Many people ask why should I, or any other person, learn Chassidus? Firstly, Chassidus was not around until relatively recently and secondly, when a person learns Chassidus the more learned he becomes, the more “bittul” (nullified, void, negated, humble) he becomes. When a person learns nigleh the greater he becomes, the more important, big and respected he is. When a person learns chassidus the opposite happens. So what is the advantage in that? The Lubavitcher Rebbe addressed this question in a sicha in 1952.
We can see the answers to this question from a disease that has unfortunately become strong relatively recently in the course of history. The Rebbe did not even want to say the name of the disease because it is so destructive. When it comes to a regular sickness, the way to cure a person is by strengthening the body. But when it comes to this disease the way to battle it is to destroy it or cut it out of the body. So if a person would come along and claim that he does not want that this disease be destroyed but that he wants that this thing should remain in his body because after all it's a part of him and it adds to him, we would tell this person that this particular sickness has to destroyed.
It used to be that when people learned Torah they felt nullified to G-d Almighty naturally because they saw the G-dliness behind the words of Torah. But a new phenomenon has occurred in more recent times. When a person learns nigleh of Torah, like Jews always have, he builds up his ego and “feels” himself to be a real something. This "something"is not a good addition but an aberration that should be eliminated because it is not a healthy trait. The way to fight this disease is to learn Chabad Chassidus, which shows and reveals the G-dliness behind the words of Torah.
So this answers both of our questions. 1) Since this spiritual disease did not exist in previous generations therefore the cure “Chassidus” was not needed, as it is known that G-d sends the cure before he sends the decease. 2) The reason why learning Chassidus makes a person less of a “something” is because this is precisely the cure which is required for our times and our generation and our problems.
Have a great week everyone!