Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's déjà vu all over again...

Do you ever get the feeling that I am repeating myself? That you've read this same crap before?

Well, some guys from the University of Leeds think it might all be your imagination and they intend to prove how you get that sensation.

Seems they intend to prove that the process or sensation of remembering the past is attributable to a certain part of the brain which can be activated even when the memory being recalled does nto exist. That way, when you are experiencing something new, you have the sensation that you have seen it all before.

Voila: déjà vu.

"Dr Moulin believes a circuit in our temporal lobe fires up when we recall the past, creating the experience of remembering but also a 'recollective experience' – the sense of the self in the past. In a person with chronic déjà vu this circuit is either overactive or permanently switched on, creating memories where none exist. When novel events are processed, they are accompanied by a strong feeling of remembering."

I have déjà vu quite regularly. Sometimes it's so strong that I am utterly convinced that psychic abilities must exist. And that's why the Leeds version doesn't quite wash with me. Sometimes I'll not only have an "episode" of déjà vu, but I'll be able to recall when I last thought about that memory, giving it a solid date in the past.

This happened recently, though I'm sure the conditions under which it happened would only serve to convince the Leeds researchers that it is, in fact, a trick of the brain.

See, I was skating with my housemate Dan and his girlfriend Jenna (yeah, I love being a third wheel - I have a thing for tricycles) on a warm day. The ice was crap and when I went to turn from backwards to forwards skating, I tripped and fell, hitting my head on the ice (really f***ing hard - don't tell mom). Although I didn't lose conciousness, I am convinced I concussed myself because I felt nauseous soon afterwards - a classic symptom.

Anyhow, soon thereafter I was having a very strong sense of déjà vu. I had the sensation of having done all this before - skating with Dan and Jenna, talking about whatever the heck it was we were talking about, on this ice surface I had never even seen before. It was visual; I had "seen" this before.

This sensation actually came and went over several minutes. It was freaky. Dan figured I'd lost it. (When I tried to focus on the "memory", I felt nauseous almost instantaneously)

But the weird thing is, and the part the Leeds guys will have a hard time explaining to my satisfaction, is that I can recall when I last thought about that "memory". I can sometimes say, "I was just thinking about this a couple of days ago," (usually in a half-dreaming state) even though, as the scientists will attempt to prove, such a memory did not exist.

But, really, it isn't a "memory" I'm remembering. I know I haven't been there before. What I am remembering is a photographic image I had (while dreaming) of that exact same visual that I am now seeing. This can be as simple as the way someone is sitting in a chair (but you've never seen that chair before, so...). I'm remembering a prevision - a random image I had foreseen without processing it at the time.

Heck, I've got no explanation for it. I'm just sayin'.

p.s. I wonder if the writers of the Matrix have ever experienced déjà vu? When Neo saw the cat? That's not how I experience déjà vu...

I don't know about the rest of you psychics...

The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.
~Salvador Dali

No comments: