A. A Summary Of ¨The Century of
This is a
Nederlog of Tuesday,
The present Nederlog is a bit different from the normal crisis
logs, as is briefly explained here. There is
a normal Nederlog of today: here.
This is a crisis
log but it is a bit different from how it was the last five years:
I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but
since 2010 in English) and about
the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and
by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will
continue with it.
moment and since more than two years
problems with the company that is
supposed to take care that my site is visible 
and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and
I shall continue.
Section 2. Crisis Files
are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:
A. A Summary Of ¨The Century of
Part I. Happiness Machines
Part II. The
Engineering of Consent
Part III. There
is a policeman inside our heads. He must be destroyed.
sipping wine in Kettering
On ¨The Century of the
Self¨ - 2
This text, from ¨Part I. Happiness Machines¨ onwards, was originally written for my
self in November of 2017. It is reproduced below with very few
changes, apart from the links, that are all from today (or were in the
originals I quote).
It is a sort of summary of the TV documentary by Adam
Century of the Self¨ that was first published in four parts in
2002. I have seen this
documentary meanwhile three times, and I believe the first time was in
Most of what follows will be clear to intelligent readers, but I think
I should make a remark on the sort of summary this is: Very
much a personal one, related to my personal interests.
This means, among other things, that there may be summaries by others
of the same series that may be quite different and still be quite good
The rest is text from September 2017, with very few changes:
Part I. Happiness Machines
¨This is a series about
how the ideas of Sigmund Freud have
been used by those in power to control the masses in an age of
had discovered - he said -
primitive sexual and aggressive forces
hidden deep inside the mind of everyone, and if these forces were not
controlled, the result would be chaos and anarchy.
And this starts after a brief bit about Freud about his nephew Edward
Bernays, who started to work for the government office of
Infornation when the US entered WW I. Bernays went - at 26 - to the
Peace Conference at the end of WW I. And when he returned to the USA he
¨decided that if you could use propaganda
for war, you could
use it for peace. And because ¨propaganda¨ had become a bad word
because of the Germans using it¨ he invented instead the term
¨Council of Public Relations¨ for his propagandistic efforts.
And he decided to try to move people´s irrational emotions. And
experimented, and his most important experiment was to get women to
smoke, which meant overcoming a current prejudice,
selling cigarettes to them as ¨torches of freedom¨ (with lots of
advertisements and public campaigns, connected to the statue of
liberty, freedom and independence). And he gave them thus their own
penises in terms of Freudian theory - in which Bernays believed - plus
that they were free and
independent by smoking and buying cigarettes.
Eddy Bernays saw that if you couldn´t sell things intellectually
would sell if you made the buyers feel better about it (in
irrational but associated way, often by advertisements
and further propaganda,
on film and in papers and magazines).
Until around 1920, most products were sold as necessities
of buyers. And then it was decided, quite
America must shift from a needs culture to a desires culture,
and that is what
happened, because desires are for far more things than are
because desires can be manipulated.
And ¨Bernays was the guy,
anybody else in the USA¨, says Stuart Ewen,
theory to the table (which he also was pushing by pushing Freud in the
USA). ¨And the message to ordinary people was: You buy things not
because you need them but to express your inner self. And thus
first role ordinary
people played was no longer that of citizen
that of consumer¨ (because the large majority accepted this).
And this happened in fact - is my addition - because thus they
their free money into buying things that were suggested and believed
would make them feel themselves well, essentially for bullshit
contrived reasons, indeed as with cigarettes for women.
This also was
represented as self
were ¨themselves¨ through associating themselves in public as
of certain shared standards, all of which they had to buy
Bernays - says a specialist - was the one who connected the idea of a
personal and emotional relation to purchasing a product or
they bought it because it satisfied their desires
themselves as so-and-sos) even though these desires were for bullshit
(namely: expressing themselves
as so-and-sos through products they bought, rather than what they
and thought, and believed, and wanted themselves).
And thus also the merchandise and sales departments learned to find
what the human mind desires of products, and worked on a Freudian
basis and with methods designed by psychoanalysts.
Bernays also combined politics
with his kind of product propaganda,
selling president Coolidge as a great friend of many famous actors and
actresses. And he succeeded in getting Freud´s books translated,
published, become first sensational and then accepted,
uncle Siggi to dollars, which Freud both needed and hid.
is mentioned, who believed that men were driven by
unconscious forces, and that men are fundamentally irrational
formed ¨a bewilderded herd¨ that needed to be led. And
be done by manipulating
feelings of the masses.
Bernays picked this up by writing a series of books in which he argued
that he had developed the very techniques Lippman was calling
Bernays felt that ¨the masses needed to be led from above¨ his daugher
said: ¨it´s enlightened despotism in a sense¨.
became president in 1928, and was the first
as the center of American life. The new
ideal was the consuming self, that was happy and docile, was
itself throught its consumptions, and thus created a
Ewen says Bernays ideas turned democracy
into a palliative,
amounted to giving people some feel-good medicine. If you
stimulating the irrational self, then leadership can
what it wants to do. (It seems: Basically because they made the
believe that things were other than they are.)
Bernays got extremely rich and quite famous, until the stock market
crash of 1929. This is treated, as is the rise of Hitler and the fact
liked and was influenced by Bernays.
Deal. This is presented as pro strong government, pro
rationality, and pro democracy. And they rejected
views of men. And
there is the roll of public opinion
- rationally collected,
factual questions - and Gallup
is commented: ¨The voice of
is a rational voice and should be heard¨.
In 1939 there was a huge exposition of Bernays' ideas on the World
Fair, which combined ¨democracy¨ and capitalism as if
exist without the other.
Ewen: It´s not that the people are in charge, it´s that the
are in charge.
The people are not in charge. The
people do not
exercise any decision making power. So
democracy is reduced
involving an active citizenry
to a public of passive consumers.
consumers are driven by unconscious desires, and if you can trigger
these, you then can also keep doing what you want.
Engineering of Consent
This part about Anna
Freud and Edward
Bernays, trying to
manipulate the masses
so that their
barbaric impulses - which they have according to Freud - remain
controlled. This was much sponsored by American governments.
The Freudians also succeeded into denying the experiences of
These were not due to their battle-experiences as soldiers, but due to
their primitive irrational feelings in their own childhoods.
And Anna Freud insisted (but never tested) that people should
and only conformers
had strong personalities
. And the 1946
Health Act was passed, that lead to many more psychiatrists
implementung Freud on a mass scale, and a bit later also trying to
Then Dichter, the neighbour of Freud developed psychoanalysing
and find out their preferences: focus groups.
Another Freudian idea: The elites were necessary
to teach the
be democratic citizens. In fact, this was authoritarianism.
based on two theses: (i) ordinary men
are deeply irrational and
(ii) they are vulnerable and can be manipulated to
being what the
manipulator desired them to be. (But: The elites are as
irrational if better educated, and have a strong self-interest
to remain the elites.)
And the CIA entered. As did Ewen Cameron,
the head of
psychiatry in the
USA. He thought psychiatry
should be everywhere: in politics,
parliaments a.s.o. and should direct everything, because they
a rational and scientific way, what was good for people
than the people themselves). Cameron also
sought to erase memories and habits and erase everything, and put
something new there he had created.
But: ¨In fact, Cameron´s experiments were a complete disaster.¨ ¨Almost
the experiments the CIA had funded were equally unsuccessful.¨
John Gillinger, a psychologist that led the CIA´s
¨We had been chasing
a phantom, an illusion. That the human mind was
more capable of manipulation from by outside factors than it is. We
found out that the human being is an extremely complex thing. There
were no simple solutions. But you have to bear in mind that these were
very strange times.¨
Hidden Persuaders¨ was an important book by Vance
And I grant that - as summarized by Curtis - Marcuse,
studied psychoanalysis, made all the right criticisms of Anna
Freud. He switched the source of evil from inside the
and considered society - American capitalism in the
1950ies - evil
corrupting and man basically good, but corruptible.
Also, according to Curtis there was a development of Freudianism
USA like so:
(i) Freud was popularized by his nephew Edward Bernays
(ii) who said
men needed to be controlled and manipulated because they were bad and
(iii) he also translated to Propaganda aka Public
Relations: He sold things by stimulating men´s unconscious desires,
(iv) Freudianism got widely accepted and popularized.
died in 1939 in London but his daughter Anna took the lead over, and
concentrated on psychoanalysing children and on ego psychology, and
(vi) she too insisted men were bad, but could be controlled by learning
to conform: only conformed individuals have strong and good
personalities, and this can be taught.
(vii) This got quite popular in
the 40ies and 50ies, and led to
(viii) strong and well-funded
psychiatric experiments, mostly secret, in the 1950ies till 70ies, but
in the end
(ix) almost everything completely collapsed because it was
on wholly false assumptions.
And there is a good part of a speech by Martin
Luther King, who
about being proud to be maladjusted: To racism, to
to segregation, to poverty in a society of plenitude, and to war.
is a policeman inside our heads. He must be destroyed.
This part is about the following:
(i) About the battle between Reich en
by the latter,
(ii) about Reich´s madness and his partial therapeutical return through
his pupil Fritz
Perls in Esalen;
(iii) about Werner
Erhard and EST
pretended there is nothing beyond the layers that may be peeled off
(but EST was very popular in the 70ies); and
(iv) about ¨the
self-actualizers¨, who were at first difficult to get with age, sex,
income divisions, but which soon also were classified by SRI as falling
into definable groups, and then there also were computers that could
produce the things they wanted, and so they too were bought, once known
and classified. And thus the eighties mostly went...
I thought this was interesting, but it also was less well developed.
Part IV: Eight people sipping wine in
This is about "leftish politics" - Clinton and Blair - took over the
techniques of selling products to the desires of people that were
created, manipulated and controlled by propaganda
(about what they were
and wanted, and what society was like, and how one ought to live,
think, want and do) but forgot - so Curtis says, at least - these
techniques were designed to control people.
This starts with Bernays; the rise of gigantic systems of ¨public
relations¨ that sought out what people wanted; and with their main
tool: focus groups. And these were also used by Clinton to win his
second presidency: He adapted his message to please the voters that
made a difference.
This ends with Bernays, who could not believe that the masses could be
left to themselves: they needed to be manipulated, because they were
driven by primitive and dangerous drives, as uncle Siggi also held, and
he also never believed in real democracy, but only in a manipulated
society, with people reduced to consumers who were given what they
wanted or were controlled. (Stuart Ewen) ¨It is not that the people are
in charge, but that the people desire that they are in charge.
The people are not in charge. The people exercise no decision making
power in this environment. So democracy is reduced from something that
assumes an active citizenry that now is interpreted as meaning that the
public are passive consumers. What the public is delivered are
essentially doggy treats.¨
There is now the dominant Freud-inspired view of man as an irrational
being driven by dark and primitive forces, and this view has been
supported by the big corporations, especially because their
manipulations, that are based on psychological researches inspired by
psychoanalysis, produce ideal consumers. (Incidentally: This is again
enormously improved with internet.)
We, like our politicians, have become the slaves of our desires. We
have forgotten that we can be more than that, that there are other
sides to human nature.
Robert Reich: Fundamentally, here we have two different views of human
nature and of democracy. You have the view that people are irrational,
that they are bundles of unconscious emotions, that comes directly out
of Freud, and businesses are very able to respond to that. That´s what
they have honed their skills to, that is what marketing is really all
about. What are the pictures, the music, the symbols, the images that
will appeal to these unconscious impulses. Politics must be more than
that. Politics and leadership are about engaging the public in a
rational discussion and deliberation about what is best and treating
people with respect in terms of their rational abilities to debate the
question of what is best.
On "The Century
Self" - 2
This continues the above section, but uses the overview of "The Century
of the Self" that is OK:
And this is the beginning of the
item consumerism on Wikipedia:
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed our perception of
the mind and its workings. The documentary explores the various ways
that governments and corporations have used Freud's theories. Freud and
his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use
psychological techniques in public relations, are discussed in part
one. His daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is
mentioned in part two. Wilhelm Reich, an opponent of Freud's
theories, is discussed in part three.
To many in politics and
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. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom,
and in whose interests?
Along these lines, The
the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of consumerism
and commodification and their implications. It
also questions the modern way people see themselves, the attitudes to fashion,
The business and political
psychological techniques to read, create and fulfill the desires of the
public, and to make their products and speeches as pleasing as possible
to consumers and voters. Curtis questions the intentions and origins of
this relatively new approach to engaging the public.
Where once the political
about engaging people's rational, conscious minds, as well as
facilitating their needs as a group, Stuart
Ewen, a historian of public relations, argues that politicians now
appeal to primitive impulses that have little bearing on
issues outside the narrow self-interests of a consumer society.
The words of Paul Mazur, a
Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in 1927, are cited: "We
must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be
trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been
entirely consumed. [...] Man's desires must overshadow his needs."
In part four the main
subjects are Philip Gould, a political
strategist, and Matthew Freud, a PR consultant and the
great-grandson of Sigmund Freud. In the 1990s, they were instrumental
to bringing the Democratic Party in the
US and New Labour in the United Kingdom back into
power through use of the focus
group, originally invented by psychoanalysts employed by US
corporations to allow consumers to express their feelings and needs,
just as patients do in psychotherapy.
Curtis ends by saying that,
feel we are free, in reality, we—like the politicians—have become the
slaves of our own desires," and compares Britain and America to
'Democracity', an exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair
created by Edward Bernays.
economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods
and services in ever-increasing amounts. With the industrial revolution,
but particularly in the 20th
century, mass production led to an economic crisis: there
was overproduction – the supply of goods would grow beyond
consumer demand, and so
manufacturers turned to planned obsolescence
and advertising to increase
consumer spending. Early
criticism of consumerism was in the works of Thorstein Veblen in 1899, which examined
the middle class emerging at the turn of the 20th
century, which came to fruition by the end of the 20th century through
process of globalization.
"consumerism" may refer to economic policies which emphasise consumption. In an abstract sense,
it is the consideration that the free choice of consumers should strongly
orient the choice by manufacturers of what is produced and how, and
therefore orient the economic organization of a society (compare producerism,
especially in the British sense of the term).
In this sense, consumerism expresses the idea not of "one man, one
voice", but of "one dollar, one voice", which may or may not reflect
the contribution of people to society.
This is the beginning of the
||In the almost complete absence of other
macro-political and social narratives – concern about global climate
change notwithstanding – the pursuit of the 'good life' through practices of what is
known as 'consumerism' has become one of the dominant global social
forces, cutting across differences of religion, class, gender,
ethnicity and nationality. It is the other side of the dominant
ideology of market globalism and
is central to what Manfred Steger calls the 'global imaginary'.
In fact, I also looked at the
lemmas "fashion" and
"superficiality", but these were respectively not good and very bad.
transformation of goods, services, ideas and
people into commodities, or objects of trade. A commodity at
its most basic, according to Arjun Appadurai, is "any thing intended
for exchange," or any object of economic value.
People are commodified—turned into objects—when working, by selling
their labour on the market to an employer.
One of its forms is slavery. Others are, the trading with animals and body
parts through formalised or informalised organ transplant.
Commodification is often
the grounds that some things ought not to be treated as commodities—for
example education, data, information and knowledge in
the digital age.
As to commodification: It is - of course - especially about
and indeed they are made commodities in one
sense by having to work (which millionaires and their children
But in fact much more is involved, namely making the
people into consumers
who spend their free money on commodities
that satisfy their illusory
that they acquired
by viewing and reading propaganda, advertisements,
and misrepresentations of things and properties.
And the lies and propaganda that they are misled with is based on
groups, personal interviews etc.
which is mostly intended to find out what the people want
unconsciously, in terms of their desires,
rather than their needs. (And when these desires are
found out, products are associated with these desires, just like
Bernays - completely arbitrarily - associated smoking cigarettes with
freedom and independence,
and with the illusion
that smoking meant one is free and independent.)
And the fundamental objection to that is that all of this is
on very intentional and very extensive lying
and misrepresentations and
radical and falsified simplifications of things, of people, of selfs,
and of reality.
And it is a fact that nearly all things that are sold,
these days at least, have some propaganda and
associated with them, while some things - that are
especially popular or especially profitable - have a lot of propaganda and advertisements
associated with them (and
that all propaganda
and all advertisements
are based ion lying
or on deceiving:
if these are not straight lies they are at least deceptive about some
of the real qualities and costs of the things advertised).
have now been
end of 2015 that
xs4all.nl is systematically
ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds,
as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between
two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.
claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie.
They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.
just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my
ideas. They have behaved now for 2 years
as if they are the
eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I
from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).
two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been
there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any
other Dutch provider is any better (!!).