Sunday, January 18, 2009

Resonate to Your Own Frequency

I think most people have experienced THAT feeling. You know the one. The one where you're sure you've seen or done the exact same thing before. You're walking in an unknown place and suddenly the world does a little tilt and you're SURE that you've been there before. At that time. At that step. At that place. And it throws you. You stop and stare, desperate to remember the fading memory, like quicksilver disappearing into the ether. says that deja vu is: The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.

MSN Encarta says: Déjà vu once referred exclusively to the illusion of having been somewhere before or having done something before. Recently, however, it has come to encompass as well the reality of repetitiveness in events or actions. This sense of the word has been extended still further, until the turnaround from the original meaning is almost complete and déjà vu is sometimes also used to describe tedium.

According to Brown and Marsh’s work suggests that déjà vu is more than just a hallucination—a misfiring of neurons—as many psychologists have long believed. One explanation for their results is the “double perception” theory, which has been around since the late 19th century. According to the theory, people sometimes see things twice in quick succession: the first time superficially or peripherally; the second time with full awareness. You might glance at a building while talking on a cell phone, for instance, and not really register it, then give it a second look a little while later after you get off the phone. You might not remember the first glance, but your brain has registered it subliminally, so the second glance may seem oddly familiar.

Further according to this article, researchers have information that suggests that déjà vu may be the result of a small seizure in the part of the temporal lobe that governs our sense of familiarity, a temporal lobe defect.

But is that all there is to it? Just another myth shot down in scientific flames? This phenomenon is more common in twentysomethings and tends to dissipate in middle age. But why? Why couldn't it be that we are all connected to a universal constant with a constant cycle of rebirth? We are all connected - we are all made out of the stuff of stars. And if one molecule can resonate to the frequency of another molecule, can we not all be resonating at our own frequency? Reliving moments?

I believe in science and logic. But science and logic can only take you so far. Logic can take you in any direction you want. You supply yourself with supporting data and, voila, fact-based logic. Science can be, and has been in the past, manipulated to get the results the researchers desire - everyone has their own agenda. Funding, adulation, whatever.

But what if these so-called temporal lobe seizures are something straight out of science fiction - something like a space-time crack in your mind? Allowing one to recognize the signposts of a life already lived?

Yes, I like science fiction. And as far as I can see, science fiction can lead the way in hard science. Is it just that scientists love science fiction and so go out of their way to prove it? We've all seen the original Star Trek episodes with the communicator thing they use to speak to each other wirelessly, looking a lot like present-day cell phones.

The brain is such a complex piece of tissue. Controls everything. Thoughts, words and actions change brain chemistry. So if these things can change brain chemistry and the structure of the brain, who is to say that déjà vu is not another one of our senses. Something that we learn to ignore as we age, as we move further away from the children we once were. Children are beacons of light, they see things in totally new ways, before they are taught/forced into a mold dictated by society. Losing their unique vision, their unique voice, their unique senses.

I prefer to think that déjà vu is telling me that I am on the right course. That somehow I am doing what I am supposed to do, where I am supposed to be. Yeah, this is a lot of metaphysical stuff but pure logic has not served me well. I am a logical person but when dealing with feelings, you must look deeper. Your feelings are instantiations of your core beliefs about yourself, about the world.

One of my core beliefs is that I think there is something out there. I don't understand it. I'm not sure if I call it God or the Universe, but I think there is something happening. Does this mean I believe in fate and destiny? Sort of but who is to say there is only one fate or one destiny per person? Maybe you can have multiple realities and in each one of those realities there is a fate/destiny. Wow, I sound like a new ager. I like to think that reality splinters into a million pieces with every individual passing second. You control your fate, your destiny, with your decisions. You can change the entire course of your life in a single second. And if I believe that, it would seem that I believe in multiple realities. But the realities are of our own making.

So déjà vu may be traced to the temporal lobes but I don' t think that it is not "real". Maybe déjà vu is just an echo of another reality. Or maybe an echo of this reality.

Hard to say. I don't have the answers, only the questions.


The Flower of Scotland said...

Deja vu is an experience that we have in the present but it is one that has the character of a memory. A strict phenomenology of the experience of internal time-consciousness was done by Edmund Husserl and also by Bergson; however, if we are attentive we can make our own careful examination of this experience in consciousness without having to come at it obliquely and through intermediate means.

The invariant in consciousness is the "I AM" but, owing to the rigor required to experience this in a firsthand sort of way, few reach that experience of immanence. We are, rather, relegated to an examination of our experience only after it has passed. What seems to us as "now" is really in the past; or, as one popular book puts it "I see only the past in this..."

Thus, deja vu could be understood as an episode in which we temporarily are elevated into the immanent perception of the "I AM" and are truly experiencing the "now" and what we think is the "now" is truly perceived by us as being in the past.

The temporal juxtaposition of these two in the consciousness of immanence gives the impression that they are contemporaneous, which is where the sense of "haven't I done THIS before?" comes from. The "this" is not only demonstrative of an object but also of a moment in time; i.e., it picks out the very same moment in which I think I am experiencing the situation in question. Our empirical consciousness is in the just-elapsed-instant while our immanent consciousness is in the real now and privy to its own perception AND that of the empirical consciousness. This single grasping of these two states is what gives the empirical consciousness the sense that "what I'm doing NOW" has already been done...because it HAS already been done, but not to the empirical consciousness, only to the "I AM" consciousness.

Brooke London said...

What can I say? Wow.

Jeanette Simpson said...

Okay, so I understand (mostly!) the explanations - but what drove you to write this? Have you recently had one?

I had one just a couple of weeks ago, and it totally blew me away - I'm 38 so coming up to the age when they'll supposedly stop. But you know, I love 'em! Like you, I think of them as affirmation that I'm on the right path.

Anyways - just wondered. xx

Brooke London said...

I have these moments about once every month or so. They seem to be speeding up with age. Last night, I was sitting writing and had the oddest feeling that everything had happened before. The telephone rang like it was supposed to ring, I looked down at my laptop, at my email and received the email I was supposed to receive. It was weird and I can't explain it.