If you want an aide in explaining the 20th century and how we have arrived at where we are today I would highly recommend the above link. It is my conviction that this or something like this should be ingested by every pastor in America worth their salt.
It is a four hour video that deals with how psychoanalysis has created and controlled consumerism by its manipulation of the sovereign self. It also delves in how pychobabble has become hegemonic in business and politics. The psychological has become hegemonic in business because the Corporate realm used the “insights” of pyscho-analysis to sell product and to manipulate the market. The psychological has become hegemonic in Politics because the same insights that were gleaned by Corporate America were used by the Political parties and consultants to create and manage coalitions and constituencies.
The reason that having a grip on this kind of material is so important is because the hegemony of the pagan psychological is not restricted to the business and political realm but now rules over education, family and church realms. As one views the video one begins to realize how much of the technique used by Corporate America to push product has been brought into the Church to sell Jesus. From focus groups (church small groups) to the art of giving people what they want to the importation of the psychological into the Pastor’s ability to counsel, the Church has become a mirror of the satisfaction of the self.
The documentary chronicles shifts in how the self has been handled over the decades since the 1920′s but in each case the self is seen as being autonomous. At different periods the self has been seen as irrational and governed by primal desires, to being basically good and so in need of being released, to being destructive and so in necessity of elites providing control. At no time however, in the last almost century, has there been any consideration of the self in relation to the God of the Bible. The self is autonomous and so needs to be either controlled by elites through mass consumption and political managing, or set free in a Dionysian frenzy to be channeled by clever marketing.
One comes away from the documentary firmly believing that it really is the case that the pagan is socially engineered. Apart from the God of the Bible and His Christ one easily become the “New Soviet Man,” or the “New Man” of whatever regime is in control. If there is no objective standard by which one can find a means by which the self can find identity then the self can only remain a subjective self always measuring itself against the larger cultural framework that is set up as a subjective (and so unreal) objective standard.
In the video you discover some important names that you’ve probably never heard of before. From Edward Bernays to Anna Freud to William Reich to Herbert Marcuse to many others one begins to discover some of the unseen hands behind the century of the self and the social engineering that has transpired.
The documentary underscores something else that I’ve been saying for several years now. The documentary makes the epistemologically self conscious realize that the way that much of the Church and its pastorate operates in the West today is counter-productive to Biblical Christianity. The Church and its pastorate has largely made peace with the socially engineered paganism that is now characteristic of Western Christianity. That this is so is seen in the reality that the goal of the Church today is to help people adjust to this false reality that is called the “century of the self.” Pastors have redefined Christianity against this backdrop and use what they now call Christianity as a lever to have people conform and so get on in this alien world and life view. The Church and the Pastorate that is being the Church should instead be telling people that there is a problem if they are comfortable in the false paradigm that has been created and is known as the “century of the self.”
Pastors and Churches that go with the socially engineered self of the times will have the opportunity to advance far in this world, if that is their vision. Pastors and Churches who see through the shell game and lift their voices to announce the Emperor’s nakedness will likely struggle.
Choose ye this day whom you will serve.