"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin
1. Modern man
Century of the Self
2.1. The point about Freudians, psychoanalysts,
2.2. The end of "The
Century of the Self"
3. Snowden 2 written out
4. Greenwald 1 (DN!)
The Snowden Effect
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
Anyway. Today I have considerably more on Snowden and the Snowden
Effect, and also on Glenn Greenwald, and I preceded that by a somewhat
more theoretical take inspired by Adam Curtis's "The Century of Self",
that I all preceded by a repeat of yesterday's last item, because it is
really good and really pertinent.
I start with
repeating the last item of yesterday, because it is quite
appropriate and quite good: George
Carlin defining Modern Man for you, in a kind of free verse:
It certainly is one of the
last things he ever did, and it is very good. Also, it is very fast and
very clever free verse, so you probably will have to see it at least
twice to get most
But it is pertinent to everything that follows, and especially the next
item, and that is why I repeat it, besides the fact that it is anyway a
good and heartening item, that only takes 3 minutes and 33 seconds.
The Century of the Self
Next, I mentioned Adam Curtis and
his movies, and especially his 2002 four part series "The
Century of the Self"
repeatedly before, e.g. here and here (and in more places, for it is really
Now I do it again, with a new videolink, because it really is
good and appropriate:
As you see, it will take
almost 4 hours of your life, but they are very well spend.
It's in four
parts (in my words): 1. Edward Bernays 2. Anna Freud 3. Reichian
leftist psychotherapy and 4. The new left (Blatcherism/Blairism/Third Way).
It is from 2002, and it is very good. I can't and won't summarize it
all - this Wikipedia item: The
Century of the Self does it somewhat fairly and briefly - but I
will summarize its end, after making a point about Freudianism,
psychoanalysis, and psychotherapy, that are considered, in some depth,
in the first three parts, that I will suppose you have seen,
because they clarify a lot:
2.1. The point about Freudians,
psychoanalysts, psychotherapists etc.
Apart from agreements and disagreements with what you've seen, my point
is this, which I will make in a logical fashion, and back up by my series on the DSM:
Either the Freudians, or the psychoanalysts, or the
Reichian or Laingian psychotherapists who took over from the previous
two, briefly, in the seventies and early eighties are (mostly) right or
they all are not, and either the DSM-crowd (III, IV or 5
doesn't really matter) are (mostly)
right or they
These are just two tautologies,
and the only thing I want to add to it is the claim that the DSM-crowds
are opposed to the foregoing Freudians, psychoanalysts, and
Reichian or Laingian psychotherapy.
This claim is simply true, and will not be opposed by many, and
certainly not by those who know what they are talking about.
My point is simply this: Nearly ALL of these folks, and ALL of these
systematic movements, were specialists in pseudoscientific
who did - in actual fact - hardly know what they are talking about.
Having seen the first three parts of the above The
Century of the Self should
convince anyone this is true about the earlier movements - which, if
even partially and remotely right, are thoroughly opposed to the
DSM-movement, that evidently is a pseudoscience
even without a theoretical basis: See my series on the DSM and
in particular DSM-5: Medicine is a very sick business in the US - 2.
And to stress the bullshit
factor, here is Frankfurt's own
description of bullshit (aka baloney, bogosity,
BS, crap) as cited in my entry on it
in my Philosophical
It is impossible
for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing
bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby
responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it.
When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true;
and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers
his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these
bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of
the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the
honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent
to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care
whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks
them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.
I think it was and is all bullshit, and it was
all mostly consciously contrived by the leaders of these
movements, who are more than intelligent enough to know, but who
neither of them ever admitted, that none of them has the
necessary knowledge to make even a small percentage of the
great and quite false or misleading claims they all have been making,
collectively for more than hundred years also.
-- Harry Frankfurt,
The end of "The Century of the Self"
As I said, I will not
summarize the series, but I will summarize its ending, and will do so
by giving quotes from it:
First, a statement by Curtis what consumerism really
"Consumerism is a
way giving people the illusion of control, while allowing a responsible
elite to continue managing society"
- Adam Curtis
Note that this is an illusion, and
this illusion has been consciously built up for some 80 years now, and
has finally taken hold the last 30 years or so, with all manner of
individuals claiming they are independent selfs who live for themselves
- which is just delusion:
We each and all depend on many tenthousands of people merely to get the
products we delusively consume, and we each and all depend on an
intricate system of laws and conventions, that frame(d) the societies
we live(d) in.
Second, one of the main
inspirers of Curtis (as claimed by Wikipedia):
"It's not that the
people are in charge, but that the people's desires are in charge. The
people are not in charge. The people exercise no decision-making power.
So democracy is reduced from something that assumes an active
citizenry, to something that is predicated on the idea of the public as
Quite so. Again, I stress most
men are deluded
in their beliefs that they are independent consumers who live free
lives of free individual choice: They are neither independent nor free.
But they believe they are, because they have swallowed the myth they are -
which has been systematically and for several generations been pumped
down their throats through advertisements, public relations, and the
- Stuart Ewen
The main reasons this has been done is mentioned by Curtis:
"This would be
challenging the now dominant Freudian view of human
beings as selfish instinct driven individuals, which is a concept of
human beings that has been fostered and engineered by business, because
it produces ideal consumers."
- Adam Curtis
Yes indeed - and "The
Century of the Self" will
show you this Freudian view has been imposed ever since the thirties by
persons like Bernays,
and quite consciously so: It was and is all Propaganda, also
quite cynically so, for according to Bernays, most people
simply are stupid (as his daughter makes quite clear).
Finally, there are
two quotes by Robert Reich, who served in the first but not in the
second Clinton government:
"Although we feel
we are free, we, like the politicians, have become the slaves of our
own desires. We have forgotten that we can be more than that. That
there are other sides to human nature."
- Robert Reich
Yes indeed - though it may
be too late. Here is Reich's version of the two views of mankind, what
he calls the Freudian and the non-Freudian views:
Note it is not about
what you call it - Freudian, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy or
what not: it's about how average people are being treated,
namely as if they are bundles of irrational desires that have to be
played and misled by a small elite, or as if they are rational men who
are capable of making up their own minds.
"You have the view that
people are irrational, that they are bundles of emotion. This comes
directly out of Freud and businesses are very able to respond to that,
They have honed their skills to it. That is what marketing is really
all about. (..) Politics must be more than that. Politics and
leadership are about engaging the public in a rational discussion about
what is best, and treating people with respect in terms of their
rational abilities to debate what is best. If it is not that, if it is
Freudian, if it is basically a matter of appealing to the same
unconscious feelings that business appeals to, then why don't let
business do it? Business can do it better. Bussiness knows how to do
it. Business, after all, is in the business of responding to those
- Robert Reich
The basic problems with the last thesis are that (1) most average men
have come to accept the delusion that
they are independent consumers looking freely at markets in order to
buy the products that define their own life styles - which in spite of
its being utter baloney
has been accepted nearly universally, in good part because it is simple and
flattering, and (2) meanwhile, they now also lack the more
or less objective media to conduct whatever rational discussion they
may or might like to have, for the media have been taken over by the
advertisers, the public relation folks, and the lackeys of the
corporations, at least to a large extent.
About the only way out I can see is the internet - which is being
watched and stored globally by the NSA, not because of terrorism, for
it doesn't work against terrorism
(anyway mostly a pretext), but in order to - ultimately - control and
repress anything the US government doesn't like. For power and secrecy
corrupt, and absolute power and secrecy corrupt totally.
3. Snowden 2 written out
I have yesterday given a
link to the second interview with Edward Snowden:
So I am quite pleased
to mention it meanwhile also is available as text, namely on
This is well done and really
4. Greenwald 1 (DN!)
Next, there are
two Greenwald interviews on Democracy Now! To start with, here is the
Here is just one quote from
it, that seems quite accurate to me:
I think this is
really the critical point that has to be understood. The reason that
Edward Snowden came forward, the reason that we’re reporting on this so
aggressively, is because—and this is not hyperbole in any way; it’s a
purely accurate description—the NSA is
For more see the last link.
in the process, in total secrecy, with no accountability, of
constructing a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its
goal the elimination of privacy worldwide, so that there can be no electronic
communications—by telephone, Internet, email, chat—that is beyond
the reach of the United States government. They are attempting to
collect and store and monitor all of it, and that they can invade it at
any time they want, no matter who you are or where you are on the planet.
This has very profound implications for the kind of world in which
we live, for the kind of relationship the United States has to the
rest of the world, the way in which individuals feel free to
communicate with one another, use the Internet. And that, I think, is why
the story is resonating as much as it is.
Greenwald 2 (DN!)
Next, there is another interview on Democracy Now! with
Glenn Greenwald, and it is here:
This is a very good
interview about several subjects - Snowden, Greenwald, and Rosen on the
Snowden Effect - that you have to read yourself, but I'll give one
quote, about Snowden:
That is quite heartening,
which is also my reason to quote it. Otherwise, you have to use the
link I supplied above.
actually had the opportunity to speak with him for the first time on Saturday,
the first time since he left Hong Kong. I had a good, long conversation
with him. And although I’m not interested in divulging where
he is, he, you know, is enthused about the developments over the last
week, both in terms of ongoing revelations and the ongoing debate that
he helped trigger about surveillance policy worldwide, as well as the
support that he’s getting from around the world and from, as of the moment,
three different governments who have all independently offered
asylum. So the question of how he’s going to get there, what’s going
to happen once he arrives, those are still in the process of being worked
out. But he’s doing very well in terms of his mindset, his demeanor.
He’s able to follow things online, the debates, as they unfold.
And he’s very—feeling very good about the choices that he made.
Jay Rosen: The
One of the
things Glenn Greenwald did mention in his last interview is the
following article by Jay Rosen, who is a professor of journalism at New
Here is its definition, in
This is a very important
article that gets supported and worked out in 10 points and over 50
comments you should read yourself.
The Snowden effect,
Direct and indirect
gains in public knowledge from the cascade of events and further
reporting that followed Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified
information about the surveillance state in the U.S.
Meaning: there’s what
Snowden himself revealed by releasing secrets and talking to the press.
But beyond this, there is what
he set in motion by taking that action. Congress and other
governments begin talking in public about things they had previously
kept hidden. Companies have to explain some of their dealings with the
state. Journalists who were not a party to the transaction with Snowden
start digging and adding background. Debates spring to life that
had been necessary but missing before the leaks. The result is that we
know much more about the surveillance state than we did before. Some of
the opacity around it lifts. This is the Snowden effect.
It is good for public
knowledge. And public knowledge is supposed to be what a free press and
open debate are all about.
P.S. 11-vii-2013: Straightened out the
text of Greenwald's pieces.
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: