Monday, December 21, 2020

First Paragraph

"One evening towards the end of 1999, I was at home watching the news on television. After the presenter had delivered the main stories of the day, she started to introduce a résumé of what I thought would be the events of the past twelve months, as usual on such late-December evenings. That year, however, she began a review of the whole twentieth century. 'As we draw to the end of the century that has seen more change than any other . . .' she began. I caught those words in my mind, held them there, and started thinking about them. What do we really know about change? I wondered. What makes this presenter so confident that the twentieth century saw more change than, say, the nineteenth, when railways transformed the world? Or the sixteenth, when Copernicus suggested that the Earth rotates around the Sun, and Luther broke the Christian Church in two? Soon black-and-white movies, a mushroom cloud, space rockets, cars and computers began to fill my television screen. The presenter's statement that the twentieth century had seen more change than any other was clearly based on the assumption that 'change' is synonymous with technological development - and that the twentieth century's innovations were without parallel."

- From Millennium: From Religion to Revolution: How Civilization Has Changed Over a Thousand Years by Ian Mortimer

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