My Life Flashed Before My Eyes

Joan Margaret Humphries


The everyday experience of time can be disrupted by the events in our lives, and disquiet notions of predictability about the passage of time. In this work, I describe an alternate experience of time passing that occurred in the context of a car accident. The phrase "I saw my life flash before my eyes" situates the varietal experience of time in human existence, and invites the use of chosen hermeneutic tenets to explore the phenomena. I describe the mysterious personal experience of time associated with the accident, as well as varietal experiences of time that occur for people during hospitalization, relating to experiences of nursing practice. The  tension associated with the temptation to apply scientific explanations to metaphysical questions, and the inevitability of accepting ongoing wonder about the mysteries of time, are featured throughout.


Time; Hermeneutics; Nursing; Philosophy; Human Science; Metaphysics

Full Text:



Blattner, W. (2006). Heidegger's being and time (1st ed.). New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Caputo, J.D. (1987). Radical hermeneutics: Repetition, deconstruction, and the hermeneutic project (1st ed.). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Crotty, M. (2010). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process (3rd ed.). London, UK: SAGE.

Dreyfus, H. (1992). Division 1. Being-in-the-world: A commentary on Heidegger's being and time (1st ed., pp. 1-9). Cambridge, MA, London, UK: The MIT Press.

Grondin, J. (2003). Hans-Georg Gadamer: A biography (Joel Weinsheimer, Trans., 1st ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Heidegger, M. (1927/2010). Being and time (E. Stambagh Trans.). Albany, NY: SUNY.

Laverty, S. (2003). Hermeneutic phenomenology and phenomenology: A comparison of historical and methodological considerations. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2(3), 1-29. Retrieved January 7, 2018 from

Moules, N.J., McCaffrey, G., Field, J.C., & Laing, C.M. (2015). Conducting hermeneutic research: From philosophy to practice. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Sherratt, Y. (2006). Continental philosophy of social science (1st ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954/2001). The ring goes south. In The lord of the rings. The fellowship of the ring: Book two (3rd ed., pp. 83-84). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Thoun, D. (2002). Time passing: A Parse research method study. Nursing Science Quarterly, 15(4), 318-326. doi: 10.1177/089431802236797



  • There are currently no refbacks.