A good performance, like a human life, is a temporal affair—a process in time. It is good as a whole through being good in its parts, and through their good order to one another. It cannot be called good as a whole until it is finished. During the process all we can say of it, if we speak precisely, is that it is becoming good. The same is true of a whole human life. Just as the whole performance never exists at any one time, but is a process of becoming, so a human life is also a performance in time and a process of becoming. And just as the goodness that attaches to the performance as a whole does not attach to any of its parts, so the goodness of a human life as a whole belongs to it alone, and not to any of its parts or phases.
Mortimer J. Adler
Mortimer J. Adler (b. 1902), U.S. educator, philosopher. The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense, ch. 2, Holt (1970).