The growth in health, welfare, and wealth of 18th century Europe was a glittering spire when set against any measure of the grand history of humanity. A pinnacle set abruptly at the end of a very long, very gentle upward slope. Consider that, as noted at In Search of Enlightenment:
Prehistoric human remains have never revealed individuals older than about 50 years of age, and humans had a life expectancy at birth of 30 years or less for more than 99.9% of the time that we have inhabited this planet.
Disease, parasitism, pain, suffering, and a short life is the unvarnished and absolutely natural human condition, absent our marvelous talent for progress. That talent, compounded over the course of history, ensured that the 18th century was a time of great change and increasing life spans. But by the year 1900, those earlier heights of medicine and wealth were shown to be mere foothills and swamps of ignorance in comparison to the new knowledge won by scientific and medical pioneers. Fast forward another hundred years, to our present age, and 1900 now seems like a dim echo of a pastoral past, a quaint era of ignorance, crude medicine, lives cut short by untreatable age-related disease, and earnest poverty - all captured for posterity in fading black and white photographs.
Yet even with all this layered history of progress to look back on, there are a great many people who think that the results of our present medical technology represent an apex of sorts. They think we stand at the top, or somewhere near it, here and now. You don't have to go far to find folk who believe that the healthy human life span will not be greatly increased any time soon, for example. To my eyes, that is a point of view that just hasn't been thought through.
These things have to be looked at in context. This is a roaring age of progress, and each new generation stands that much higher upon the spire we are building.