“Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today” said the guy on the radio, waking the legendary Bill Murray up to another day he felt like he’d already had.
Ever had a similar strong feeling that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not?
It’s weird isn’t it? It’s frustrating, not knowing how or why this feels like it’s happening again, like you’re waking the legendary Bill Murray up to another day he felt like he’d already had…
It’s often referred to as paramnesia, or more commonly known as déjâ vu, derived from the French language literally meaning “already seen”. (All I can hear in my head is dad saying: “You can say that again”). Oh dear. It makes me laugh that I’m still laughing at that after all these years.
Apparently around 70 per cent of people report experiencing déjâ vu, and there’s even different types of it. The most common isn’t ‘déjâ vu’ at all but ‘déjâ vécu’ which is roughly translated as ‘having already lived through’ something. People describe the experience as involving all the senses, and not just sight.
I find the whole phenomenon so interesting because I feel like I experience it a lot, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. I have a lot of theories about why people experience it but it’s interesting to see what everyone else has to say.
Is it linked to some underlying process? Is it a glitch in the matrix? Is the experience just a dream acted out? Is it an out of body experience or something we’ve experienced in a former life? Or that on some small level we all posses powers of precognition?
According to Edward Titchener in A Textbook of Psychology, he explained déjà vu as being caused by a person having a brief glimpse of an object or situation, before the brain has completed “constructing” a full conscious perception of the experience. Such a “partial perception” then results in a false sense of familiarity.
Of course the scientists and doctors reject the ‘hippie’ explanation of déjà vu as some sort of prophecy or magical powers, so they’d rather explain the experience as an anomaly of memory, an overlap between our short- and long-term memory, which creates a distinct impression that an experience is “being recalled”.
What is interesting is the fact that these scientists are trying to establish a link between the phenomenon and serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, dissociative identity order and anxiety. They haven’t yet found anything of diagnostic value but believe the experience of déjà vu could possibly be a neurological problem related to improper electrical discharge in the brain, often referred to as a small seizure.
I sometimes think it’s due to lack of sleep, because hell, I rarely get any nap time, yet I experience a lot of déjà vu moments. I also think it’s got something to do with stress and anxiety. Your brain is overload so you’re not thinking straight. You might see something in the distance or at the side that you’re not paying attention to or it might be in your line of focus, and then when you do pick up on it, it feels like you’ve seen it before? Stress and lack of sleep does a lot to your brain, it can make you think everyone has turned into zombies, and it can make you hate sneezes.
But what if it really is a glitch in the matrix? We all know I’m not one to think logically, I’ll believe in anything.
What do we do then? Do we wait for Neo…you know, that Keanu Reeves guy wearing the long leather coat and sunglasses INSIDE…the guy whose name is really ONE in an anagram, and yet he doesn’t even realise it?
It’s ok people, we’re safe. He “knows Kung-Fu.”