With a passing glance, I am reminded of a memory of something I perhaps forgot long ago. This seems so familiar to me yet so distant. I want to put my finger on it, yet the memory is fleeting and like the flicker of a flame, a simple moment in time, the memory is gone and no longer mine.
Deja vu – a French word that translates to “already seen.”
This is something we have all experienced at some time or another. Is the phenomenon real or is it only a figment of our imagination?
What evokes deja vu? Is it truly a memory that we had forgotten that is elicited by some stimulus or is it an equitable device our mind wishes to portray to us having visited before but in actuality is our first time to experience such an event?
Most of my deja vu occurrences readily materialize around me having visited some place or having done something in that place. For whatever reason, I often believe that the occurrences are actually new to me but we are such creatures of repetition I believe our minds try to equate this new experience to something else we are intimately familiar with to be able to make an equitable conversion so as to have an expectation of what will happen. Why these occurrences strike us at such random intervals I cannot explain.
In a similar fashion, something that also strikes me is that I can still recall, sometimes even after 20 years, a song I was listening to when a rather mundane event was occurring or I was at some location. For instance, I can still recall being at Tybee Beach in 1985 and hearing Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” playing. To this day, when I go there, that song automatically pops into my head. This is almost like a reverse deja vu. This clearly happened and I have held on to this memory for well over 20 years (almost 30 now!) yet I couldn’t tell you what I had for dinner two nights ago.
I’ve chosen to hold on to this memory. Why? This was a positive memory for me but sometimes we also can equate negative memories. Is deja vu a mechanism where we have subconsciously chosen to forget something, either cause we desired to do so, or perhaps it was so mundane and repetitious, we didn’t hold on it. Why does our mind sometimes hold on to memories that seem so mundane for so long? Did something else actually occur at that time that we have forgotten about and the deja vu is elicited, not solely from the memory we do remember, but whatever we are lacking from the situation, thus our mind is making the equation?