Déjà vu describes the feeling we get when we believe we have experienced the present moment or situation before. When this occurs, you can usually predict what is going to be said or done next. There is no definitive answer as to what Déjà vu really is, but countless fascinating and thought provoking theories have been suggested, and here are just a few.
A theory often used to explain Déjà vu, although having little scientific evidence to support it, is the idea of parallel universes. Parallel universe theory suggests that there are an infinite amount of universes, each one containing its very own version of yourself. In each universe, a different possibility is played out, for instance, in one universe you are at the airport waiting to board a flight, in another, you have just found out your flight has been delayed, and in another you have been upgraded to first class. This is where the role of Déjà vu comes into this theory. Déjà vu has been attributed to a cross over of these parallel universes, so a version of yourself in one of these universes is actually having a similar experience to yourself in this universe, and the two align. This is why you feel as though you have experienced the situation before, because technically you have… just a replica of yourself in an alternate universe. This theory became greatly popularised in the late 20th century, particularly in books, films, and television. With growing scientific advancement and space exploration, who knows whether there could actually be any truth to this theory.
Another mind-blowing, if not far-fetched theory is the idea of a ‘glitch in the Matrix’. The theory states that déjà vu isn’t in fact occurring in your brain, but instead of glitch within a programmed universe. This programme is being controlled by computers – almost as if we are actually living within a computer simulation. When a glitch occurs the code of the Matrix is changed and altered, and this causes us to feel as though we have experienced a moment before, because the time stamp of the event is altered. I think of this in terms of the game “The Sims”. In the sims you are ultimately controlling the lives of the characters you have created, but what if you forget to save the game? Then you may go back into the game and make them carry out their lives the same way they did before, a second time, and therefore your sim is technically experiencing déjà vu. The 1999 film ‘The Matrix’ also demonstrates this theory quite well.
The next theory is the hologram theory, which despite its name perhaps suggesting otherwise, is actually very logical and scientific. The premise of this theory is that one element or stimulus of our environment, such as taste, smell, sound etc. will remind us of an experience we have had previously, and through this one element, our memory is triggered and we feel as though we have had the experience before. One example is that you may smell a perfume that you recognise from a past experience, and whilst this is only one element of a previous memory, your brain is tricked into thinking that everything in your present situation is also familiar and has been recreated. This is done outside of your conscious, and explains why you feel as though you have been in the exact same situation before.
These are definitely the most out there theories about déjà vu, but also the most interesting and thought provoking. Countless scientists and theorists have tried to come up with a scientific and rational explanation for the phenomena, but until there is definitive proof, I think it is good to think out of the box, and not allow ourselves to be limited. What do you think causes déjà vu, and what are your weirdest experiences of it?