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The Century of the Self – Happiness Machines

We thought long and hard about what to do for the opening event for “The Loop Project Presents”. Our main aim with these nights is to bring people together to talk about the way we live and how this effects the world we live in. We wanted to ask questions.  What motivates our behaviour? Why do we value what we value? What are the alternatives, and how do we realise them?

Adam Curtis’ award winning documentary seems to answer these questions more directly and with more persuasive force than anything else I’ve seen. What’s more it comes at it from a surprising angle.

Adam Curtis introduces the first episode,

“This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”

So, you may ask, how does Freud relate to the environmental problems we face? Through the documentary we come to learn how since the 1920s public relations and politicians have used Freud’s theories to “engineer consent” and how our desires (to consume) have been created.

Curtis cites Paul Mazur, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in the 1930s:

“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 order for any real change to be made in the world we need to understand the root cause of our consumeristic values as only through understanding can we bring these values into question and have any chance of changing the way we live.

We invite you to join us to watch the first episode of this brilliant documentary series.

After the film there will be discussion and drinks. Please bring something to share.

“The Century of the Self – Happiness Machines”

Sunday 12th December 7.30pm Dol Llys Hall.

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