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"Civilization and Its Discontents" # 44

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Creating a Sober World

Creating a Sober World

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Edward Bernays and leading NY intellectual, Walter Lippmann came to believe that if democracy was to survive, the people must be given palliatives (things to console the irrational self) in order to make them feel better and not cause trouble for those in power. The idea was to keep stimulating the irrational self and keep it 'addicted' to more and more feel good things.
   This consumerist manipulation was used to attract millions to invest in the stock market and led to the speculation that ended in the stock market crash of 1929. The world-wide crash led people around the world to believe that democracy was not a workable system and led to the rise of Hitler and in America the New Deal and government control of the economy..
   As the world spiraled out of control, Sigmund Freud wrote the book "Civilization and its Discontents" in which he questioned the whole idea of civilization tiself.

This is the third part of our discussion of the Century of Self.

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