We have all heard about déjà vu. This is the phenomenon in which you have the feeling that what you are experiencing right now has happened to you before. This impression is so common among people that déjà vu has inspired artists and singers. In the music industry, for example, déjà vu is the title of songs of diverse musicians, from the pop goddess Beyoncé to the heavy metal legends Iron Maiden.
According to some researchers, déjà vu is nothing but a trick of the brain. We may be convinced that we have gone through the same experience again (in this or a past life!). Scientists claim that what actually happens is that a current experience may stimulate areas in our brain where memories of similar experiences have been stored. More spiritual approaches put forward the idea that Time is not linear. If a person experiences a consciousness growth, she or he is connected to what the psychologist Carl Jung had called “Collective Unconcious”, or “Divine Mind”. In this realm, Time is a circle and events can be foreseen or return to our memory.
A dream within a dream?
The term ‘déjà vu’ comes from French and means “already seen”. It describes the most discussed of several “déjà”-phenomena. Yet, a recent study focuses on the similar but also distinct case of déjà-rêvé. If you have some competence in French, you will understand that the term means “already dreamt”.
So, as the name suggests, déjà rêvé is the state in which one person has the feeling that an actual experience was dreamt in the past.
The déjà rêvé experience differs from a precognitive dream.
While the latter refers to a dream that we interpret as a sign for a future event (and we can assure its validity afterward), déjà rêvé is the spontaneous sense that what we have dreamt before what we are now experiencing.
Research published in the journal Brain Stimulation examined the phenomenon of epileptic patients from 1958 to 2015. The researchers induced déjà rêvé experiences by using electrical brain stimulation (EBS). This may sound nightmarish, but this scientific method yields interesting results about physiological dreams and how we perceive reality. While most researchers concentrate on REM (rapid-eye movements) sleep, non-REM sleep dreams constitute an important portion of dreams and should be given more attention.
Three Types of Déjà Rêvé
The scientists that participate in the study discern three different types of déjà rêvé:
- It can be the recollection of a specific dream (“episodic-like”)
- Reminiscence of a vague dream (“familiarity-like”)
- Experiences in which the subject feels like they are dreaming (literally “a dreamy state”).
What does this mean for a person that experiences something similar? Is it only a game of the mind or the ability to conceive time is a non-linear way? Share your experience with the community!
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