Posted by: Ian Bruk | March 24, 2008

Interesting history of Anarchy

I’ll definitely have to revisit this article – an excerpt:

Despite the last half century of work on ecology and systems theories which now emphasise the complex cooperative partnerships that are key for eco systems to sustain themselves, Darwin’s “nature red in tooth and claw” continues to dominate our popular image of nature, a cursory look at most natural history Television documentaries confirm this. Nature remains a battlefield, not the cooperative community which contemporary science shows it to be. And thus our negative self image as predatory brutes unable to share and cooperate is maintained. Such self doubt that we can run our own lives combines with self hatred creating a powerless current of self-fear, so easily exploited by elites, the very ones whose rule and domination have wrecked untold chaos on the world.


Whilst the young Hitler in Vienna conjured up images of a world where the will of the strongest needed to dominate the weak to avert chaos and catastrophe, Freud set the foundations for an individualistic society obsessed with the self by developing the ideas that inside us all were dangerous instinctual drives. The first world war confirmed Freud’s pessimism in human beings; humans were a sadistic species driven by irrational forces that could never be improved. The role of civilisation was to control our violent irrational desires. Freedom was an impossible ideal, because it was too dangerous to allow human beings to truly express themselves. They must always be controlled and would therefore always be discontent.


Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, took his uncle’s ideas about human nature and in the 1920’s developed many of the techniques of consumer capitalism that came to dominate the twentieth century. The inventor of modern Public relations and marketing, originator of product placements and celebrity endorsement, advocate of a share owning public, inspiration for Josef Goebells, CIA consultant and architect of Guatemala’s bloody coup, Bernays was also the first publisher and avid promoter of Freud’s writing in the United States. The now relatively unknown figure of Bernays was perhaps one of the most influential figures in the early rise of consumer capitalism, he realised that by linking consumerism with people’s unconscious desires, people could want things they did not need. Like Freud, he believed that citizens were too irrational to run society, but he thought that their inner selfish desires could be satisfied by making them buy products which would make them happy and thus docile, leaving the running of society to an elite. He called this the engineering of consent.


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