New Castle News

Josh Drespling

July 12, 2014

Josh Drespling: Ever have the feeling of déjà vu — all over again?

NEW CASTLE — There is a French word that, when literately translated to English, means “already seen.”

You may be familiar with this word and most likely have experienced some measure of this phenomenon throughout your lifetime. The delightful word is “déjà vu,” and it has been described as an overwhelming sense of familiarity with events and surroundings, despite there being no logical explanation for their familiarity.

There is a French word that, when literately translated to English, means “already seen.” You may be familiar with this word and most likely have experienced some measure of this phenomenon throughout your lifetime. The delightful word is “déjà vu,” and it has been described as an overwhelming sense of familiarity with events and surroundings, despite there being no logical explanation for their familiarity.

Have you ever gone to a place you've never been before, heard the background noise and the chatter of the people around you, and recognized the architecture, the position of every piece of furniture, every plant, and even the carpeting? You notice the way the sunlight is streaming down the far wall and think to yourself, that looks so familiar. In that fleeting moment, you feel as though you have a glimpse of clarity.

Before your mind even has the opportunity to process that thought, you realize you know exactly what is going to happen next. As quickly as you are aware of the situation, it begins to unfold right before your eyes. You get an eerie chill on the back of your neck as the events unfold exactly as the deep trenches in your mind told you they would.

Many years ago, I swear that I saw a particular movie. I knew the whole story, knew the cinematography, and knew what the movie poster and DVD cover looked like. Then I saw a commercial on television for a movie that was soon to be released in the theaters. It looked like the exact movie I had in my mind. I immediately told my wife that I had seen that movie years ago. She, of course, looked at me like I was crazy and brushed it off as me being senile or perhaps delusional. But I know I what I had seen and knew without a doubt that I had already watched that film.

Eventually, the movie was released on Netflix and, of course, I had to watch. On one hand it was an effort to temper my insanity, and on the other, it was to disprove my wife's speculation of my delusional tendencies.

I don’t know if I was relieved or terrified that the film was exactly as I had envisioned it. I remembered the camera shots, the events as they unfolded, and was even able to mouth some of the dialogue as the words flowed out of the actors mouths. This was, in fact, the same film that my mind had somehow seen years before it was ever released.

I felt like I was in a psychological thriller and that at any moment, a big, gnarly bad guy was going to jump out from around the corner and slice our throats. It was an unnerving experience, to say the least, and something that I will always remember (again).

I, like you, have had many experiences like this. Psychoanalysts would attribute these things to wishful thinking or pure fantasy. Others would tag them as mere coincidences. I have read that researchers ascribe déjà vu experiences to the brain mismatching the past and the present. Others also believe the far-fetched notion that it is related past life experiences. But I know that there were not any movies 2,500 years ago when I was the ruler of ancient Egypt.

Either way, I find it intriguing how little understanding we have of our own minds and bodies. I also find it interesting how easily we can be tricked by ourselves. But what of that?

 

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