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...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.

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.

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.

Three: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Head: 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.

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.


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VALS: Values and Lifestyles

The original VALS system was built by consumer futurist Arnold Mitchell. Mitchell created VALS to explain changing U.S. values and lifestyles in the 1970s.

Eine etwas buntgemischte Kombination von Werten, Einstellungen, Lebensphasen und Lebensstilen, das seit 1975 vom SRI International (Stamford Research Institute) in Menlo Park, California, verwendet wird. Die Abkürzung "VALS" steht für "Values and Life-Styles" (Wertvorstellungen und Lebensstile). Die von Arnold A. Mitchell begründete VALS-Typologie basiert auf der Typisierung nach Werten bzw. Bedürfnissen und dem davon ableitbaren Wandel des Lebensstils.

The VALS typology comprises four comprehensive groups that are subdivided into nine lifestyles, "each intended to describe a unique way of life defined by its distinctive array of values, drives, beliefs, needs, dreams, and special points of view." These are:


  • Need-driven groups (survivor lifestyle; sustainer lifestyle);
  • Outer-directed groups (belonger lifestyle; emulator lifestyle; achiever lifestyle);
  • Inner-directed groups (I-am-Me lifestyle; experiential lifestyle; societally conscious lifestyle);
  • Combined outer- and inner-directed group (integrated lifestyle).



Sigmund Freud, physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and father of psychoanalysis, is generally recognised as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century. Working initially in close collaboration with Joseph Breuer, Freud elaborated the theory that the mind is a complex energy-system, the structural investigation of which is proper province of psychology.


was a physician-scientist whose investigation of energy functions in human emotions led to the discovery of an unknown energy which exists in all living matter and in the cosmos.


Born on 3 December 1895, Anna Freud was the youngest of Sigmund and Martha Freud's six children. She was a lively child with a reputation for mischief. Freud wrote to his friend Fliess in 1899: „Anna has become downright beautiful through naughtiness..."


- Founder Of Bioenergetic Therapy -



Mitte der 60er Jahre. Esalen, Big Sur, California - ein kleiner grüner Landstreifen an der phantastischen Pazifik-Steilküste Kaliforniens bei Big Sur, etwa 300 km südlich von San Francisco. Das Zentrum der Human-Potential-Bewegung, der therapeutisch-spirituell-politischen Aufbruchbewegung junger Amerikaner in den 60er Jahren.


Michael Murphy

is the co-founder and chairman of Esalen Institute and the author of both fiction and non-fiction books that explore evidence for extraordinary human capacities. During his forty-year involvement in the human potential movement, he and his work have been profiled in the New Yorker and featured in many magazines and journals worldwide. After graduating from Stanford University, he did graduate work there in philosophy, practiced meditation at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in South India in 1956 and 1957, and co-founded Esalen in 1962.

Since the 1960s, the Esalen Institute has been at the forefront of the human potential movement. Now co-founder Michael Murphy, an ardent golfer and former frat boy, is reaching a new generation with his books on spirituality.


William Coulson

was a disciple of the influential American psychologist Carl Rogers and for many years a co-practitioner of Roger's humanistic "non-directive" therapy. In 1964, Coulson was chief-of-staff at Rogers' Western Behavioral Sciences Institute in La Jolla, California.

One of the popular methods of psychotherapy in the 60's and 70's was the "encounter group." The participants in such groups, under the direction of a facilitator, were encouraged to unmask their real feelings as they interacted with the other group participants. As an initial experiment, Rogers and Coulson introduced the "encounter group" dynamic into the Order of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in southern California. The results were devastating...

Thoughts from the man who, together with Carl Rogers, pioneered the practice of "encounter groups." *http://www.issuesetc.org/resource/journals/coulson.htm

Coulson: Full Hearts And Empty Heads, The Price Of Certain Recent Programs In Humanistic Psychology



(1893-1970) was the founder of the Gestalt school of psychotherapy. German-born Perls was known as a strong-willed teacher and therapist who pushed his students and clients beyond their habitual defenses. His books include "In and Out of the Garbage Pail" and "The Gestalt Approach" and "Eye Witness to Therapy".

EST: Werner Erhard

More than thirty years ago, in 1971, Werner Erhard introduced the breakthrough notion of “transformation” to the American public – a notion that created a clear distinction between change within an existing paradigm (no matter how significant) and creating entirely new paradigms.


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