I've been thinking about what I'll call the "Ebenezer Scrooge" dynamic, this scenario where someone lives the majority of their life in wealthy self-indulgence, driven primarily be ego-centrism, but undergoes some transformation late in life and "realizes their folly" with some consequent refocusing on "what really matters".
It's a wordy thing to describe, but I feel scenario recurs often in our story-telling culture.
My question is this: do we (the audience for these stories) secretly long to share that experience? Does that story resonate with us because we want the opportunity to live a selfish (and comfortable) life with the chance of some sort of moral redemption before we die?
Consider the opposite situation: where are the stories warning against living a life of quiet and kind humility in the service of others, only to swing to a wealth obsessed selfishness in the twilight of life?
My current theory is that we, in Western cultures, (not so) secretly sympathize with the Ebenezer Scrooge model.