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Mental Health

Déjà vu – Glitch in the Matrix?

Are we even real? Is existence just an illusion of a prolonged stimulated dream? Some conspiracy theories suggest that human beings are conditioned inside a giant simulation. Perhaps, a perfectly designed matrix, and sometimes, we experience glitches in the form of weird experiences in this matrix. Some of you might have heard about this in the infamous TV series Dark, along with the dynamics of parallel universe, time, and dimensions. So have you ever pondered that maybe, we’re just characters of a dream that will end on the day of the apocalypse? While there is no scientific evidence to support these theories, believers stand by them.

One of the glitches in the matrix is Déjà vu which means, flashbacks of past experiences. In French, it means ‘already seen’. Have you ever visited a place or looked at a person for the first time, but somehow sensed a familiarity or acquaintance with them in an unexplainable way? There are incidents in life where it almost feels unreal to be real. When you experience déjà vu, you feel a sudden rush of emotions in your body that you did not know existed. As if, it is your sub-conscious or unconscious mind’s way of telling you that deep inside, you have been here before, but your mind can’t seem to connect the dots. You stand still in a confused state of mind and everything you ever believed in becomes a question. The conglomerate of emotions is mysterious in a fleeting manner. “Maybe I saw it in a dream,” you tell yourself. But how do you visit a dream in reality? Is it possible?

Can science explain the phenomenon of Déjà vu?

Certainly yes. Neuroscientists have tried to explain the association of Déjà vu with the memory phenomenon. An experiment was created to study the whereabouts of the mystery, with featured hypnosis of patients. A few memories were stimulated inside the psyche of the patients which included snippets of colored words and eventful games. The patients are then conditioned to forget a memory, which might later trigger a feeling of déjà vu upon coming across those words and games. Other profound scientists tried to explain it through virtual reality in which examiners recorded the occurrence of the phenomenon while relating virtual memories like video games, to real-life objects.

What does it explain? After concluding the theories, it is safe to say that our mind is a complex and mysterious structure that is further complicated by the presence of the subconscious and unconscious. They store figurative memories, which we totally or partially forget about and when we experience something similar to them, it provokes a sense of unfamiliar belongingness.

Sometimes, déjà vu is a result of a mental disorder called ‘Temporal Lobe Epilepsy’ which transmits electrical signals in the form of seizures in the body. These signals further transmit familiarity to a memory in the form of hallucinations.

Science also explains that some memories are not that significant for us, and hence they get stored in the short-term memory, which we usually forget after a while. Once, we encounter the same situation again, the short-term memory tries to find its way back. This internal conflict is called déjà vu.

The hologram theory asserts that we experience déjà vu when we come across a familiar fragrance or sound in the physical universe, and it matches something we’ve experienced in the past. At that very moment, our brain creates a hologram of the memory which relates to a past life, making us feel like we’re living the same situation again.

Some unscientific theories:

 Some unknown theories claim that déjà vu is our brain’s way of telling us that the memory is close to our heart. That even though we might have not experienced it in real life, we have experienced it in our imagination, or more realistically, in our sub-conscious. It suggests that the memory is so powerful and intense that it almost feels like we’ve experienced it in real-time.

Another unscientific theory claims that just like our universe, another similar universe exists, in another time and dimension. Sometimes, due to glitches in the matrix, the two dimensions and universes collide, resulting in our superficial encounter with our doppelgänger in another dimension. In that brief moment, we encounter our doppelgänger’s experiences and sense familiarity with their memory. This superficial phenomenon relates to our physical reality and we experience déjà vu.

Will we ever have all the answers?

Muskaan Balhara

Delhi South '22

Muskaan Balhara is currently pursuing an English major in Literature. She is mostly seen capturing sunsets and talking about absurd philosophies. She loves writing and prefers dogs over humans.
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