This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The end of fatalism in the 20th Century

If you could go back and meet your ancestors of the early 20th Century and before, you would probably be shocked at how fatalistic they were. That is, they would just see terrible things happen, shake their heads, and move on. And although the technology was changing quickly, attitudes weren't. It really wasn't until the late 20th Century that fatalism really ended in the Western World.

For me, I draw the line at 1965, when seat belts were first made available in cars. Before that, it was just "destiny" to be killed or severely injured in a car accident. And it wasn't as if they didn't have the technology. The nylon used in seat belts today was invented in the 1940s. Racing cars had them as early as the 1950s. But it would take a change of attitude to make them commonly used, as they are today.

There are a lot of things that are still beyond control of the human race. But in addition to safety features in cars, which we have come to demand, there have been tremendous advances in medicine, which we have also come to demand. The biggest change has been in our decision to accept these things.

Your ancestors would have frowned at your use of seat belts and high blood-pressure medication. It would have been tampering with "God's Will". Some people still think this way, at least they say they do. But hopefully they won't drive around without a seat belt and stop taking their high blood-pressure medicine.
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