A documentary about the rise of psychoanalysis as a powerful means of persuasion for both governments and corporations.
The legacy of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud informs the lives of people throughout the world even to this day, though it’s a phenomenon of 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.
Part 3: 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, 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 program shows how this rapidly developed in American 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 realized 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.