"A Relativistic World" is an excerpt from Paul Johnson's Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties. Paul Johnson is a gifted historian and writer. He writes with a clarity and flair not found in many history textbooks.
In this excerpt, Johnson deals with Einstein, Freud, Marx, and Darwin and how they impacted 20th century thought.
1. Explain the significance of Arthur Eddington's 1919 experiment.
2. What is relativism and how is it related to Einstein's theory of relativity? How did Einstein feel about relativism?
3. What is unified field theory?
4. Explain what Karl Popper meant by the phrase "the law of unintended consequences." How does this relate to Einstein and Darwin?
5. Explain how WWI and its aftermath led to the widespread circulation of Freud's ideas.
6. Compare and contrast Einstein's approach to science with that of Freud's.
7. What is a gnostic? In what way was Freud a gnostic?
8. What words and phrases did Freud add to the language?
9. In what way was Marxism also a form of gnosticism?
10. How does the Judeo-Christian view of the conscience differ from Freud's view?
11. "Marx, Freud, Einstein all conveyed the same message to the 1920s: the world was not what it seemed." Explain.