony Blair, and the Democrats, led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group, which had been invented by psychoanalysts, in order to regain power. They set out to mould their policies to people's inner desires and feelings, just as capitalism had learnt to do with products.

Out of this grew a new culture of public relations and marketing in politics, business and journalism. One of its stars in Britain was Matthew Freud who followed in the footsteps of his relation, Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations in the 1920s.

The politicians believed they were creating a new and better form of democracy, one that truly responded to the inner feelings of individual. But what they didn't realise was that the aim of those who had originally created these techniques had not been to liberate the people but to develop a new way of controlling them.

Other options to view the film:

1. Click here to watch it instantly in Real Media Format

2. Click here to get to and download it for free

3. Download it directly from the following links, right click and choose "save as".

The Century of the Self -- Part 1--Part 2--Part 3--Part 4
(right click, save as)

There are four parts. Each part is around 160 MB. The video is in MP4 format which requires VLC Media Player (

Media Lens critiques aspects of the film

The Unspoken Rule of Media Reporting: The BBC's The Century of the Self - Part 2 - Part 3

Comments 41 - 60 of 91 Add Comment < Page of 5 >

Posted: Apr 01 2009, 5:06 PM

129241 Best documentary ever.

Read Edward Bernay's book Propaganda (1928), where he explains and sells his "public relations" techniques to business leaders. Fulltext online:
Ricardo Johansson

Posted: Apr 26 2009, 11:48 PM

220235 "Liberation of Romance Leads to Safe Politics" and it s follow up can now be viewed on under world news.

Posted: May 10 2009, 11:09 AM

79103 anyone know where can i get greek subtitles for this?

Posted: Jul 14 2009, 6:32 PM

124149 Anyone interested in putting this informatin to good use - for the People, you're weclome to help edit the questions that will begin to help swing the pendulum back towards the best interests of the People. Please go to:
Udo Frentezn

Posted: Sep 18 2009, 4:08 AM

95222 Information to misuses of genetics and bio-technologies with mind manipulating drugs you find at:

Posted: Jan 18 2010, 11:43 AM

216211 The universe could do everyone on earth a big favor and wipe out the human race with a meteor strike.

Posted: Mar 22 2010, 7:45 PM

17489 2Cor:13:11: Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Phil:2:2: Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

1Pt:3:8: Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

Notice how these passage stress the importance of the mind's UNITY. Alas, leave it to the anti-Christ Jew to convince us that the mind should be cleaved into three: "id", "ego", "superego".

The proof is in the pudding, as they say...despite the widespread belief in these "psychoanalytical" theories, the world hasn't improved in the least. Where is the logic in assuming, a priori, that there is such a thing as an "unconscious" mind? Think of the last time you were "unconscious"...and then tell me: "What were you doing or saying while 'unconscious'? (more than likely NOTHING!)

It's ALL BULLSHIT, coming from the Satanic minds of anti-Christ Jews.

Posted: Mar 22 2010, 7:50 PM

17489 Let us not forget that the book "Crystallizing Public Opinion", written by Edward Bernays, was used as the "blueprint" for Josef Goebbel's Nazi program against the the saying goes, 'the chickens come home to roost'. Does that make Edward Bernays an "anti-Semite"? Ha!


Posted: Apr 24 2010, 1:18 PM

68162 The commentary for Part Four is somewhat misleading. The politicians on the Left just copied what the politicians on the Right (Reagan, Thatcher) did first to get elected.

Posted: Jun 08 2010, 1:26 AM

71101 Techno-mass media a beautiful thing. This proves that ppl will never think, individuals think, but never ppl. They will keep reading the same garbage, watching TV like the World is going to end, listening to rap, hip hop, or any other pop self-regulatory BS. Ppl will still try to keep up with trends, myspace, facebook, cloths, and anything that allows them to be part of pop-culture. Its sad, but funny. And as for the creators and the architects, I take my hat to them for being able to eradicate reason and any intelligent; critical thought.

Posted: Jul 14 2010, 4:22 PM


Posted: Aug 29 2010, 10:10 AM

21670 Most certainly there are as many deluded "conspiracy nuts" as there are deluded persons pretending there are no conspiracies at all, & life is just what we make of it, or are just living out "Gods Plan for Mankind".If a person is doing well in their life, they are much less willing to question whether they are tools of someone elses design, & will fight for their lives to defend this wonderful life they have.All I know now, is that this rock hurtling through space is the only thing we all have for sure, & due to media manipulation, we are taught to only care for the things that make the people at the top rich, svelte, & forever in control.I don't really care if the Yokos' daughter story is true-there is enough evidence to prove to me that searching for more relevant information-FOR OUR SUVIVAL-is the most important goal for us all.Thanks for this website.

Posted: Sep 14 2010, 8:40 PM

6883 Chris, you really should explicitly state your strong libertarian POV. I don't think Curtis is a socialist so it is hardly an objective fact that someone needs your pet libertarian counterbalancing tract.

At any rate, what is the state now but the political arm of the capitalist elite? Who controls the state? WHo are the puppeteers of our (s)elected public officials. You are freaking out over distinctions that stopped being relevant a long time ago.

Posted: Sep 14 2010, 9:31 PM

The distinctions have never been more relevant. The illegitimate use of force is only made valid through the imaginary fiction of "government." That the only institution in existence with the assumed right to steal from people and impose it's will on others without question would be controlled by the most powerful forces of society is all but inevitable. It's extremely important to realize free enterprise is not our enemy and terrorist governments are. When the government collapses, which it will very soon just as every empire before it, we need real solutions to the problems of humanity, not just some new Hitler to boss everyone around.

Posted: Sep 15 2010, 12:05 AM

6883 Were the gov't ti dissolve tomorrow, the only groups powerful to assert any authority would be the robber baron elites who currently control the gov't. Only there would be no pretense of the rule of law.

Our problem is bad gov't, not gov't in general. Look a't Sweden or Holland. They have more government involvement on people's lives, but in a positive way; they don't have anything like the AMerican police state.

Our problem is that our democracy is undemocratic; it works for the few and not the many. Too many brainwashed bible thumpers and teabaggers.

Fascism, as Mussolini said is the merging of gov't and corporations. And that is what we have now, with a thin democratic veneer. The libertarian shit is an intellectual dead end and that is why no modern state has attempted to make libertarian principles the organizing principles of any nation. It's some Little House on the Prairie dumb shit.

Posted: Sep 15 2010, 10:01 AM

I love this logic. If you dissolve the government which is entirely controlled and run by the elite then the elite would takeover and we'd lose the only tool powerful enough to control them. Do you see the inherent contradiction?

As Mao said "government comes out of the barrel of a gun."

The tool these corporatists use to control everything is the government, it's the only entity which can rob people at gunpoint and yet retain some perception of legitimacy. If any stranger came and robbed you saying you have to pay them money or else they'll cage you or shoot you, everyone in your town would unite against them because that's clearly wrong. If you shot them yourself you'd be viewed as a hero.

If that stranger put on a government issued costume and came and did the same and you shot him you'd be viewed as a terrorist.

That's the problem with government. It's fake aura of legitimacy allows it to carry out criminal behavior with no limitations. You or I cannot steal from someone at gunpoint, even if we say it's for the persons own good. Government can if it calls it "taxes." You or I couldn't throw someone in a cage because we said they're breaking some city code for not watering their lawn. Government can and calls it "enforcing regulations."

What you're advocating is the "Little House on the Prairie dumb shit." You think we just need to take this inherently evil, two tiered society organization, which gives one group total power over another, inherently splits society into the rulers vs the ruled, and if we just fix it with some little tweak then everything will be fine. That's utterly delusional and that's why statism is being recognized as a complete fraud by more and more people everyday. The present might be purely statist but the future is ours.

Posted: Sep 18 2010, 6:26 PM

78144 The left wing bias of the BBC shines out of these films like a red laser to any Englishman who has gotten over the brainwashing. Sadly most people over here would be unable to smell the stench of bias as we've become used to it; we just dont notice the all pervading reek of bigoted socialist assumptions from the BBC.

Having witnessed the economic and multicultural benefits of socialism under 'new labour', with politicians attempting to ensure 'equality' whilst wasting huge amounts of public money and corruptly pocketing more for themselves, I wonder exactly what sort of government would satisfy the public school educated overpaid TV tax fed Trots who write this stuff. Cuba?.

Posted: Sep 28 2010, 8:31 AM

129137 I find it intersting that suddenly I am finding this site to be very anti govt pro corporation... ? What gives? ..

the thing is is that the govt has been TAKEN OVER by corporations.. so anything the GOVT currently does is being dicated by the WHIMS of the Corporation....

if Monsanto wants to run our agricultural system.. it will do so through the auspices of govt policy... So don't ever forget that!!!!

You all are a bunch of sheep to keep hating govt. WE the PEOPLE are the govt.. .and the private corporations want you to believe they are bad so you will go running into the arms of the private sector.. but by then.. it will all be too late and your power will be gone entirely.. From Corporately owned Govt and the inability to have a locally owned independent business..

They made you all fall for it.. Hook line and sinker! Sad really

Posted: Sep 28 2010, 8:34 AM

129137 the income gap between the richest and poorest is the largest it has ever been!!!!! and Yet you corporatists STILL defend those policies!


because you mistakenly believe that someday your poor lowely life will end up being a billionair!? HA HA HA not likely!..

We should all desire and strive for a more equal society.....

Posted: Sep 28 2010, 3:03 PM

It's anti-gov pro-free market because all the corporations you hate are only as powerful as they are because of the government. You nailed it on the head when you said "if Monsanto wants to run our agricultural system.. it will do so through the auspices of govt policy... So don't ever forget that!!!!"

That is not a fault on Monsanto's part, if they didn't do it someone else will, not to mention millions of other people ARE.

Government is like setting up a red button which if anyone presses it they'll get millions of dollars of other people's money automatically deposited into their bank account. That people would press the button is not some shocking concept. That someone would set up the machinery to steal from people en masse` (taxes) and that this same entity would be the final arbiter with the last say in every dispute (judicial system) makes it's being used for whoever is the most ruthless and willing to exploit it all but guaranteed.

Shut down the government and let people compete on the free market and you'd see a completely different world.
An equal society is a voluntary society where everyone is left alone to do what they please. They can work for themselves or whoever and keep the products of their labor. An equal society is not one where some drug addict by choice makes the same income as Steve Jobs. An equal society is one where anyone who wants to can enter into competition with Steve Jobs without having to beg the government for permission.
Comments 41 - 60 of 91 < Page of 5 >

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

World's Most 'Adorable' Drug Kingpin Is Actually The Daughter of Texas DEA Head Honcho - 11/26Heroic Cops Protect Community by Raiding a Group of 90-Yo Women Playing Mahjong - 11/26Good News: Law Schools In Decline, Bar Passage Rates Plummeting - 11/26VIDEO: Language Barrier Leads to Seattle Cops Punching Man 17 Times - 11/26Let's Talk About...The Plague - 11/26VIDEO: Chicago Protester Gives Cop Epic Stare Down - 11/26Video Of Chicago Cop Murdering Teen Shows Another Shooting of Convenience - 11/25California Police Used Illegal Wiretap Warrants in Hundreds of Drug Prosecutions - 11/25

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up