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“But It Was All An Illusion”

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May 25, 2011

In his new BBC documentary series, All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace, Adam Curtis uses what is easily the most dramatic, and revealing, piece of 9/11 footage, showing the collapse of the World Trade Centre’s south tower, the explosive pounding as it comes down, the debris jetting out many floors below the tumbling, billowing destruction. How often have you seen this shocking footage in any mainstream documentary?

The above clip also provides a simple explanation, from Adam Curtis, for how the United States managed to get itself into such extraordinary debt, and inflate such apocalyptic bubbles, during the Bush II regime :

“The Asian countries, led by China, had decided never again would they put themselves at the mercy of America and its financial elites.

“So the Chinese Politburo created a system to manage America. They deliberately held their currency’s exchange rate at a low level. This meant their exports were cheap, and Chinese goods flooded into America. And to pay for them, American dollars flooded into China.

“But instead of spending the money on the population, the Chinese leaders immediately lent the money back to America by buying government bonds. It was a perfect system of cheap goods and cheap money flowing into America. All controlled by the Chinese Politburo.

“And it was this that created the stability. The Chinese money had led America into a dream world. The reason why so few bankers and politicians questioned it was because of computers.”

Curtis’ new 3 part series explores, in part, how humanity has enslaved itself to computers, in our search for order and freedom, and the building and maintenance of computer systems.

I regard all Adam Curtis documentaries as essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand the western world of the 20th century. But this series looks like it’s going to be something very special indeed.

Part 1 of the first episode follows :

More thoughts from Curtis on the themes of All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace here :

‘We live in a dynamic and unpredictable world and we need to embrace the chaos,’ he says. ‘But with machines trying to keep everything stable, the world becomes static.’

And here :

“In the 1960s, an idea penetrated deep into the public imagination that nature is a self-regulating ecosystem, there is a natural order,” Curtis says. “The trouble is, it’s not true – as many ecologists have shown, nature is never stable, it’s always changing. But the idea took root and spread wider – people started to believe there is an underlying order to the entire world, to how society is structured. Everything became part of a system, like a computer; no more hierarchies, freedom for all, no class, no nation states.”

“The internet played a key role in guiding revolutions that had no guiding ideology, except a desire for self-determination and freedom. In all those revolutions, that sense of freedom lasted only for a moment. The people were brilliant at overturning the power – but then what? Democracy needs proper politics, but people have given up on saying that they’re going to change the world. It’s as if these people assembled spontaneously on Twitter and they just want freedom. But what kind of society do they want?”

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This article was posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 3:17 am

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