The path to the age of iPhones and obesity wasn't easy. Humanity suffered dearly for energy drinks and fitness centres.


Some say the blame lay with that fellow Homo Sapiens Sapiens; after all, he'd wiped out the peaceful Neanderthals from history with a blow to the head. Maybe no crime was committed; it was just nature running its course.

For others, it was all God’s fault. He allowed enough evil in humans, just so he could punish them later.

Those who rejected God meddling in worldly affairs invented science. So that in the future they could build kitchen appliances and nuclear bombs.

Humanity had free-will. He alone would decide who was meant to die.

That is why a group known as “the others” was invented.

Immanuel Kant and David Hume, the inventors of reason, also discovered that whites possessed a higher sensibility, blacks were at least trainable as servants, that Indians were sly but incapable of abstract thought, and American natives were lazy, dispassionate, ignorant and ineffectual.

rosaparksRosa Parks, is an icon of resistance in the struggle of the African-Americans in the USA for equality. Her refusal in 1955 to give up her seat on a public bus to make room for a white passenger sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Humanity wanted to make its own history; and to do this had to produce food, clothing and shelter. A division of labour ensued. Some made those things, while others wrote history. After much misery new ages dawned. Some put up with it, others basked in the sun.

Once a new age dawned, the next beckoned. This was the condition for God's allowing humanity to make its own history. Europeans attained the age of the rifle, and to get to the age of gold-and-silver, they wiped out those who had not made it to the age of the rifle. Hernando Cortes destroyed the Aztec Empire, and Francesco Pizarro destroyed the Incas. This was called “The Age of Discovery.”

What the discovered was that the South American empires and African natives were defenseless against guns. They figured out the extent “we” could tyrannize “the others.” They saw it was a lot. In the early 1500s, before Columbus, Mexico had 25 million inhabitants. In a hundred years, it was down to a million. When the world’s population was around 400 million, the attrition rate during “The Age of Discovery” perpetrated by Europeans in South America was 70 million. This includes children and adults fed alive to dogs.

The greatest explorer, Christopher Columbus, described the local people thus, “They are all of a good size and stature, and handsomely formed. (…) They should be good servants.” He wrote in his journal: “I was very attentive to them, and stroved to learn if they had any gold… These islands are all extremely verdant and fertile ... and probably contain many things of which I am ignorant, not inclining to stay here, but visit other islands in search of gold.”

So he did. There was gold. They killed the natives, stole their gold.

spanishClick here if you are wondering what the declaration (requerimiento) read out by European conquerors to the local population in order to supposedly create some form of legal basis to their conquests was about; and here to find out more about the story of this document. A summary: You either obey and convert to our religion, or, in the name of the Lord, we will make you suffer!

In the 1500s, the Belgian engraver Theodorus De Bry showed how and what had been discovered, and his engravings were seen throughout Europe. But the blood-soaked plunder was still known as “the discoveries,” since they had been financed by European investors, enabling the founding of the free market economy.

Thus it was possible for 6 or 7-year old children in England to work in factories from dawn to dusk, instead of loitering in the streets. Slave traders would complain of revolts: “It is terrible because we cannot fire on them, since each man is worth at least 1000 francs.” At a later stage, humanity would produce a make of car named after the civilisation it had destroyed.

The Aztek model of Pontiac. What were they thinking, of one wonders about the choice of name. Chief Pontiac was an Indian chief from the Ottawa tribe who showed significant resistance against the white invasion. This company must have a fixation with massacres.

During its adventure spanning thousands of years, humanity often asked itself the meaning of life.

But somehow it failed to understand the order in which it lived.

Just when the riddle was about to be solved, something called progress popped up and nobody had any spare time.

While the conqueror’s weapon was the rifle, the Industrial Revolution's was the steam engine. Until now, humanity had groped around in the dark, wasting time. So, if only some were maimed in factories or crawled around in dark tunnels, others could enjoy traveling on trains, or going to war with steam boats. Coal was needed.

The white man considered all slaves alike. The method of branding the logo of the boss on to the skin of the slaves with a hot iron was developed. Economy advances with such innovations and the progress of humanity is thus ensured.

If you could force people on the other side of the world into mines at gunpoint, then why not do the same in your own country? Well, many didn't have guns or money. Humanity used reason to progress. First it came up with the idea of sending every poor child over the age of five underground. Not only could the brats shuffle up and down the narrow tunnels with ease, they could also be paid less than grown-ups.


It was reason which sent poor families and their children down the mines, and religion which consoled those who remained above, by singing hymns for the victims of the dark. That way, they could go back down the next day. And they did. This was how, by throwing people in one end, and getting coal out the other, mining became an industry.

Let us now hear it from Frankie Laine: Sixteen Tons

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The US “fitness industry” has today reached an estimated financial volume of 17 to 24 billion dollars. More than 500 thousand people are employed in the fitness business. The “industry” of diets and shedding weight is even bigger: its estimated volume is around 40 billion dollars. The average annual income of the 630 million people that form the most impoverished segment is not enough to buy a single iPhone.


Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941) One of the most important painters of 20th century India. She also played piano and violin and performed in concert across India.

orangutanAccording to Europeans, the facial features of Africans were almost identical with orangutans. The Europeans were human, and the rest were mere creatures.


I have only managed to include details of two paintings by the Ecuadorian painter Eduardo Kingman in the film (one of them is on the left here), but you can access further examples of his work on the internet. “The Blue Boy”, painted by Thomas Gainsborough, is one of the two proud figures sharing the same scene in the movie. The other is "William Pitt the Elder" by William Hoare.

Diego Rivera, depicted the "Arrival of Hernan Corntes in Veracruz" on a huge, 25 square meter fresco with such mastery that it became a perfect description of the “Age of Discovery.” This is also why we focus on it in the film and the detail below is from the painting. The savagery carried out in the Americas by European “conquerors” is among the most frequently referenced “materials” of scientists carrying out research into the psychological roots of “evil”. diegorivera

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), one of the greatest writers of Western literature, used a total of 24 thousand words in his 38 plays, 154 sonnets and other works. Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, who were destroyed by the Europeans, contained 27 thousand words. The Spanish entered Mexico around 45 years before the birth of Shakespeare, and there are only a million people in the world today who can speak the Aztec language to some extent. The number of people who communicate solely using this language is 100 thousand. Nahuatl was a language with many nuances. For instance, the language had different words for the “we” that included the person addressed, and the “we” that did not. Cocoa, chocolate and tomato are all words of Nahuatl origin.


Today, scientists define a year as 365.2422 days. According to the Gregorian calendar the figure stands at 365.2425, whereas before the Europeans burned their civilization to the ground, the Mexicans calculated a year as 365.2420 days. Such a small difference was probably not worth destroying people… Click here if you would like to find out more about the civilization of the “primitive locals” destroyed by the Europeans.

balboaVasco Nunez de Balboa,
was the first European to see the Eastern coast of the Pacific Ocean. He carried out his conquests with methods such as setting his dogs upon people to tear them to pieces, and he ruled in modern-day Panama and its environs. Although he was a man whose name deserves to be forgotten, there are still parks, streets and monuments named after him in Panama. Even worse, the official currency of Panama (the balboa) bears his name. A park and a street in San Francisco are named after him. Again in California, in San Diego, there is a big park named after him. In Spain, where he is honored with many monuments, the name of a street and a metro station are Balboa. The Columbus Monument in the movie, by Tomas Mur, is not in Spain, but Guatemala.


This painting depicting the opening of fire on a slave mutiny in open sea and slaves jumping into the sea was first published in a book on colonization. The original title of the book by Carl B. Wadstrom, a central figure in the struggle for the abolition of slavery, published in 1794-95, was “An Essay On Colonization, particularly applied to the Western Coast of Africa”. In other words, this painting was “visual material” used as a current image. Götürülürken açık denizde isyan etmiş kölelere ateş açılmasını, kölelerin denize atlayışını gösteren bu resim, ilk olarak, sömürgeleştirme üzerine bir kitapta yeralmış. Köleliğe karşı mücadelenin öndegelen isimlerinden Carl B. Wadstrom'un 1794-95'te basılan kitabının orijinal adı, "An Essay on Colonization, particularly applied to the Western Coast of Africa". Yani güncel fotoğraf niyetine kullanılmış bir "görsel malzeme".

lwhineThe photographs of child miners in the film belong to Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940). This great photographer who dedicated his entire life to working for social justice is little known today, just as he was when he died at 66 in a hospital. The photos he took for the NCLC, the National Child Labor Committee, an institution that worked for the abolition of child labor, are amazing. He also took photographs of adults working in industry, including workers at the Empire State Building construction site, and each frame makes one exclaim “there is something deeply wrong about this”. This is perhaps why the New York Modern Art Museum, to which his son tried to donate his photographs after his death, refused to accept this treasure. (Perhaps the museum directors did not want to annoy the markets.) His archive was presented to George Eastman House (the museum named after the founder of Kodak) in Rochester. Please click on the links below and view the products of this amazing and honorable effort that has not received the attention it deserves:
George Eastman House: Empire State BuildingLet Children Be ChildrenEllis IslandSelected Lewis W. Hine | Library of Congress | The University of Maryland, Baltimore County | |
Mornings on Maple Street (Lewis Hine Project)

zappa frankielane16 Ton (16 Tons)
The song the movie was named after is first presented with Frank Zappa’s interpretation of it. However, there is some uncertainty surrounding this version, some say Zappa only played on the B-side (“Breaktime”) of this single released with Paul Buff and Ronnie Williams. The version that plays in the background during the “Age of Discovery” belongs to Los Autenticos from Mexico, and it is thus renamed “16 Toneladas.” At the end of the first part, we listen to Frankie Lane’s version, and also get to see him perform part of the song.