The century of the ego? > 17/03/08

There’s a new documentary series on BBC about the impact of psychoanalysis in the 20th century. Or rather, of Freud’s American nephew, Edward Bernays’ influence on the 20 century. The series is called “The Century of the Self” and seems so far to blame psychoanalysis for 19th century consumerism and ego-inflated narcissism. Haven’t seen it all yet, but why should Freud be blamed for misappropriations of his findings, thought and theorizing? Haven’t we had enough of American ego psychology and its social narcissism - as well as its later derivative cognitive behaviour therapy currently in vogue? The age of narcissism Lasch said, and yes, but the age of social narcissism - I exist insofar I am recognized by others, I exists to the extent of my number of friends, I exist insofar as I make it the pram queen, I exist insofar I’m the highest ranked, most beautiful etc etc. I exist only if I’m ranked. This is the psychology of the ego, so necessary for the descendants of Edward Bernays and those who want to sell us happiness.

See the series online here at

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