11 on Culture
by Geoff Ryan
According to the historian Paul Johnson, the modern world began one hundread years ago with a young civil servant named Albert Einstein when he published a paper entitled On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies (or the Special Theory of Relativity). Einstein's ideas eventually fell victim to what the philosopher Karl Popper termed the "law of unintended consequence." The popular, public response to relativity morphed into the belief that there were no longer any absolutes - of time and space, of good and evil, of knowledge, of value. Commencing in the 1920's, "relativity," as Johnson points out, "became confused with relativism...and helped cut society adrift from its traditional moorings in the faith and morals of Judeo-Christian culture."