When every living being cared only for its own desires, וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וְהִנֵּה נִשְׁחָתָה כִּי־הִשְׁחִית כָּל־בָּשָׂר אֶת־דַּרְכּוֹ עַל־הָאָ, “And God saw the earth and it was corrupt, because all flesh (every living being) corrupted its way upon the earth” (Bereishit 6:12). Individual hedonistic narcissism runs amok and there is no hope for anything. All life needs a fresh start.
When all humanity was united, but with a narcissist humanism which sees Man as “the measure of all things”, וַיְהִי כָל־הָאָרֶץ שָׂפָה אֶחָת וּדְבָרִים אֲחָדִים, “And the entire world shared one language and were united in thought and purpose” (Bereishit 11:1), they became great builders, masters of technology! They built a tower to themselves, וְנַעֲשֶׂה־לָּנוּ שֵׁם (Bereishit 11:4), “And we will make ourselves a name”, not to celebrate The Creator and join with Him as builders and creators in their own right, albeit on a lesser scale. No, they sought to become celebrities, to replace God with their own fantasized grandness. United together in totalitarian slavery to a narcissistic ideal, there is no hope for humanity. Society needs to begin anew.
One man, a righteous man, נֹחַ אִישׁ צַדִּיק תָּמִים הָיָה בְּדֹרֹתָיו, “Noah was a complete Tzadik in his generation” (Bereishit 6:9). A righteous man, but a man of his generation, a generation of individualistic narcissism, he saves himself and his family but abandons all the rest of life to the floodwaters.
The lessons aren’t that obscure, are they?