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posted : 2006.Nov.17 @ 8.20pm
>> Déjà Vu, Again and Again

By Evan Ratliff
NY Times
July 2nd, 2006


[Here is a teaser. I found this article absolutely fascinating. The implications are many and they are probably very subtle.]


Pat Shapiro is a vibrant woman of 77, with silver hair, animated blue eyes and a certain air of elegance about her. She lives with her husband, Don, in a white two-story Colonial in Dover, Mass., a picturesque town set on the Charles River east of Boston. After 56 years of marriage, Pat and Don have a playful repartee that borders on "Ozzie and Harriet," and her still-sharp mind is on display in their running banter. "Don, we haven't had an 'icebox' in years," she'll say, interrupting one of his winding stories. "It's called a refrigerator."

Her short-term memory isn't quite what it used to be, she says, but it's nothing that impacts her life. "Her long-term memory is meticulous," Don says. "She can remember details from our trips to Europe years ago that I can't."

One day last December, however, an odd thing happened to Pat Shapiro. She was sitting in a car outside of a store with her daughter Susan, while another daughter, Allison, shopped inside. From the front seat Pat noticed a woman who seemed intensely familiar getting into a nearby car with a baby. "I saw her last time I was here," Pat remarked. "That baby did that exact same thing."

Looking up, Susan thought the comment strange; it seemed odd even that her mother had been to this store recently. Then Pat noticed another woman, smoking and chatting on a cellphone. "There's that woman who was smoking a cigarette, with the scarf on," she said.

This time, Susan protested. "Ma, the chances of the other woman, who doesn't know that woman, coming to the parking lot, smoking a cigarette —"

"No, they were there last time," Pat insisted. She couldn't place when exactly she'd been there before, but she felt positive she'd seen the women.

Allison returned, and as they left, Pat noticed two nuns on the sidewalk. They, too, she said, had certainly been there before.

"Mom, are you O.K.?" Susan asked.

"I feel fine," Pat replied.

Worried, Susan called her father later that day and asked if Pat had ever claimed to recognize strange people or places. "Oh, it happens every once in a while," he said. Susan asked if the episodes bothered him. "Only when she is determined to make me think that something has gone on that way," he said.

Later, though, Pat admitted to Susan that she was having such experiences frequently. As often as several times a day, in fact, she was struck with what sounded to Susan like an intense sensation of déjà vu, a familiarity with a place or situation that — logically, at least — she couldn't have encountered before. She would claim to recognize details of restaurants she'd never been to, and occasionally greeted total strangers as if she'd met them before. To Pat, in such moments, the familiarity didn't feel like déjà vu. It just felt like a memory. Like reality.

Take a moment to remember what happened during your day yesterday. Images and sounds begin to flash through your mind: people you spoke to, places you went, meals you ate. One scene cues up another, leading you on vivid tangents as you cycle through the day. Now ask yourself: how do you know that you are remembering those images as they happened, not altering or inventing them? The question sounds inane at first; you were there, after all. But what is it about those images that makes them authentic to you? Try inserting a completely false memory into your day, say that of running into a celebrity. You can picture it, sure, but it doesn't feel real. Why not?

Memory, like most systems we depend on continually, tends to fade into the background when it's working properly. Only when it fails or misleads us do we begin to ponder its mechanisms. The structure of memory has for centuries been one of psychology's most intractable mysteries. To the extent that science claimed to understand it at all, memory was seen as a kind of filing cabinet in which recollections were neatly stored, retrieved on demand and occasionally misplaced.

The research of the last three decades, however, has shattered that metaphor. The Canadian cognitive psychologist Endel Tulving struck a significant blow in the 1970's, when he postulated a distinction between episodic memories — our recollections about our own experiences — and semantic ones, involving facts and concepts. Knowing the capital of France is a semantic memory, for example; recalling your trip to Paris, an episodic one. When we access episodic memories, Tulving further observed, we don't just call up raw information. We actually re-experience the events themselves, and that feeling of recollection is part of what tells us that the memory is real. "Remembering," Tulving summarized in 1983, "is mental time travel, a sort of reliving of something that happened in the past."

The Rest of the Article







posted : 2006.Nov.18 @ 10.38pm
Absolutely fascinating story!

I agree that memory is experience. Your consciousness is pure perception, un-conditioned. So whatever it is that you bring to the movie screen of the mind, the consciousness percieves. So, be it a 'memory,' a 'dream,' or 'real life,' to your consciousness it is all real.

For this reason I place huge significance on the dream dimension (astral plane as I have learned it is called) and the messages and occurances that happen there. Many do not place much significance on their dreams, however I know from experience that the dream dimension is just as important (more so, in my opinion) as the so-called 'real world.'

Personally, I believe that these sorts of internal memory-loops are to be expected in reality, not seen as wonder and para-normal. Pre cognition can simply be seen as a 'memory' of the 'future'. Just as a deja-vue, or at least some forms of it, can be seen as an 'experience' of the 'past'. A quote I have read that has proven to be ultimately true: "The exterior is a reflection of the interior." We shape our reality, we draw situations into occurance.

This also plays with the paradoxical nature of memory versus time (materialistically paradoxical, that is): that you can remember the past but not change it, and you cannot remember the future but you can change it. I would perhaps argue that given the right state of mind, the consciousness can indeed change the past, as well as remember the future. However, changing the past, I don't think, is how one would normally think of it, as to be able to manipulate your perception of space-time to that extent would require pure consciousness united with the Being (ultimate pure, unrefined, absolute abstract energy), and then it would be the Being's will, and not our subjective 3-dimensional will, so from our point of view we wouldn't be changing very much at all. But that's just my take on the whole situation.

I've also noticed that for me, a sense of deja-vue will last as long as I don't interfere with it. If I don't let my mind try to control the situation, and just stay in pure consciousness with a quiet mind, it will last significantly longer than if I let my mind go "Whoa!! Deja Vue oh my god cool!".

Thank you for sharing this tasty bit.






    

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