During this lecture we were shown a documentary about Freud and Freudian theory, i think it was more about how his theories helped his nephew Edward Bernays used his theories to introduce consumerism to the world. A useful book we have been recommended to read is called “Visual Thinking” by Rudolf Amheim. During this lecture we looked at a documentary episode called Happiness Machines (2002) The Century of the Self is an award-winning British television documentary series by Adam Curtis. It focuses on how the work of Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have analyzed,‭ dealt with, and controlled ‬people.

Bernays was interested in the mind and its hidden thoughts, he changed the thoughts of Americans and he became famous, a “God” as such because he changed the desires and thinking of the masses. He sold cars, as a version of male sexuality, something which is still apparent today because cars have been separated into gender and men now can still relate how masculine they are to the power of the car they drive.  For example a red sports car is viewed as a masculine car, especially those cars which are loud like Ferraris, this is because loud roaring noises were equated to a male symbol of masculinity. Bernays sold fashion to women as a way of expressing their “inner selves on the outside” this I think gave women something they thought they could have control over, when in a mans world this is important. Because Bernays created this importance of fashion to women, he increased consumerism in the fashion industry.


He was a central figure in the 1920s and was very well off financially, but due to the Wall Street Crash in 1929 people stopped buying unnecessary things and he began to lose favour.  Freud became accepted in America due to the success of his nephew, but he hated Americans and their animal like behaviours and consumerist attitude. He was known for saying

Human individuality can never be fulfilled, always have to be controlled because of animal like behaviours”


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