In 2014, a British man started to have frequent episodes of what we call Déjà vu.
Just after he joined college, there were times, when for several minutes, he thought that he had already seen everything that was happening in front of him. He thought he was living his past. Every time he saw something, he knew that it had already happened. After three years of suffering, he was now in a position, where he could not even watch TV or read the paper. Because for everything he saw, every news he read, he knew that it was all the past.
When asked, the man said that these haunting sensations were more than just feelings.
Why was he living his memories all over again?
Déjà vu is a french word meaning ‘already seen’. That is the events that you are seeing have already happened. Many of you might be already familiar with this term and might even have experienced it several times. So the question arises what then? Should I go and visit a doctor if I have Déjà vu experience?
The answer is No. If you are experiencing Déjà vu in frequencies like 1 in a months or more, you need not worry about the experience, but if it is very frequent, you should go and see a doctor.
Before you go, you should know what actually is Déjà vu and what causes it.
What causes Déjà vu?
Scientists have yet to find a complete explanation of what Déjà vu is, but we know many theories which explain all the experiences.
Like stomach ache, Déjà vu maybe a symptom with many possible causes. A lot of the popular theories about what causes it, show a disconnect that is occurring in deeper parts of the brain. The disconnect between the parts that process our experience unconsciously, and the parts that process them consciously.
These conscious parts of our brain know what’s happening around, as they see them, process them, and tell us about it.
The eyes, as soon as they see something, they send the information to the visual cortex lying in the occipital lobe, for the brain to process the data. But the visual cortex is the last place where the information stops. It has to go through many other parts of the brain like Amygdala, where it is processed at involuntary emotional level (It is the reason why we are afraid of things which are out of our control), and the Tectum, which involves preliminary visual processing of data (It also helps to control eye movement).
After knowing this, we can also know about something known as Blindsight, where people who are blind are actually able to feel the things around them.
Now you know that there is not a single stop for the information, rather it is processed in different parts of the brain.
Blind people, who are blind because of the damage in the visual cortex, don’t report seeing or recognising anything. However, the other preliminary parts of the brain which receive information are still healthy.
And so, even after being blind, they can avoid obstacles in front of them while walking, they can also know whether or not a person in front of them is happy or sad or afraid or surprised.
This is called the Blindsight.
Now, we know, a lot of things are happening in our brain. Now I’ll explain the disconnect we talked about earlier, the disconnect between two parts of the brain.
Consider a piece of information like, seeing something. Let’s say you saw a thing A and then B and then C. Now the information will go like this- A then B and then C.
The visual cortex will receive the information, and then tel the conscious part of my brain that I am looking at this an this. But this passing on of information gets out-of-sync. That is, when the visual cortex starts passing out the information, it says like: “Ok, we are looking at A and then B and then (The preliminary processed information will come into play, and say) Woah! But C has already happened guys!”
This is what we call a Déjà vu.
It’s a neurological abnormality which cause our brain to get out-of-sync once in a while, but the permanent damage in the temporal lobe of the brain, increases it’s frequency.
So, now you know what a Déjà vu is and what causes it, but it is not the only ‘vu’ out there.
Some of you might remember the experience of not remembering the name of something, which you have seen like a 1000 times. That is known a Presque vu.
This happens because of the blockage of the information you seek, by your brain, and hence the frustration.
Some people believe that Déjà vu is something that your body and brain wants to tell you about your past. For now you know what is happening, but ‘why’ is the question which people ask and tend to answer.
What do you think?