The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream of Freedom?

1. “F**k You Buddy”

2. “The Lonely Robot”

3. “We Will Force You To Be Free”

The Trap – What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom is a BBC documentary series by British filmmaker Adam Curtis, well known for other documentaries including The Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares. It first aired on BBC Two in March 2007.

The series consists of three one-hour programmes which explore the concept and definition of freedom, specifically: “how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today’s idea of freedom.”

One of Curtis’s earlier works, the critically acclaimed The Power of Nightmares, explored the war on terrorism and The Trap uses the same style of a mixture of archive, interviews and Curtis’s own voiceover.

Curtis believes that if one steps back and looks at what freedom actually means for us today, it’s a strange and limited kind of freedom.

The West fought the Cold War for freedom and individual freedom is the dream of our age. It’s what our leaders promise to give us and defines how we think of ourselves.

And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to force freedom on to other people 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 that were designed to protect our freedom.

Curtis argues that we have forgotten other ideas of freedom. We are in a trap of our own making, a trap that controls us, deprives us of meaning, and causes death and chaos abroad. I’d say he was right.

See also:

The Power of Nightmares

The Century of the Self

Engineering of Consent Extract from “The Century of the Self”. Story behind the coup d’etat which toppled elected president Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954.

10 thoughts on “The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream of Freedom?

  1. I thought it high time I revisited this excellent series by Adam Curtis so I’ve brought it all together here for ease of access.

    This is essential viewing… (Apologies for Episode 3 above. It seems this episode is currently only available in fragments)

    Anyway enjoy!


  2. “The defense of a form of ‘positive liberty’, the defense of a freedom far more meaningful and broader than the one we are imprisoned in, which has something to do with deep equality and genuine political empowerment, the insistence against all cynicism that it doesn’t have to lead to tyranny – this deserves sustained applause. For what Curtis has shown throughout is that the ideologies that sustain capitalism, that in fact train us to accept it as a natural and universal development to which we all tend, have as their basic premise that human beings are unfit for anything better. We are inadequate to the task of creating a world beyond selfish, narcissistic, consumerist narrowness, in which we are all mutually exploitative and indifferent, in which some thrive in the struggle better than others.”

    Read more at Lenin’s Tomb

  3. Hi Tio,

    This is a great series. If only all the ‘clones’ would watch and pay attention! lol. It’s frightening as well. WTF does the future hold for us???

    Take it easy,
    ps. We’re bashing right-wing Neocon scumbags in the comments over at Renegade’s blog.
    Come join us if you want to release some tension.

  4. Pingback: The State of British Democracy « Bala Fría

  5. This was a very well made series (usual idiosyncratic Curtis touches such as the repetitive use of certain music themes and stock footage). It’s a shame it was hidden away in the schedule. Quite a stark conclusion with thoughts about the role of violent protest.

  6. The conclusion is fantastic. Bit Fannon-esque if that’s the right term. Revolution does drive social change. We’re just brainwashed into thinking it’s wrong. Perhaps we’re well overdue one, or is revolution classed as ‘terrorism’ these days?

    I wonder why the final part keeps getting pulled from Google Video??? The bastards!

  7. I am aware the videos are no longer available. I will try to find them again when I have time. In the meantime have a look on the net as this is a series worth watching.



  8. Pingback: MPs’ Expenses – Kick Them All Out. Time For True Democracy! « Bala Fria

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