17The New Priorities1991

I’m an old historian and one of the things that are mysteries to historians is those periods every 200 or 300 years when suddenly the world changes. It’s like turning a kaleidoscope—the pieces are the same, but their meaning is totally different. And the people who survived that period usually can’t even figure out what the world was like before it changed. That was the situation around 1500. Next door to us is the wonderful exhibition of the World of Columbus in 1492. That was such a period of change. We have a letter from a very distinguished man of 1525 after the Reformation who said, “I’ve been trying to explain to my son what the world looked like when I grew up in the 1480s, and I can’t.” And we had the same phenomenon ...

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