Very often, you hear people lamenting that former times were (morally and otherwise) better than those during which we now live.
Yet, in Ecclesiastes 7:10, we seem to read that we should not ask why this is so.
So, does this mean that all periods of time are equal, morally and otherwise? Is that why we shouldn’t ask questions like this?
Is this passage even referring to “ages of time” or “eras”, or, is it referring to shorter periods of time, such as the beginning of one’s lif versus the end (as this was just what the author had been talking about prior to this statement)?
Or, is this passage saying that we should not inquire into the “reasons” for any apparent decline? After all, the author does say that we should not ask “why” these things happen. Still, why would it not be wise to inquire into the causes for this? Are they unable to be found out, no matter how hard we look, no matter in what era of scientific inquiry we find ourselves? I mean, I could give an answer to why morals decline such as “moral instruction is not what it once was” or “we gave the devil an inch and he took a mile”. These could be perfectly logical explanation, could they not? So, then, why would asking this question not be from wisdom?
Or, rather, is our author saying that we should not (in a lamenting way) ask “O why were the good old days so much better than now?!” possibly in a similar vein to Cicero’s “O tempora, O mores!” (“Oh, [what horrible] times, o [what wretched] morals!”)? Yet, again, though, why should we NOT lament the times ifw e feel badly about what is happening during them compared to previous ages?
Rather, is our author advising against our considering the “good old days” as qualitatively better than the present and, in some sense, wishing to go back to them because, perhaps this shows a lack of contentment? I do have to admit, however, I myself look back on previous times (or at least certain select aspects of them) and do wish the things pertaining to the negative had remained the same. Is it somehow wrong to think like this? To me, it is only natural to think like this, though I am also quite pleased with many aspects of our current age.
Or, is the author’s point that human nature hasn’t changed necessarily, so, in that sense, times are not worse than they are today. Only permissiveness, perhaps, has changed, but not human nature itself? So, then, in this light, would an expressing, say, of disdain for the permissiveness in our present age be allowed by Sacred Scripture, such as that found in the Ciceronian sentiment?
So, then, what is this passage saying? What is not wise about speaking of former times being better than now?