It is a standard of near death and pre-death cinematic experiences to have your “life flash before eyes” just as you die or think you are about it. Such a whirl of reflection is logical. It is a great way to review the arc of the film and see the character’s meaningful or disappointing journey. It is a helpful plot device as well if the character does not die to push them to a change of behavior.
Examples include films such as Armageddon, Vanilla Sky, American Beauty, and, amusingly to Max in the remake of The Producers: “”I see my mother in a nice, gingham gown calling, ‘Alvin! Don’t forget to do your chores! The wood needs a cuttin’ and the cows needs a milkin’! Alvin! Alllllvin!’ Wait. My name’s not Alvin… Someone else’s life is flashing before my eyes.”
This phenomenon of both the cinematic and real work dying (and others such as seeing bright lights) may have scientific explanation. A loss of oxygen and raised CO2 levels might be biological causes of these seemingly universal reactions to the (near) end-of-life.
As we make our way through Day #2 of Elul, we recognize that we are all on a journey to that ultimate end. Why wait until the ultimate or potential end for such reflection? Instead, use this month to take inventory on where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Take joy and pleasure in the past. And use the disappointments and struggles as inspiration to changing something in the new year to come.
Worst case, you’ll have an experience like Babs in Chicken Run: “Ooh, me life flashed before me eyes!… It was really boring.”