“The truth of the tragedy is action itself, that is, action on the new, differentiated level of a movement in the soul that culminates in the decision . . . of a mature, responsible man. . . . Tragedy as a form is the study of the human soul in the process of making decisions, while the single tragedies construct conditions and experimental situations, in which a fully developed, self-conscious soul is forced into action.”
My gosh, this is tremendous.
It's Eric Voegelin, and again I am alone among my friends in loving this guy.
"A fully developed, self-conscious soul" is spoudaios - "Serious, earnest person. Aristotle's term for the `mature' rational and ethical person, the fully developed human being capable of intelligent thought and responsible decision and action."
But in our world, and most remarkably in the Church at large, consequence is divorced from action, and maturity is divorced from Christ. We see ourselves as infants saved from nothing by a God who makes no demands.
As Niebuhr said, making fun of the theology of the day in most American churches, "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."
And that's not tragic. That's pathetic.