Sunday, December 12, 2010

The secret of eternal life

You see how at the moment before death, your whole life flashes before your eyes? How long do you think that takes? You've got to imagine that every tiny memory, every single one, even or especially those that have for years meandered deep below the conscious surface, is suddenly replayed in glorious technicolour for one last hurrah. No doubt it's very helpful in getting closure, and is probably worth years in therapy - ah! that's what my mum and dad did to me when I was four that made me a neurotic wreck - and also maybe you find out where you left your bag with your passport in Amsterdam that time, and which of your so-called friends nicked your favourite jacket. But if every memory stashed in years of unfulfilled living suddenly gets its day in the sun, that must take some amount of time. I can see that the word "flash" might be relevant here, but so must "whole life", and therefore, speaking scientificially, it must take at least some amount of time to get through the memories of every last cup of tea, episode of Strictly Come Dancing and walk to the newsagent. So what happens when, as you reweave your way through your life's rich tapestry, like so many episodes of The Wire, you finally reach the denouement, the moment just before death when your whole life starts to flash before your eyes?  Do you have to relive that as well, in an endless recursive loop? Because if so maybe I've stumbled on the secret of eternal life. The impossibility of death in the mind of one having their life flash before their eyes on a continual loop. Or perhaps each time it goes round it gets shorter and more grainy, until finally the last embers of life turn to ash and you find out what the hell it was all about.