Saturday, August 8, 2015

Déjà vu: A Strange World Experience

A strange world experience I am very familiar with - and I believe most everyone else is as well - is what the twentieth century parapsychologist Emile Boirac termed Déjà vu. That is, the weird feeling that one has previously experienced the present moment or memory before. In French Déjà vu means "already seen."

Most of us feel there is something mystic, or at least uncanny, about the experience. Materialists, who have no room in their worldview for mysticism, tend to dismiss this phenomenon as "reintegration." Psychology professor and professional skeptic Ray Hyman explains reintegration as the memory of an event or place resurfacing upon the appearance of part of the stimulus that formerly aroused the memory.

Among the more mysterious-inclined explanations for Déjà vu are legitimate memories available through reincarnation, or perhaps precognition.

I lean towards the latter. Inasmuch as down through the years I have had flashes of insight (not always experienced as Déjà vu) that illuminated my future, I tend to find precognition more in line with my experience. I have had many premonition as precognitive dreams.

Coming as I do from a Christian background, the concept of reincarnation is unfamiliar and strange - although I am fascinated by and open to it.

Then again, for those who are familiar with the Matrix movie franchise, Déjà vu could be something akin to what Neo called a glitch in the Matrix.

My personal Déjà vu experiences have tended to be about situations that I suddenly find myself in and knowing what is about to happen just before it happens. I don't dismiss Hyman's explanation out of hand, but sometimes it just doesn't seem to fit - at least not for me.

I have often pondered if time is not an illusion. Is it possible that the past, present and future somehow all exist simultaneously?

In all this I have to say that the one suspicion that Déjà vu arouses in me is that reality is not exactly what it appears to be. Perhaps reality is a many-layered thing and the mind has to be prepared to look more carefully at these various layers.


  1. I find nothing mystic about this. Of all billions of data our brains pick up, and research shows our brains process stuff before our conscious selves even are aware it 'happens.'

    1. Einstein: "There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle."

      Mark me as being in the latter category.

  2. If Einstein were in front of me, then I would ask him to define "miracle."

    1. Let me just speak for myself. I found the following definition of miracle online and it speaks for me:

      "a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences."

      That there is a cosmos rather than just chaos seems a miracle to me. Life is the most extraordinary miracle of all and I embrace it.