Deja Vu – what is it and why does it happen?

The glass pyramid at The Louvre
Familiarity-based recognition.

Have you ever experienced déjà vu? Have you ever asked yourself what is it? Why does it happen?

If yes, then you are like half the population on the planet, respectively.

I thought it would be interesting to have a Q & A post about déjà vu, mostly because I am currently writing a book explaining the phenomenon, but also because I love the paranormal.

Right now you’re asking, “How can you explain it when scientists can’t explain it?” or perhaps you’re asking, “How do you know the answer?”

Good questions. The answer – one does not have to be a scientist to discover truths. All it takes is the ability to ask questions and be open-minded to possibilities that are beyond our (mankind’s) current comprehension or accepted beliefs. Remember, once upon a time, man thought the Earth was flat.

Let’s start by clarifying déjà vu, despite the fact that I think most everyone on the planet knows what it is. The French term déjà vu translates to “already seen”. But as Vernon M. Neppe believed, the term should be “déjà experience” because it covers any sensory modality, whereas déjà vu is only one sense – that of sight.

The déjà experience also includes:

  • déjà entendu – already heard
  • déjà rencontré – already met
  • déjà vécu – already experienced or lived
  • déjà visité – already visited.

Think back to your last experience, was it triggered by site, sound, a person? Was it déjà vu or one of the other senses?

We have a tendency to generalize them all into déjà vu. And they can all be explained with one theory, which hasn’t been researched yet, but I will explain in my upcoming book.

Scientists ask the question – why? Why does it happen? What is the cause? But there are many other questions to ask, such as: what can we learn from it, what are the triggers, can a theory be proven, can we intentionally trigger it, if we can then what do we learn from that information? Will it help teach us how many of our current concepts are incorrect? To name a few.

Here are some interesting theories on déjà vu:

  • dual processing (two cognitive processes out of sync for a moment)
  • faulty memory
  • seizures
  • a lapse of consciousness
  • defense mechanism
  • a coincidence
  • unconscious fantasy
  • parallel universes
  • reincarnation
  • collective unconsciousness
  • familiarity-based recognition
  • precognitive dreams
  • a glitch in the matrix

Some sound really far out there, right? The truth is even more bizarre. Yes, that’s a clue.

Now, if you’re wondering what the purpose is of the image above is, here’s the answer. The picture of the glass pyramid is an example of the familiarity-based recognition. Allow me to explain. You read a book or see a movie, perhaps more than one, that all have the image or description of the glass pyramid, so when you actually visit The Louvre you may feel the déjà experience. Sounds like a logical explanation, but it’s not the answer, but it may very well be a trigger.

Triggers and the actual cause of any form of a déjà experience are two different entities; I will go into that in more detail later.

If this seemingly paranormal phenomenon is of interest to you, and being part of a study group sounds appealing, please check back. There will be a survey to collect more current data coming soon.

Many theories exist on the subject, dating back from the 1800’s to present time, but is it possible to prove any one? Not today, but maybe the best we can do is to eliminate the theories that aren’t accurate and narrow down the possibilities.

No matter what…it’s an interesting topic that may open up whole new worlds.

What do you think the cause of déjà vu is? Do you think it’s important to find answers?

What’s your theory?