In After the Fall, Arthur Miller’s character Quentin says:

For years I looked at life like a case at law, a series of arguments. When you’re young you prove how brave you are or smart you are. Then what a good lover you are, later what a good husband or father you are. Finally how wise, how powerful, or whatever.

But underlying it all, I now see there was an assumption, that person moves on a path toward, I don’t know, toward being justified, condemned; a verdict. Anyway.

My disaster happened when one day I looked up and realized the bench was empty. No God, no judge in sight. And all that remained was the endless argument with myself, the litigation of existence before an empty bench, which is another way of saying—of course—despair.

Note

  • He is saying every human being—whether believe in god or not, every human being is out there earning his or her salvation, the salvation of feeling good about ourselves.
  • We are all unsatisfied enough, or incomplete in some way, amassing a resume.
  • We are constantly arguing in a court room…that we are okay.
Arthur Miller

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