Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On Edward Bernays: Our Irrational Fears & Desires

Exploration of the use of psychoanalytic techniques on the masses which Edward Bernays (a.k.a., The Father of Spin) "invented".

Bernays stated: "Human beings could not be trusted to make rational decisions ( if not put under control, the public would overthrow governments: i.e. Bolshevik Revolution etc.) Therefore, mass democracy was wrong and intolerable-the belief that human beings could be trusted to consistently behave rationally. Democratic theorist, Walter Lippman argued that if humans were driven by unconscious and irrational forces and feelings then it was necessary to re-think democracy. What was needed was a new elite who could manage the "bewildered herd". This could be done thru psychological techniques that would control the unconscious feelings and desires of the masses-looking toward psychological science to instill social control.

Bernays himself had a superiority complex, quoted as saying, " the masses are stupid." We will mold the public into a passive consumer, not an active Democracy. This was the ultimate goal of the early Public Relations architects.

Psychological techniques used on the "bewildered herd": What's so interesting about psychological manipulation is...the obvious hypocrisy. Mentally ill people were thrown into insane asylums, were considered insane for merely requiring psychological care. For the better half of the 20th Century, "therapy" of any sort was taboo in American society. Psychological care meant outcast. Consider this: isn't it interesting that the very idea of psychoanalysis/psychology was considered reserved for the socially undesirables, mentally unstable outcasts, but these very techniques were used by these men to control society as a whole. In other words, Public Relations architects like Edward Bernays and Walter Lippman made the very techniques they used on the masses appear socially undesirable to the masses. What better way of keeping the public from knowing how they were being manipulated than by blackballing the very techniques being used on them? In no way should we become a fully conscious individual-this would signal Revolution. -VioletPlanet

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