I think the biggest universal truth or theme that becomes clear when you read this exciting text is the way in which the importance of speed and accuracy are stressed. Let us remember that the story is set in the 19th century, an age where technology and the power of reason was believed to provide a solution for every problem. Phileas Fogg is clearly an adherent of this view, as his calm mien and confidence in machinery and technology to achieve his objective demonstrate. The bet that sends Phileas Fogg on his journey around the world after all is one that is based on the modern world and what can be achieved in such an age of innovation and technology.
A very interesting section of the novel that shows how reason and technology are used to allow Fogg to reach his objective is when they are travelling from San Fransisco to New York in a tram. The tram suddenly has to stop at Medicine Bow creek because the bridge is believed to be unstable. One of the passengers, however, an enginner of the name of Foster, comes up with a solution showing the supremacy of reason and science:
'Gentlemen, perhaps there is a way, after all, to get over.' But the bridge is unsafe, urged the conductor. 'No matter,' replied Forster, 'I think that by putting on the very highest speed we might have a chance of getting over.'
Physics and its application into technology allows Fogg to continue on his journey. Therefore the theme of technology and man's reason in this age of science and innovation is one of the central themes of this text.