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Déjà vu ("already seen") is the uncanny feeling when it seems as if we had already had exactly the same experience, or had previously found ourselves in the same situation, yet we are unable to recall that former experience or situation.
- There are some places which, seen for the first time, yet seem to strike a chord of recollection. "I have been here before," we think to ourselves, "and this is one of my true homes." It is no mystery for those philosophers who hold that all which we shall see, with all which we have seen and are seeing, exists already in an eternal now; that all those places are home to us which in the pattern of our life are twisting, in past, present and future, tendrils of remembrance round our heart-strings.
- It's déjà vu all over again.
- Yogi Berra, What Time Is It? You Mean Now? (2003), p. 137
- We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time — of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances — of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remembered it!
- In the condition of "deja vu" it is probable that what takes place is that one or several elements in the present situation are like those which had been experienced in the past, but that the dissimilarities in the situations are not observed. The individual has a memory defect in that he parallels or identifies a complex present experience with a similar complex past experience, although in the present experience the number of elements which are the same as those in the past may not be very great. In other words, the present experience is deemed to be the same as that of the past because of the fact that the past is not accurately remembered and properly localized in time.
- Shepherd Ivory Franz, "Delusions", Popular Science, January 1915, Vol. 86, p. 90
- To the category of the wonderful and uncanny we may also add that strange feeling we perceive in certain moments and situations when it seems as if we had already had exactly the same experience, or had previously found ourselves in the same situation. [...] I believe that it is wrong to designate the feeling of having experienced something before as an illusion. On the contrary, in such moments something is really touched that we have already experienced, only we cannot consciously recall the latter because it never was conscious. In short, the feeling of Déjà vu corresponds to the memory of an unconscious fantasy.
- Often on the highway, weary and wary, we spurn the unknown and cheerfully drive on for the promise of a Howard Johnson's and its familiar déjà vu.
- Gael Greene, "Indigestion on the turnpike", Life, Vol. 69, No. 9, 28 August 1970, p. 12
- The essential of the déjà vu is rather the negation of the present than the affirmation of the past.
- We wallow in nostalgia but manage to get it all wrong. True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories [...] but American-style nostalgia is about as ephemeral as copyrighted déjà vu.
- Florence King, "Déjà Views", in Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye (1989), p. 112
- When some French were assembling an encyclopedia of paranormal experiences, they decided to leave déjà vu out, because it was so common it could not be considered paranormal.
- Kim Stanley Robinson, Galileo's Dream (2009), Ch. 13, p. 284
- They [Romantics] all seem to have experienced paramnesia, the sensation of déjà vu, the total recollection which does not appear to be recollected; they all aimed at least at the total exclusion of the past from the present by a perfect absorption in the present, as if time stood still and became eternity.
- René Wellek, "Romanticism Reconsidered", in Concepts of Criticism (1963), p. 212