What is this documentary about?
How those in power (namely, mega corporations) used Sigmund Freud’s theories to brain washed people to buy shit they don’t need.
How to control the population using mass psychology
A rich tobacco owner called Bernays and the conversation went like this:
Rich tobacco owner with billions in his bank account: “Hey Bernays, what’s up. We need to make more money – convincing men to smoke our tobacco and giving them cancer is not good enough. We need to give women cancer too – but smoking for women is a taboo. What should we do?”
Bernays: “Don’t worry my nigga, I got your back on this.”
How Edward Bernays convinced the world to smoke
But first, a little introduction on Edward Bernays.
He worked as a marketer for huge corporations, then he worked for the American government during World War I – his job? Spreading propaganda.
(He invented the world “public relations” because the Nazi was giving propaganda a bad name)
“War is good! America fights for freedom!” was Bernays’s slogan. Upon hearing this, the mass of Americans cried patriotic tears.
After War World I was done, Bernays wondered if he can use what he learned – mass psychology – to get people to buy things.
Before War World I, there was no consumer culture; Americans bought what they needed.
Bernays and his corporate friends weren’t happy with that because they wanted people to buy their shit.
So Bernays and his rich friends engineered a way to brainwashed Americans into obedient consumers using Sigmund Freud’s theories.
How did Bernays convinced the mass of women to smoke?
He hired a bunch of semi-celebrities to high up cigarettes during a march. He warned newspaper reports about this, as a way to get free attention.
The women, upon lighting up their cigarettes, screamed: “this is the torch of freedom!”
Seemingly overnight, smoking was the cool and hip thing among women. Cigarette sales spiked.
Marketing 2.0 – how to get rich off people for fun and profit
In 1920s America, people bought things only because they needed it.
Rich corporations wanted to line up their pockets with more money, so they brain washed the public to want things.
Instead of giving factual information on the products, they linked the products with emotions.
… buy this new skirt, you will feel sexy.
… buy this car, it will make you feel young again.
… buy this perfume, men will love you more!
As of 2015, the public has been brain washed by corporations close to a 100 years. A century of brain washing!
Which explains why:
… people drink Coke Cola, even ought it rots their teeth, gives them diabetes and cancer (aspartame)
… why people buy iphones (but struggle to pay the phone bill)
… why 70 percent of Americans are obese (food corporations have perfected the art of making junk food – just the right texture, salt, fat, and sugar so “I bet you can’t just have one!”)
Edward Bernays (and those who wielded political power) believed people were dumb and that they must be control through consumerism.
Like children, they must be distracted with the latest, coolest toys.
American politicians saw the underclass revolt in Russia. In order to keep the underclass happy, they need to become obedient consumers.
President Roosevelt won the elections twice. He believed the common man was not a dumb consumer and could make rational decisions.
President Roosevelt clamped down on corporations (more strict laws?) This made the corporations angry, so they formed a lobby group called “National Association of Manufacturers” that exist to this very day.
During WWII, many soldiers were sent home for mental break downs
The American government used Freud’s psychology theories called psycho analysis to help out the soldiers.
What is psycho analysis? Beliefs that people are driven by subconscious behaviors and childhood traumas.
The US Government passed the 1946 Mental Health Act. What’s that? Government sponsored program using psycho analysis to help people, from soldiers to married people.
Did psycho analysis helped America? It’s hard to say because I haven’t done enough research.
And – surprise surprise! – they used psycho-analysis to help sell more stuff to people.
What the politicians think of its people
Edwards Bernays and the ruling class thought the public was dumb and dangerous. So they needed to be manipulated what to think.
Edward Bernays’s psychological weapon was psycho-analysis. Because money is power, they used psycho-analysis to help corporations get richer.
How to kill people for fun and profit
United Fruit Company, which ran it’s banana plantation in Guatemala, hired Edward Bernays to persuade the American government to bomb Guatemala.
Because Guatemalan people elected a new president to run the country and the president promised to kick out United Fruit Company who was exploiting the country’s resources.
United Fruit Company said: “Fuck no, we got money invested in this country. We’ll remove you first, mother fucker!”
So Edward Bernays convinced America that Guatemala was a communist country through PR and people believed.
(He also hired actors to stage anti-American protests)
So what can we learn from history?
- Power corrupts, absolute power absolutely corrupts
- No matter what time period in history, the ruling class will always look down the plebs with distain
- Those with money will protect it, whatever the means
The rise of the evil doctors
The rise of psycho analysis gave rise to people like Donald Ewen Cameron – who was notorious for brain washing people. He gave his clients (without their consent) copious amounts of LSD and shock therapy.
He believed that he could create blank state individuals, like babies. Then he could re-program the blank state humans to whatever he wanted.
His experiment was a disaster. All he created were people with memory loss.
How American turned against psycho analysis
Marilyn Monroe was depressed. They thought they could use psycho-anaylsis to help her. She committed suicide in her home on 1952 after a few sessions of psychoanalysis.
Next up, Herbert Marcuse, who was a popular German-American philosopher, said psycho-analysis is bullshit. It’s not the individual that is a monster – it is society that makes the individual a monster.
Psychoanalysis fell out of flavor and gave rise to another thought movement …
The rise of self
Instead of repressing the self, why not liberate the self? Go ahead, cry, scream and let your inner demons ought. This was the new thought movement. In a sense, it was anti psychoanalysis
At the height of the Vietnam war protests, students were getting a beat down by the cops. So the Left thought, instead of fighting against the cops by bombing stores and doing protests, why don’t we infect them with a mind virus (ideologies)?
Infect young kids with Left ideologies, so they don’t grow up to be cops.
(And now, you got the rise of certain group of white males, limped wrist, sipping on their Starbucks while browsing on their Macbook – the rise of Stuff White People Like)
The Human Potential Movement was a mass movement during the 1960s. It’s mantra was “love yourself!”, “be the best you can be!”, “you’re unique and special!”.
Instead of protesting and changing society as a whole, the mantra was to ignore society and focus on yourself.
Seemingly over night, America got more narcissistic.
Lifestyle marketing, explained
Corporations started sending out questionnaires – so they could discover people’s lifestyles. By understanding the consumer’s lifestyle, the corporations could sell them more stuff.
Jane likes to go out clubbing and she’s a student. We can sell her high heels and cheap vodka!
Bob is a middle aged IT manager is hitting a middle life crisis. We can sell him a Harvey Davidson!
Mary just got a divorce! We can sell her Lulumon pants and make up – we know she’s going back on the dating market any time soon!
So how did the corporations profit from this?
People have been taught that they can buy an identity – instead of putting in the hard work.
… why some men, who barely exercise, buy Under Armor name brands.
… why gym beginners often protein shakes in between exercises (the seasoned gym goers drink water)
… why men wear gloves in the gym while doing sit ups and push ups.
Which reminds me – my friend got into a fitness phase where he bought buckets of protein shake, weights and expensive vitamins.
He quit exercising 3 weeks in.
How to influence people without them knowing
Product placement in movies and in news is nothing new – they have been doing this since the 1960s.
15 years ago, when I was a teenager, I was watching TV and saw a news report on “what helps prevent cancer.”
According to a university study, eating ketchup (which is filled with sugar – why not just eat tomatoes?) helps prevent cancer.
The camera panned to a family eating burgers and fries and spraying copious amount of Ketchup.
What ketchup name brand were they using?
Take a wild guess how much revenue Heinz makes in 1 year.
… got it?
Thanks for the advertisement insert in the news report, Heinz!
Anyways – back to the story – when I was an unthinking pleb, I went out to buy ketchup the next day because “well, it prevents cancer, right?”
But wait … the rabbit hole goes deeper.
How to give people the illusion of choice
Coke or Pepsi?
Mcdonalds or Burger King?
People pride themselves in individualism – and corporations catered to them.
When a pleb orders a TV package, they have a choice of selecting different packages – do you want more cooking channels? More sports? High definition with instant replay?
… at the end of the day, they’re still consuming shit.
(Someone tell the plebs to save money by streaming online)
How election campaigns used psycho-analysis to win votes
At one point, Bill Clinton was losing votes during his campaign.
“How the heck do I win more votes?” He asked himself. So he hired a big think tank marketing company to help him out.
Enter Dick Morris – who helped Bill Clinton win the campaign.
The conversation went like this:
Dick Morris: What’s up my nigga, you getting your dick sucked in the hood?
Bill Clinton: Nah homie, I’m in the strip club making it rain. But I need to win the election!
Dick Morris: I got your back, my nigga. Instead of boring Average Joe about foreign policies and free market, appeal to his selfish desires. Tell him about not hiking tax, more tax cut, making the neighborhood more safe for his kids – just make the easily scared Joe and Jane feel safe, ya know what I’m sayin’?
Bill Clinton: Man, you’re one smart nigga. Alright, I gotta go, my lap dance time is up.
Bill Clinton’s popularity soared and he won the election by appealing to the mass of suburb voters.
Fast forward to 2015 – remember President Obama’s slogans?
“Yes we can!”
Because Obama looks black (even ought he’s half white), he appealed to many black voters by giving them hope. And black people went crazy, “we got a black president now!”
He played his role as a fully black man, and down played his half white genes. Some smart black people think Obama is a white man in disguise.
It goes without saying, Obama played his race cards right and won the election.
Conclusion – great documentary but the rabbit hole goes even deeper
I heard of “The Century of Self” a couple years ago – it was hailed as great documentary. But it looked pretty old, so I did not watched the documentary until now.
(It would have been great to watch this documentary sooner)
This documentary is somewhat of a mind fuck, something the average pleb isn’t aware of.
I’m looking forward to watching more great documentaries like this one.