Prompt: Have you ever truly felt déjà vu, the sensation that you’ve already had the experience you’re currently having?
Sersant Dreyer sits down heavily, orders a beer and shakes his head. “The damnest thing just happened to me, guys. I was apging through The Upington Post, and there was a photograph of my parent’s house! I couldn’t believe it. But of course, it wasn’t their home, it was something that simply looked similar.”
“It’s almost like déjà vu, then. You thought you knew something you didn’t. Like being in a place, and feeling it is all so familiar – as if you’ve been there before.” Gertruida pats his back. “We all have that, sometimes. It’s just the brain recognising patterns to make you feel you’re in a familiar place. It’s a comforting function, mostly; but it can also warn you of danger in some circumstances – because you experienced something similar before.”
“So the mind plays tricks, does it? Assembles new facts into old boxes to fool you into believing you know what’s going on?” Dreyer nods, saying it makes sense.
At the other end of the bar, Vetfaan stares at his empty glass. Straightening, he looks over to catch Gertruida’s eye.
“But there are more explanations, Gertruida. What about parallel time and other realities? Fanny said something about that: she said it is possible to exist on different planes: have many lives, running parallel to each other, each with a different outcome. She said this,” he spreads his arms wide, “isn’t the only reality. !Ka told her it is possible to move from one plane to the next, either with trance-dances, or some herbs they find in the desert. She said that is why we recognise things we shouldn’t; simply because we have, indeed, experienced those by one of our parallel selves.”
“Now, listen…” Servaas’ voice is laden with disapproval, “that is totally unbiblical. There is one earth. You have one life. Don’t come here with some airy-fairy science fiction. I won’t tolerate that.”
“!Ka has his own ideas about this, Servaas. I’m not going to get in an argument with you, but the Bushmen have travelled to other levels of consciousness for centuries. Many of their strange paintings show animals emerging from rocks or men disappearing into a dream-world. It’s as eerie as it is weird. I don’t understand it, of course.”
“Okay, boys, no fighting. Boggel will chuck us out.” Gertruida holds up a white handkerchief as a sign of peace. ” But there are things we don’t understand. You meet somebody, and you instantly like that person, even before anything is spoken. The opposite happens too, of course. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book about it, called Blink. He says the brain is a giant store of knowledge and an incredible processor of facts. And, he maintains, we understand only a bit about those functions. Maybe the brain can operate on levels we have no clue about.”
“Well, then. What about Molecular Memory?” It’s Boggel’s turn to upset Servaas even further. “Humans often act like salmon – we go back to our roots, because we resonate there. Something tells us; this is where you come from, you belong here. I once heard that molecules can ‘remember’ their origin, which explains why Karoo-people want to live there – or us, in the Kalahari. Remember, your DNA tells the body a lot of things. Why can’t it store some sort of memory as well?”
By now Servaas is red in the face and breathing hard. “You guys are trying to upset me, and you’re managing quite well. I’ve known all along you’d find this New-Age stuff fascinating. I should have stayed at home today. Would have been much better that way.”
“Never mind, Servaas! Settle down. In a parallel universe, you are at home, feeling quite secure. You’d be looking out of your window with a feeling of déjà vu, thinking about the nonsense we’re talking in here…”
Vetfaan doesn’t get a chance to finish his sentence. Servaas has stormed out without saying goodbye.
Gertruida says she knew that would happen.
That’s what déjà vu is all about, she says.