Just some basic observations over time, but it seems that people are inherently corrupt. Given the choice, it seems that most people (especially if they perceive that no one will find out or is watching them) will behave selfishly, childishly, greedily, and sometimes with a touch of malice. I remember reading an Orthodox perspective (can't remember where) that basically said the opposite; people are basically good at heart. My experience has been the opposite.
I believe that this is like the Great Canon of Repentance by Andrew of Crete:
"Alas, wretched soul! Why are you like the first Eve? For you have wickedly looked and been bitterly wounded, and you have touched the tree and rashly tasted the forbidden food."
And again it's been written that:"This is very symptomatic of our times because it presents even to unbelieving people an image of Christ so that when Antichrist comes they will say, "Aha, I saw on the stage something like that. Yes, that must be it."
One thing I have noticed is that people seem to be very impatient these days- almost as if there's a pervasive sense of entitlement. The commercials on TV tell us that we deserve the best, why wait, you deserve it your way, why settle,... Given my assertion that people are basically corrupt to begin with, it seems as if our culture is just making it worse.
Ah, what a truly glorious observation! For scripture tells us in Matthew 24:13:
"But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved."
Yet, now we see impatient souls, craving and desiring to the point which the Holy Fathers warned us would come in the "end". And again we read in Hebrews 6:10-12;
"For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shewn in his name, you who have ministered, and do minister to the saints. 11 And we desire that every one of you shew forth the same carefulness to the accomplishing of hope unto the end: 12 That you become not slothful, but followers of them, who through faith and patience shall inherit the promises."
Am I way off base here? Am I being too pessimistic?
No, according to scripture, not even a little.
May God continue to bless the "eyes" that see.
For we live in a generation of "deep sleep". One of which the Holy Fathers wrote about, nevertheless, few will find their way in the end.
Because it was written that in "the end", trials and tribulations would "encompass" us, so that we like the woman written of in Revelation, the evil one would hope and strive, that we be encompassed, yet (by the grace of God) we should escape.
Rev 12:17:" the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed,
who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
It is sad that these days differ from the rest of Orthodox history; by the splits, schisms & accusations that exist, yet, we each
have Our Common Hope, Our Lord and Our God, Jesus Christ, who will guide us through all tribulations.
In the words of St. Joseph the Hesychast on Patience:
"Postscript: I don't have time to write to you about the miracle that the Lord showed me to correct a mistake I was making out of ignorance, as you know. So, do you see the great goodness of our Lord? Do you see that He even works miracles when His divine providence deems it suitable? Many times a person is deluded out of ignorance or because others mislead him. But when he has an upright soul and good intentions, the Lord does not abandon him, but will bring him enlightenment in various ways. This makes me feel like dirt, ash, and a worm of the earth.
Most truly, great is the mercy of the Lord. The Psalmist is right in saying, "Not according to our sins hath He dealt with us, nor according to our iniquities hath He rewarded us."
So then, why shouldn't you thank God? Why should you grumble? If I were to write to you the temptations I undergo, you would not be able to bear it. Nevertheless, the grace of Christ and our Panagia dispels them all. Have patience, for the Theotokos, the Queen and Lady of all, does not abandon us. She prays for us."
Let us rest our care on Him, Who is alone, Our only Hope.