Guy Browning: How to ... have deja vu

Deja vu is when your brain suddenly shows you a repeat instead of original programming. It's slightly unnerving, because you get the feeling you know what's going to happen next. Sadly, feelings of deja vu rarely coincide with the horse race you're about to bet on.

Sometimes you get very strong feelings of having done something before, simply because you just have. This feeling is called tout oublier, which means you've almost completely forgotten the first time you did it. This roughly translates to senior moment.

Deja vu is quite common because life has the habit of throwing up the same experiences. It's like a bag of Revels: you know there are lots of different things in the packet, but you always seem to pick the chocolate raisin. They say that life repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce. The events don't change, but when you've lived through the tragedy once, you don't take it quite so seriously the second time.

The great TS Eliot wrote that life was about returning to where you started and understanding it for the first time. That may have been true for him, but for most people life is like a maze in which you continually return to where you started and can't work out how to get anywhere else.

Workplace deja vu is commonplace. New customer service initiatives often promote strong feelings of deja vu, especially among staff who have lived through eight previous new initiatives. Deja vu has a related syndrome called voulez vu, which transports you back to the early 80s when you had a collection of Abba tapes.

Some scientists suggest that deja vu is our brain confusing the present with the past, and what's currently happening feels as if we're remembering it rather than experiencing it. It would be great if there were a way to feel memories again as if they were totally new experiences, as long as we could just pick the really juicy ones.

Of course, some people dismiss deja vu as a lot of rubbish that never happens to them, but in the end everyone experiences it. Of course, some people dismiss deja vu as a lot of rubbish that never happens to them, but in the end everyone experiences it.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.