9 Jan 2011

Have I seen you before?!

Blessed Be Everyone!

Today, I am talking about a very very common phenomenon that has confused many into thinking that they are 'mediators', 'psychics' or in the extreme 'time travelers'. The purpose of today's post is to pick a very common occurrence that has been used as a basis for many movies, psychic shows and science fiction.

I must however, apologize for shattering the fairy tale dream, myself included in it, if people believed it was some Supernatural occurrence. Before I do that though, I must share an experience, which you all must have come across as well, at some point of time in your lives'. Here it goes: One night, few weeks back, I remember I was eating out with friends. Everyone was chatting casually when suddenly, there was this moment when I felt as though I have seen and heard a particular conversation before. Same topic, same expressions and even the same reaction what I thought it would be! I was zoned out for few milliseconds.

Yes I know, I had experienced what is popularly known as 'Deja Vu'. 

So, has this got anything to do with being a 'psychic' or with having 'precognitive abilities'? As much as I would have loved to believe that I have the ability to see the future and predict the same, this is untrue. Deja Vu has got nothing to do with magical or psychic powers. We may exclaim in a given situation, "Oh I have seen this before" and feel that we know what will happen in the  next few milliseconds, all of this stems down to a very basic effect known by the scientists as an anomaly of the brain i.e. misfired interpretations of the signals sent to the brain. We all know that the brain is like a large complex electronic circuit and in numerous situations, occurrence of Deja Vu is possible due to a minor deviation in the functioning of temporal lobe of the brain (responsible for memory skills and speech, to put in simple words) that may happen  due to stress, sleep deprivation, exhaustion etc Almost more than 77% of the people have experienced it once in their lifetimes. An interesting fact to be noted here is that most of such experiences have been identified by the youngsters from 15 to 25 years of age, especially when the brain is maturing and an individual gains more insights about life. 
The term 'Deja Vu' was coined by a French Psychic Researcher, `Emile Boirac', in his book called "The Future of Psychic Sciences" (L'Avenir des sciences psychiques). This condition has not been yet produced under laboratory settings, hence has been subject to speculations. Deja Vu can be literally translated as 'being recalled'. It is more of a 'feeling' that passes. It is like an elusive memory, that cannot be recalled because the situation has never happened in actuality. Many scientists and medical researchers believe that it is a symptom very minor epileptic syndrome. To explain it better, it is similar to experiencing the feeling of falling down in a pit before falling asleep or a sudden jerk in the body as one is about to sleep. It does not essentially mean that one is epileptic.  So, does this mean that psychics who claim to have been visited the past or the so-called time-travelers are all experiencing Deja Vu? I am not sure about this thought. However, as far as my knowledge goes, when Deja Vu takes place, one is not travelling in time or in a parallel universe while going through the 'feeling'. It all occurs due to neurological dis-functionality. 

Similarly, in Psychology, a term 'Jaimas Vu' is used, which means something that has 'never happened before'. It is like being in a situation that has never occurred before, but rationally, that person has been in the situation before. For instance: A person may forget how to make coffee momentarily though he might have done it thousands time before. There was a survey-research conducted in the International Conference on Memory, where 5 volunteers were asked to write the word "door" 30 times in 60 seconds. Many of them started to get confused after a point of time as to whether door was actually a word or not?

Another phenomenon is known as "Presque Vu" where a person forgets a word and feels that the word is at the 'tip of his tongue' but he cannot recall it, no matter what. Haven't we all gone through this many times? I remember a time when I actually forgot the word 'refrigerator'! I kept mumbling "frrr...frrr..." and eventually had to skip the entire sentence I was going to speak. Incredibly Embarrassing! 

As I conclude my post, after gaining new knowledge about this phenomenon, I cannot help but wonder about this feeling of , "Have I been here before?" I mean, this is so common, that even having the awareness about it, cannot cure it. So, is it actually a symptom of psychic ability, of the potential to travel time or is it merely a minor glitch in the brain? I leave it up to you, to decide. Till then, enjoy and look out for answers where you know, you can!


subtle is superior said...

i stand by my belief that there is no point meddling with things that one cannot explain ...even something as commonly experienced by people as deja vu may be explained by those who discard the existence of every surreal belief that one may have ... you see our brain is designed to amaze us (though i am not disputing its electric circuit like functions).. and science seem to have answer for everything ...scientists define experiences as such as "illusions" (i agree with this theory for most of the parts) however, they fail to explain one key ingredient ... it lies in the fact that why does a person, more often than usual, relate to people, events, expressions etc, having absolutely no part to play in our lives, while experiencing these "illusions" ... makes one think right???

Mystical Skeptical Me said...

Dear Subtle is Superior, Blessed Be! :) I agree with your stand completely. When I was going through the resources on such phenomenon, they are very few. The documented ones are vague and interestingly, like every other non-explainable phenomenon, point towards some kind of a mental abrasion. I strictly do not agree to that.

I also agree to your stand that we should not meddle with things we cannot explain on a daily basis, but curiosity in small doses is good. Science has failed in a lot many areas than we'd probably even know. For one, they have not yet been able to find what makes ESP work? And they also believe that Intuition is for real. :) Thanks A Lot for you Valuable Comment. Do Not Ever Digress from What You Believe in...

Deepankar(Gray sky) said...

This was really interesting!! I knew a bit about Deja Vu as I googled it after I saw a movie with the same title. I liked it more because I do have this feeling sometimes that-"have I been here before!?!". Like it has already happened with me...I always wonder but it lasts a few seconds only.
I'd like to believe its a "neurological dis-functionality" What else could it be...Creepy!!
anyway I liked your way of writing. :)

Mystical Skeptical Me said...

Blessed Be Deepankar!:)
I'd rather not want it to be a neurological dis-functionality,'coz, well, THAT would be Creepy. But, yes, as scientists put it, it is a form of minor epilepsy, which all of us suffer from. They surely know ways to scare us. And I'd like to agree with my friend,'Subtle is Superior' when she says that somethings are better left unanswered. Ironically, Deja vu,as scientists say, has not been successfully replicated in the laboratory settings. I'd like to assume it to be mystical enough. Thank you for stopping by!

Deepankar(Gray sky) said...

well I too agree, somethings are better left unanswered. Its good to have things that make us wonder once in a while!!
www.shrunkenwide.blogspot.com that is my blog. Have a look :)

Ninu said...

tat was so informative... even i hav had situations like tat b4...

n i stil remember i 4got the spelling of 'HAVE' and wrote 'AVE' instead... :) omg..

n also abt the sudden jerks...as if we r fallin.. omg... mmmmmmmmm..