Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Vus

My brain is constantly playing tricks on me. I've experienced deja vu ever since I can remember. Even as a small child, I can recall instances where I felt something that was said or something that happened had already occured. Lately I have been experiencing weird versions of deja vu where initially I feel as though I am learning something new or seeing something new, but then all of a sudden it seems as though I really did already know that or have already seen it. I know that most of the time that is not really the case which brings me to the next type of "vu" which is jamais vu (French for "never seen"). I have only recently discovered this term.

Jamais vu is the opposite of deja vu in which a person has actually experienced something, but it is not familar to that person in any way. Jamais vu involves a sense of eeriness and the observer's impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before. Jamais vu is more commonly explained as when a person momentarily doesn't recognize a word, person, or place that he/she already knows (I love Wikipedia!). I know I've experienced jamais vu after looking at a word for too long and it starts looking really weird. I'm convincing myself for a split second that the word isn't a word at all when rationality thankfully sets in and I realize ummmm yeah, pretty sure tree is a word.

I've been wondering if the situations I have been experiencing lately are sort of like jamais vu. I think I don't know what a word means or feel as though a juicy story has never been told and then once I've heard it, my brain tells me "You already knew that." But rationally I know that can't be! This has to be some sort of "vu" concoction!

There's a third kind of vu as well. Presque vu (from French, meaning "almost seen") is the sensation of being on the brink of an epiphany. Often very disorienting and distracting, presque vu rarely leads to an actual breakthrough. Frequently, one experiencing presque vu will say that they have something "on the tip of their tongue." This has to be the most annoying of the vus. I can't tell you how many times I've had a word lingering or worse a great idea that just can't come to full light. That happens alot when I'm trying to write something which I don't do often enough for it to be a real problem.

So there's already seen, never seen, and almost seen. All three = FRUSTRATION! I can say that I've experienced deja and presque quite a deal more than jamais. I'm sure with old age comes jamais vu as well as a much heartier helping of deja and presque. Eh, C'est la vie.

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