Peter Galison on Einstein and Poincaré (from Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps: Empires of Time, 2003):
Yet despite their differences, both were grappling with the same extraordinary insight into electrocoordinated time, and in so doing both men stood at the crossing of two great movements. On one side lay the vast modern technological infrastructure of trains, shipping, and telegraphs that joined under the signs of clocks and maps. On the other, a new sense of the mission of knowledge was emerging, one that would define time by pragmatism and conventionality, not by eternal truths and theological sanction. Technological time, metaphysical time, and philosophical time crossed in Einstein’s and Poincaré’s electrically synchronized clocks. Time coordination stood, unequaled, at that intersection: the modern junction of knowledge and power.
(Tracking this techno-cultural lineage forward into Bitcoin is illuminating.)