Hobsbawm focused these sections of the book on science and its growing importatce to the world before World War I. He discusses how the western world had begun to review the pinciples of physics, chemistry, and science in general in terms of how things will occur in the future and not as way of explaining past events. The latter was the thought pattern that had been used throughout history up until this time. Intellectuals at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century had begun to separate intuition and common sense from science altogether. He uses the crises that occurred in mathematics and physics to illustrate the transformation from the theological to rational thought in the sciences. These conflicts roused questions about the religious basis of our knowledge and caused a major shift away from religious doctrine in the west. Education soon became the standard centerpiece of knowledge. With the advancement of scence people were able to gain knowledge at a more rapid pace. This lessened importance of religion in the west sparked western beliefs of superiority over non-western countries.
Hobsbawm also discusses revolution. He talks about the insistence of the peripheral nations on gaining their independence and the fall of stable, strong powers at the the hands of these revolutionaries. Western powers were upset about this precedent and worried about their future as colonial powers. Reading these sections made me think about what we hold as true today about the world. The enlightenment took place just over 100 years ago, which shows that our knowledge of the world as it is thought about today is truly only in its infancy. Do you think that they way we think about the world today will hold up overtime or do you think there will be another revolution in thinking and the world will come to be viewed from a wholly new perspective?