Documentary Response: The Century of the Self - Part 1: "Happiness Machines"
I found watching this documentary to be very interesting, and it has a lot to do with the theme of the first project we are completing in this class. I had never even heard of the names Sigmund Freud or Edward Bernays before, so learning about who they were, and what they did was very intriguing. Whether it was through Freud’s ideas in regard to psychoanalysis, or Edward Bernays’ ideas to attempt to understand what motivates the human mind.
One never really thinks of how our society became the way it is. Why we are mainly consumeristic, and how the past could have possibly been different. It used to be taboo almost, to share one’s inner thoughts and feelings, and after WW1, the idea that we all have deep desires that drive our actions was introduced the world and its leaders. Edward realized propaganda could be used to motivate people during wartime, so he wondered if the same idea could work in theory during peacetime. He became the driving mind behind a lot of the new ideas that people could emotionally connect to a product or service, take the Torches of Freedom, and that Women smoking cigarettes made them more powerful as an example. These theories quickly spread to create the consumeristic society in the 1920’s. They believed that Men’s desires must overshadow his needs. I found this very deep look into the human mind, and how it can be manipulated very fascinating.