The great composer repeatedly emphasised that he was the son of his era. In such statements Tchaikovsky, first of all, meant the fundamentals of his own life, strikingly different from the way people used to live before. The cornerstone of his reasoning on this topic was the role of God in human life.
As a 'man of his era', Tchaikovsky felt himself 'broken' and 'morally hurt' and 'eaten reflex', whereas in the past, according to his ideas, people were soul more integral and carried 'warm, naive faith' in their hearts. The composer's self-perception had quite objective reasons, similar to those of many of his contemporaries. The middle and second half of the 19th century was a time of gradual decay of religious life in Russian society, strengthening of various doubts and search for an alternative to Christianity. Remaining a state religion, it became more and more formalised, exhausted and for many people, it ceased to be that indestructible life-giving force that once inspired great accomplishments of entire nations and individuals. Regular reading of the Book and religious literature, theological thought and praying were no longer a part of everyday practice. All this gradually ceased to be interesting and meaningful, giving way to a variety of new ideas, goals and values. However, there was no real substitute for the previous order of thought and this caused social tension and numerous personal tragedies (for example, in the 1880s, Russia saw a wave of suicides).
As a child, little Pyotr had warm religious feelings, as can be seen from his poems. They were mainly about love for God and his Motherland. During his study at the School of Law, the future composer, who even sang in the church choir of the school, did not immerse deeply in church life and did not occupy his mind looking for answers to philosophical questions about the meaning of life and the world order. Despite the fact that at the age of 14 he faced his mother's death, the common interests of young people and the general secular order of St. Petersburg life took over and for many years determined the main aspirations of the young man. A confession of the 21-year-old Tchaikovsky in one of his letters to his sister is quite distinctive: 'Do you know my weakness? When I have money in my pocket, I spend it all on pleasure; it's mean, it's stupid—I know; strictly speaking, I can't have money for pleasure; there are exorbitant debts that require payment, there are the very first needs—but I (again, by weakness) don't really see anything and have fun. That's my character'.