THE TRAP #1 -- F&#K YOU BUDDY (PART 1 OF 6)
The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream Of Freedom? (Episode 1 of 3)
Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and, repeatedly, we have gone to war to impose freedom around the world. But if you step back and look at what freedom actually means for us today, it's a strange and limited kind of freedom.
Politicians promised to liberate us from the old dead hand of bureaucracy, but they have created an evermore controlling system of social management, driven by targets and numbers. Governments committed to freedom of choice have presided over a rise in inequality and a dramatic collapse in social mobility. And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to enforce freedom has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism. This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the Government has dismantled long-standing laws designed to protect our freedom.
"The Trap" is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom.
It shows how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom. This model was derived from ideas and techniques developed by nuclear strategists during the Cold War to control the behaviour of the Soviet enemy.
Mathematicians such as John Nash developed paranoid game theories whose equations required people to be seen as selfish and isolated creatures, constantly monitoring each other suspiciously -- always intent on their own advantage.
This model was then developed by genetic biologists, anthropologists, radical psychiatrists and free market economists, and has come to dominate both political thinking since the Seventies and the way people think about themselves as human beings.
However, within this simplistic idea lay the seeds of new forms of control. And what people have forgotten is that there are other ideas of freedom. We are, says Curtis, in a trap of our own making that controls us, deprives us of meaning and causes death and chaos abroad.
THE TRAP #1 -- F&#K YOU BUDDY (PART 2 OF 6)
THE TRAP #1 -- F&#K YOU BUDDY (PART 3 OF 6)
THE TRAP #1 -- F&#K YOU BUDDY (PART 4 OF 6)
THE TRAP #1 -- F&#K YOU BUDDY (PART 5 OF 6)
THE TRAP #1 -- F&#K YOU BUDDY (PART 6 OF 6)
THE TRAP #2 -- THE LONELY ROBOT (PART 1 OF 6)
The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream Of Freedom? (Episode 2 of 3)
Adam Curtis continues his series of films explaining the origins of our contemporary, narrow and limited idea of freedom.
This episode tells the story of how, in the 1990s, politicians from both right and left tried to apply an idea of freedom modelled on the freedom of the market to all other areas of society.
Behind it was a scientific model of ourselves as simplified robots, rational calculating beings whose behaviour and even feelings could be predicted by numbers. Out of this came today's systems of management - from performance targets to the new categories of mental disorder, and reading the genetic codes buried inside us.
THE TRAP #2 -- THE LONELY ROBOT (PART 2 OF 6)
THE TRAP #2 -- THE LONELY ROBOT (PART 3 OF 6)
THE TRAP #2 -- THE LONELY ROBOT (PART 4 OF 6)
THE TRAP #2 -- THE LONELY ROBOT (PART 5 OF 6)
THE TRAP #2 -- THE LONELY ROBOT (PART 6 OF 6)
THE TRAP #3 -- WE WILL FORCE YOU TO BE FREE (PART 1 OF 6)
The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream Of Freedom? (Episode 3 of 3)
The final program focussed on the concepts of positive and negative liberty introduced in the 1950s by Isaiah Berlin. Curtis briefly explained how negative liberty could be defined as freedom from coercion, and positive liberty as the opportunity to strive to fulfill one's potential. Tony Blair had read Berlin's essays on the topic, and wrote to him in the late 1990s, arguing that positive and negative liberty could be mutually compatible. He never received a reply, as Berlin was on his deathbed.
The program began with a description of the Two Concepts of Liberty, reviewing Berlin's opinion that, since it lacked coercion, negative liberty was the 'safer' of the two. Curtis then explained how many political groups who sought their vision of freedom ended up using violence to achieve it.
In essence, the program suggested that following the path of negative liberty to its logical conclusions, as governments have done in the West for the past 50 years, resulted in a society without meaning populated only by selfish automatons, and that there was some value in positive liberty in that it allowed people to strive to better themselves.
The closing minutes directly state that if western humans were ever to find their way out of the "trap" described in the series, they would have to realise that Isaiah Berlin was wrong and that not all attempts at creating positive liberty necessarily ended in coercion and tyranny.
THE TRAP #3 -- WE WILL FORCE YOU TO BE FREE (PART 2 OF 6)
THE TRAP #3 -- WE WILL FORCE YOU TO BE FREE (PART 3 OF 6)
THE TRAP #3 -- WE WILL FORCE YOU TO BE FREE (PART 4 OF 6)
THE TRAP #3 -- WE WILL FORCE YOU TO BE FREE (PART 5 OF 6)
THE TRAP #3 -- WE WILL FORCE YOU TO BE FREE (PART 6 OF 6)
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