The Trap: Whatever happened to our dreams of freedom?

The Trap: What happened to our dreams of freedom is a new series of films by Adam Curtis that begins this Sunday on BBC2 at 9pm.

He is attempting to tell the story of the rise of today’s narrow idea of freedom and it should make interesting viewing. According to the BBC it will show 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. It was then taken up by genetic biologists, anthropologists, radical psychiatrists and free market economists, until it became a new system of invisible control.”

Many of you have seen the amazing series of films he made called The Century of the Self, that we showed on the human givens diploma course. They explored how, whilst psychoanalytic therapy is a dying out, Freudian influence is still very much alive in many areas from business to politics to social attitudes, due to the involvement of the man who invented PR, Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays. I interviewed Adam Curtis for issue 35 of the Human Givens Journal in 2002.

Posted by: Ivan


15 responses to “The Trap: Whatever happened to our dreams of freedom?

  1. very interesting.. just finished watching it. I saw his documentary: the power of nightmares which was very well put together. This is equally interesting, and astonishing. Excellent, a must watch for all.

  2. Good stuff. Logically speaking, it all made sense. I look forward to the rest of this series.

  3. Really very interesting. It did make sense.

  4. philip pearson

    great t.v. Anyone know name of advisor to M. Thatcher& To Robert mc Namara?

  5. Did anyone record it, and are they willing to give me a copy?

  6. Naurshaka Blanche

    If anyone has a copy please would you send it to me??

  7. Sanity For Sale

    amazing documentary, hopefully it will,l be up on googlevideo soon so more people can see it.

    curtis is a legend!

  8. I have published a synopsis and critique on my site ( but basically I thought it was very interesting but for three flaws:

    1) The first episode did not conclude anything, and was ultimately unresolved

    2) Curtis’s analysis is not always correct – he is stronger on his psychiatric home-ground than on other topics.

    3) I fear that his intention is to question much of what has happened in the past thirty years. While there have undoubtedly been mistakes, there have also been successes and benefits. If the programme suggests that deregulation and liberalisation have been accompanied by a creeping centralisation and rising state power, then it is correct. But if it argues that we would all be better off returning to the age of collectivism and public duty, of trusting citizens and paternalistic administrators, then Curtis is simply swapping a flawed concept of freedom for no freedom at all.

    I will watch avidly next weekend.

  9. Thanks Tom – I will check out your review – you make some very good points


  10. Eleanor thank you for this space.
    I hope Adam Curtis’ film x3 manages a wider viewing than ‘preaching to the converted’ .. A dynamic & fascinating analysis, great footage, pace.. – & a great mind-set workout… Audience can take note & follow up references – as I just did – the section on The Prisoner dilemma in Boyd & Richerson book ‘Culture and the Evolutionary Process’ (U of Chicago Press) – on co-operation versus competition etc..
    So thank you Adam Curtis for trying to catch us before we waddle off to watch Little Britain..

  11. If you haven’t seen the power of nightmares x3 you can see it here – and the mayfair set from 1999.

  12. Thank you for this link tio – I’m sure it’ll be of great interest to many.
    Best wishes

  13. message to mike young – if you first missed the first episode of the trap, here is the introduction –

  14. Hi

    To view Adam Curtis’ ‘The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream of Freedom?’ in its entirety click here or go to


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s