“Judgment”

Another thematic fragment in the human drama that makes itself available as a dramatic horizon and is closely related to the horizon of death is the theme of judgment. Judgment is popularly represented on the stage in the dramatic form of a court process or trial. A powerful intense trial scene that unfolds on the stage unfailingly prods a captivated audience to behold itself directly and make a judgment on its own action. Judgment played out on the stage mirrors the judgment on the human action performed in the drama of existence. The audience’s ability to judge the meaning and quality of the performance, both on the stage and in life, reflects and anticipates that transcendent act of judgment at the end of the drama of existence – the Last Judgment.[1]

If the struggle for the good implies the decisions and course of action taken with a view to achieving the desired Good, judgment includes the appraisal of human action which translates the decisions made in pursuit of the Good. It asks the question whether the course of action taken is right, good, or meaningful. Does it lead us to the desired good while interacting with other subjects who also struggle for the good? In a wider perspective, it asks the question how decisions and actions which human beings make in struggling together lead a community to the Good. In the horizon of judgment, our life as a whole is being called to question. The question addresses the meaning and quality of our life, a meaning and quality built on the quality of the decisions made as we struggle to find the Good.

Given that judgment is about the question of life’s meaning, then life’s meaning may be evaluated and expressed in terms of genre – tragedy, comedy or tragi-comedy – depending on whether life’s condition (with conflicting influences) finds a solution coming from the horizon of meaning. This way of categorizing – thus, judging – the drama on the stage and the drama of life anticipates the Christian understanding of the Last Judgment.[2]

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[1] TD I, 250-51; 461.

[2] “There can be tragedies depicting the fall of the hero within a horizon of meaning or meaninglessness, just as there can be comedies in which the partial reconciliation takes place either as a symbol of a belief in total reconciliation or, on the contrary, as an element of lightheartedness against a background of horror. Finally there can be tragi-comedies that observe the events (which have a simultaneously tragic and comic effect) either with conciliatory humor or with grimness.” Ibid., 424-25.

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