Studying the past, especially the distant past in human history, and how great civilizations rose and fell, adds perspective to this.
Because all that happened then isn't terribly different than what happens now. We are only one part of human history. Time does not stand still. We are not the result, not the finished product. There is no finish. There was no beginning. We are in movement.
Sometimes it's hard not to be down on human nature when you see this. We have been suppressing each other, steal from each other, controlling each other, and fighting each other for power and resources for as long as humans have been around.