When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (Revelation 8:1-2)
In Western literature and especially film, we encounter certain philosophical motifs that toy with man’s existential situation, as it were. From Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, we as the audience are just enamored with these themes that address some of the most important questions in life: love, passion, truth, sin, meaning, God, despair, and many others. The utilization of these themes function as a sort of perverse art – shifting and constantly disrupting our everyday experience with the “usual,” pushing us to the heights of our existential vertigo.
French philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) in his Pensées presents us with the reality of death as an attention grabber:
One needs no great sublimity of soul to realize that in this life there is no true and solid satisfaction, that all our pleasures are mere vanity, that our afflictions are infinite, and finally that death which threatens us at every moment must in a few years infallibly face us with the inescapable and appalling alternative of being annihilated or wretched without eternity. Nothing could be more real or more dreadful than that. Let us put on a bold a face as we like: that is the end awaiting the world’s most illustrious life.