Most of us tend to be nostalgic about our ancestral past. Researching one’s family tree has become a popular and passionate pastime. We imagine that when our forefathers lived, things were simpler, and in some ways, better than the complicated lives we live now.
But when we dig into our past, we realize that life back then was not all that rosy. Sure, there would have been some good days, but life before modern science had ushered in all the comforts and life-extending advances of modern medicine that we take for granted, we quickly realize that life in the past was often “nasty, brutish, and short”.
Imagine living at a time when a bad cold could whisk you away to the undertaker, or when you were lucky if half of your children survived childhood. Or, what about living in Europe when the blows from Martin Luther’s apocryphal hammer were quickly followed by one hundred years of religious war? Catholics and Protestants taking turns barbecuing each other!