Part 1. Love and Power. Curtis tracks the effects of Ayn Rand's "Objectivist" ideas on American financial markets, particularly via the influence on Alan Greenspan.
Part. 2. The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. Machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and a false idea of self-stabilising feedback loops. Adam Curtis concludes that while the self organising network is good at organising change, it is much less good at what comes next. The result is that networks leave people helpless in the face of those already in power in the world.
Part 3. The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey. Darwinism and the selfish gene theory are intertwined with the tragic history of post-colonial Africa and the Rwanda massacres.
If there is a unifying message to Curtis' oeuvre, it must be that vain infatuation with concepts leads to the tyranny of theories and ideologies, which perpetuate inequality, injustice and oligarchical rule. Our salvation lies closer to home: in common sense, fair play and our own initiative.
This is a story about the rise of the machines
And why no one believes you can change the world for the better anymore
How we decided that we were machines ourselves
Played video games
And helped start Africa's world war
-- Adam Curtis.
VIDEO QUALITY ADVISORY: Adam Curtis films are available only in versions recorded from broadcast. Video quality will not be on a par with a digital production DVD.