In reality, people were too busy dying of syphilis or being publicly whipped to admire the aesthetics of steam engines. And that's just 150 years ago. The further back you go, the uglier it gets. By the time you get back to hunter-gatherer societies, you would be killed or starve to death so fast that you wouldn't even have time to die of syphilis.
Humans are less violent, more productive, happier, better educated, more free, and less diseased than ever before.