There are a lot of hypotheses about déjà vu. Here’s mine: Our subconscious is a strategy machine. It’s constantly looking ahead. It’s always building plausible scenarios about what will happen next. To get us ready. So we can decide what to do. So we can act.
Sometimes the sheer number of scenarios our subconscious generates means one of those scenarios is exactly right. Sometimes, people say exactly what our subconscious thought they’d say. Sometimes, things happen exactly as our subconscious projected they would happen. Three or four steps down the line.
So we think we’ve already seen it, to transliterate the French “déjà vu.” It feels familiar. It feels like we’ve seen it before. Which we have, in a way. We’ve seen it before in our heads.
Which can be a problem. If we think we’ve seen something before, we might think we know what comes next. We might think everything is going according to a pre-set plan. We’ve cracked the Matrix. We can see all the ones and zeros.
Which would be a mistake. Déjà vu means our subconscious has done a good job of scenario projection. It doesn’t mean reality will continue along the same path. It doesn’t mean the future is known.
But that’s just a hypothesis. How would you test it?