Déjà vu

When I decide to start writing a new post I actually first start looking for a title. A phrase that could provide a short story interesting enough for both, me writing it and you reading it. The one on today's menu is exceptional. Simply, "Déjà vu" has it all, potential of diving into mysterious and unexplored world of human brain, great glimpse into fabulous quantum mechanics we are still pioneering to understand, tons of speculations of various kind including spiritual experiences, unaware or subconsciousness network of living beings, a bug in divine's intelligent design, telepathic experiences, you name it, I'll stop right here because this post is not going to be about speculations. It will be just a teaser of my hopefully rational, but also skeptical mind. Also about couple of theories as well.


But, let me start with my first and probably the strongest déjà vu I still remember like a vivid scene from yesterday's movie I watched on the cable. Hmm, "cable", interesting word as this is what I was doing when this happened. The year was 1985 and I was the main technician in the school play back in my early days of high school. It was probably the best year of my school days thanks to this play because it lasted couple of months during winter and we were extremely enthusiastic about it and there were lots of stories left from that period of us growing up. Well, in short, I was mounting cables on the stage for borrowed, old fashioned, tape player as I was the one who was in charge of audio effects for the play and in a brief moment I glimpsed the scene: two actors rehearsing the main dialogue and in the background I could see couple of first rows of the school's musical hall with our teacher sitting in the first row and couple of more viewers and friends watching from the back. I remember I froze. It was like I pressed a pause key in my head and for a moment I couldn't hear a sound, just stared at that one photo moment of my surroundings. In first, it was like a moment that I already experienced in the past. Only not quite as I wasn't able to identify the moment and perhaps the better explanation would be that this was the moment comparable to computer reboot - like computer in my brain rebooted itself in micro second and the image appeared first in the memory was the same one from the moment before rebooting or brain's CPU froze for couple of moments while all senses was still on and this image appeared in multiple memory locations and therefore more intense than others. However this is how I felt after that night and ever since then I had more similar déjà vu experiences but this first one was for some reason more memorable than all the others.

I can't be sure, of course, but whatever it is, it must be related with how brain works and it is either a brain's feature or a bug. Scientifically speaking we still don't have working knowledge of a human brain and therefore is hard to tell but we could say with high accuracy that human brain is not a digital computer. More plausibly, it functions in some sort of analog form where all data stored in brain neurons are not comparable to memory chips we are using today. Perhaps they operate like quantum qubits where one qubit could have unlimited states instead of just two like modern memory circuits have today. That way the same arrays of qubits could be used to store different images and to pull out the one you need, quantum computers only need to set the patterns and form the image out of current states of qubits. However, I am not saying that human brain is a quantum computer, only that as soon as we learn more about it's functionality we will have more skills to explain "déjà vu" phenomenon as well.


However, what we can do even without scientific background is to use something else and that's "The Occam's razor" principle. In short it advises us not to use complex explanations and instead the right one is the usually the most simplest one. So if we try that and reject all complex ones, like multiple universes or dimensions, quantum entanglements and invisible forces able to connect two human brains in subconsciousness realm, what is left is simple explanation and that one would be that "déjà vu" moment is really the image acquired in our brain that really resembles to some other image we experienced before. Only in that particular moment brain fails to recognize it. It is really great explanation, just think how much data we acquired in our lives, we watched hundreds of movies during our lifespan, watch television daily, travel, encounter different people, situations, participate in various events, so in short, there must be tons of data in our heads and there is no wonder we are unable to see the difference or to recognize them all instantly. Remember these moments when some smell reminds us to some event, even those distant in our childhood? This is the same with images and moments. Sometimes some similar settings or moments remind us for something only we are simply unable to resolve what.

By recognizing the fact that I am not really that great presenter within my blog stories I decided to ask for a help of one of great thinkers today. Following video is how Michio Kaku explains déjà vu" in Big Think's serial:


However, science works by proving theorems. So, there is nothing wrong if we post couple of theories for future validation. But we have to be careful here as every theory must be built on solid ground, otherwise it is only a speculation at best. I guess it is valid to claim that human brain is a sort of quantum computer, but it is hard to prove it at this point of time as we still don't have working quantum computers other that experimental ones. If, in the future, we develop and industrialize quantum based systems and servers, then we might have the tool to examine the brain in such fashion and then confirm or reject the "brain quantum computer" theory. On the other end, speaking of solid ground base for establishing theories in addition to quantum computers, to me one thing is clear and you probably heard it in media in form of short phrase: "we all are made of stars". It is complete truth and I mean this literally, all atoms you, me and Michio Kaku are made off originates from exploding star and such violent explosion is a great source of quantum entangled particles. We still don't have full knowledge of quantum entanglement but it is proved that entangled particles share the same properties on both, short and long distances, maybe even in time. So, based on current research, and if entangled particles are able to survive long life without breaking entanglement, it is not far from common sense that two individuals can share two such particles that connect them in some way. Plausible? Still years early to tell, but it is certainly something worthwhile exploring. It would explain a lot. Especially the famous so called 6th sense and even those common situations in everyone's life when you, during walks, all the sudden start thinking about a friend of yours without any reason and then couple of blocks later you meet him in flash. It happened to me couple of times. I love science and I am sure this will not be my last post about yet unexplained phenomenons.

Maybe it is not directly related to déjà vu phenomenon but when I was a boy I remember I asked my father why both sky and sea are blue. He didn't think twice and said that sky is blue because we can't see how high it is and sea is also blue because we can't see how deep it is. He pointed to my head and said - "Once you will learn that eyes are not the ultimate tool of perception. Your brain is."

Couple of years later, I stumbled to one great article about optics, Isaac Newton and prisms in my favorite magazine and learned all about visible light and its wavelengths. Ever since then, I know why sky and sea are blue.

References and story follow ups:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Déjà_vu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks_UHmaZcSg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor
http://skepdic.com/occam.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qubit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind
http://www.healthkicker.com/754397472/whats-up-with-deja-vu/


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