DR. AISHWARYA PREMAN
As a second grade student it was startling and beyond belief for me when my bench mate told me that she had a prophecy or pro cognition power because the scenario that was occurring in our classroom at that particular time was already experienced by her in her dream the previous night and it was exactly indistinguishable.
But later on I have heard many people sharing such experiences and even I have gone through certain extraordinary situations when I meet a stranger and he looks incredibly familiar to me, went to a new place just to realise that it’s not new at all, feel that I have seen some visuals earlier when in reality these has never transpired before. Years later I realised that the thing which was stirring all of us was nothing but Deja vu and not a prophecy or pro cognition.
The term Déjà vu was coined by the French philosopher and researcher Émile Boirac in 1876. Déjà vu is a French phrase which means “already seen”.It is a false feeling of having already experienced the present situation or it is the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time. Déjà vu has significance since historical times.The earliest account of déjà vu was noted by Saint Augustine in 400 AD, who named it as “falsae memoriae”.
Including Hologram theory and Parallel universe theory there are around 40 theories that have tried to explain Déjà vu. There are many myths associated with Déjà vu which address the term as a message regarding the past life, message which has a supernatural origin and cognitive processing delay. According to studies two-third of the population has experienced Déjà vu at least once in their lifetime.
Scientifically Déjà vu is related to temporal lobe of the brain where our memories are stored. The neurological explanations of déjà vu are commonly split into “seizure” and “neural transmission delay.”There are two types of Deja vu the pathological déjà vu usually associated with epilepsy which is less common and the non-pathological type characteristic of healthy population.Peripatetic people (people who travel a lot) or people who watch a lot of movies are more likely to experience déjà vu than others.
People also tend to experience déjà vu more in fragile conditions or under high pressure, and research shows that déjà vu episodes decreases with age. Diseases like migraine with aura is associated with Deja vu.But 90% of people who experience déjà vu has found it to be a kind of motivation or a factor that ease their awkwardness after meeting a new locale. So deja vu is absolutely a sign of healthy brain unless it is associated with epilepsy which makes it a pathological anomaly.Thus this futuristic chaos consists of some optimism too.
But while déjà vu remains an eminent condition there is a less common, less discussed, underrated yet more complicated condition known as Jamais vu.It is a French phrase which translates “never seen.”In this disorder a familiar place or face or even a word turns out to be unfamiliar.Even though it can be seen in healthy brain, Jamais vu is mostly pathological unlike déjà vu.Jamais vu is often associated with certain types of aphasia, amnesia, fatigue conditions and epilepsy.
While deja vu is a positive subjective recognition,Jamais vu is a negative subjective recognition.It is obvious that a familiar face becoming unfamiliar all of a sudden has much more negative impact on a person’s life than an unfamiliar face seeming familiar.Studies have proven that certain medicine intoxication like baclofen can cause jamais vu.
But still jamais vu remains an unnoticed disorder since it is considered normal in most of the times neglecting the fact that it is a hidden cause of amnesia , aphasia and temporal lobe epilepsy which can be due to lesions caused by meningiomas, gangliogliomas, dysplastic neuroepithelial tumors, and gliomas.Thus it deserves a bit more attention since it affects the most vital attribute of human,his memory.
This leads to a famous quote by American British novelist Mark Lawrence about memory. “Memory is all we are. Moments and feelings, captured in amber, strung on filaments of reason. Take a man’s memories and you take all of him. Chip away a memory at a time and you destroy him as surely as if you hammered nail after nail through his skull.”