- Religion and Philosophy
Deja Vu, or, Remembering Forward
Deja vu, or, remembering forward is that extremely eerie sensation we get when we experience something that we feel we've already known about, exactly. It is as though we remembered the event before it even happened, then when it happens in actual real life--we recall "being here before", at this exact same place, with these exact same people and things, and events are transpiring exactly as we "dreamt" them. That's deja vu.
Early in my life I was very skeptical about things like "deja vu". I felt the people might be deluding themselves, or misinterpreting events.
I was skeptical, until I experienced deja vu, myself..
I've experience deja vu maybe four or five times in my lifetime. The first time, I was maybe ten or eleven years old. I went to sleep on a Friday night, and, just before I went off to Slumberland, I fell into a kind of waking dream, where I thought I was in the kitchen, and Mom had baked some cookies. I asked her could I have one, and she said yes.
"This is the most delicious cookie! Yummy!" I said. (And it was, still warm from the oven.)
"It's a toll house cookie," she said.
"Why do they call it a toll house cookie? It's chocolate chip." I said.
"It's got Nestle's chocolate chips in it, " she said. (Mom did that frequently when she didn't know the answer. She just answered a totally different question that was never asked but she knew the answer.)
I was wakened Saturday morning by Mom yelling up the stairs. Her voice alone was powerful enough to launch us from sleep to the day's sailing. I went downstairs, had breakfast, and, since it was Saturday and it was my turn to do the living room cleaning, started vacuuming the living room. It was my sister Carole's turn to help Mom in the kitchen with the Saturday baking. The vacuum roared away, and Dad decided he had to go and get a haircut. I dusted all around, and neatened everything up, putting stuff away or tidying it. The good smells of baking penetrated the living room and dining room. I ambled into the kitchen.
Some warm cookies, fresh from the oven, were sitting on the cooling rack.
"May I have one?" I asked Mom.
"Yes," she said.
"This is the most delicious cookie! Yummy!" I said.
And right then I remembered, exactly, what Mom would say next. I knew she would say they were made with Nestle's chocolate chips, instead of answering my question. I recalled exactly experiencing this whole sequence of events, in this exact order, having exactly this conversation, before dropping off to sleep the night before.
"It's got Nestle's chocolate chips in it," Mom said.
This incident was trivial enough. What made it remarkable to me, and the reason I remember it so well, is because it was my very first experience of deja vu. It was a TRULY eerie sensation.
I discovered later on that about 22% of the people on the planet experience deja vu at one time or another in their lives. I also discovered that explanations for this phenomena range from a neurochemical lapse deluding the person into thinking they are experiencing deja vu, or the result of drugs altering the processes of memory. It is also a possible symptom in some schizophrenic patients. In the medical diagnosed circumstances, all of the patients recalled strongly the sensation of deja vu without specifically recalling the incidents themselves, or being able to predict what happened next. So none of those explanations seemed to fit my experience.
Then I discovered something about the nature of time, that altered my thinking forever.
Time is a human construct. It does not exist outside the human frame of reference. We measure time in different ways: the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun; the revolution of the earth around the sun; we can use heartbeats or atoms or pendulums to measure time. There is no time unless a human being is measuring it.
The universe, the other suns and other planets and other moons have, if there was a human being there to measure it, a different time...
The other living things on the earth have their cycles and their seasons, but do not measure time.
Time is much more relative than even Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity would suggest. It is completely relative to the human condition.
A gentleman named Ray Cummings, who wrote science fiction in the early 1920's, once wrote: "Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once." People had to invent time, like we had to invent numbers, in order to impose some order on the world, to make good use of those big, rational brains we have.
This concept was brought to me by reading a book by Immanuel Kant, a philosopher whose name might be well known to you. I was completely gobsmacked by this concept, and am still trying to get my whole head around it. I'm still stuck in the Newtonian universe in many ways, even after quantum mechanics and quantum physics are established scientific facts.
It is, however, a more than adequate explanation for deja vu, or remembering forward.
Have you ever experienced deja vu?
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