Saturday, 20 February 2010

Ali Baba, deja vu and cognitive fusion

OK, this is a bit weird but tonight I learnt something from a fairytale.

Ever since I arrive in Al Ain I've had the most acute, life-like, surreal sense of deja vu. Every night (well, most nights) I go for a run round the block and get the most unbelievably powerful feeling of deja vu. Sometimes we don't recognise the original event, but I am taken back to my childhood and specifically the feelings of fear, confusion and curiosity I got from reading Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.

It's something about the smell (goats and oil) and it's something about the temperature (warm, cloying) and it's something about the moon and the mosques (lots of crescents). But something from long, long ago is activated each night and I get the same feeling.

Why is this signficant? Well, it isn't really. I just thought it was quite strange.

But it does show one thing. Language, (in this case a book read to me when I was very young,) can evoke feelings which are real, and these feelings can re-surface years later with great power.

So imaginary events can bring real, lifelike feelings, and then certain contextual cues can, years later, re-evoke these feelings and cause me to feel new, real-life feelings often without even understanding why.

Language has the power to shape real life feelings and emotions. If these feelings are not welcome or not acceptable we are likely to base our behaviour on avoiding those feelings rather than responding to the actual situation. This is a factor in cognitive fusion, and often it can happen without us fully understanding how or why.

And this is what Ali Baba taught me tonight.


Anonymous said...

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願望 said...