Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Have I Been Here Before?" Deja Vu.. More than Memory Rewind

How many times have you been somewhere entirely new and you suddenly get the feeling you have been there before? It only last a second before it is gone and you can't even remember what triggered the feeling in the first place. Deja vu is very common, over 70% of the population report experiencing it at least once.

There are a few different scientific explanations for deja vu. It has been connected to psychological disorders such as schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. There is even something called 'chronic deja vu' where people get that confusing sensation every single day of their lives. Can you imagine feeling like you had already done everything, all the time? Weird.

I definitely think a lot of the time, a buried memory is what triggers the familiar feeling, but why not, for the sake of argument explore the more supernatural theories that are floating around out there in cyber space.

Often, deja vu is associated with clairvoyance and precognition and is thought to be evidence of psychic abilities. But that would mean 70% of the population has psychic abilities, which I find hard to believe.

The most interesting explanation, and one I plan to explore further in future posts, is the idea that deja vu is a form of past life memories. This could explain why no matter how hard you think, you can't seem to remember what it was that triggered the feeling at all. A certain smell, or sound could have reminded your subconscious of something you experienced in another life.
"Parapsychologists support this argument as being connected to wish fulfillment from a past life in the present"

Obviously, a theory like this is pretty much impossible to prove. Most of the time, deja vu is probably just a coincidence. It is often the topic of movies (such as Denzel Washington's movie Deja Vu) or skits, like the one below.

Whatever causes deja vu, it is a fascinating phenomenon because it gives the impression we have memories buring deep in our subconscious that we aren't ever aware of. We can't even guarantee we our fully conscious of our own past. The feeling of not being in control of our memories forces people to look for a scientific explanation for these things but what if someone somewhere is trying to tell us something, how do we really know? Can't hurt to pay more attention to things we don't understand.

Kind of goes back to the title of this blog. Choose Your Own Adventure. Maybe, like in the books you used to read as a kid, you are getting another chance to do something you didnt quite get right in another life. Woah, deja vu...eventually we'll figure it out.


  1. I experience Deja Vu often when I am awake, which can be both cool and confusing. I also experience it in dreams, if that makes any sense. For example, I had a weird dream last night where when I was having the dream I knew I had been there in a dream before... very strange. Also somewhat relating to this, I will dream of places I have never been to or people I have never met, and encounter them in the future in real life... I would say that ability is more clairvoyant, but like I said, I do get deja vu often!

  2. Uh-oh. Déjà-vu linked to schizophrenia? I might be in trouble!

    I often have intense feelings of déjà-vu, and it can be very distressing. Actually, they're more like certainties rather than feelings. Imagine being ABSOLUTELY certain that you've seen something before but you KNOW that it's impossible. It stanks. :(

    Same deal with dreams. I've had dreams that I'm 99% sure ended up happening later.

    Whats wrong with the idea that 70% of the population has minor moments of clairvoyance? I think that's a very interesting idea. It allows for the potential psychic in everyone. After all, why would it be completely specific to certain people? Why can't there be minuscule degrees in the average person? Hmm.

  3. To join the Deja Vu conversation and to link to your previous post, one of the most appealing explanations I've heard actually comes from Sylvia Browne! It's that these deja vu moments are like check points on the soul's path telling you that you're going in the right direction and you are right where you are supposed to be at that moment. I can think of many reasons why that could be disputed but I just think its a pleasant way to look at this phenomenon as opposed to blaming it on neurosis or saying it is meaningless.

  4. That is an interesting way to look at it. It would be nice to know when we are on the right path. I had never thought of that possibility.
    It's always so frustrating to have that deja vu feeling then a second later you can't even remember what triggered it.
    Maybe it is just a little encouragement, telling us we're doing the right thing.