Dear Intelligent Advice,
I understand that déjà vu is a common enough phenomena that is experienced by everyone at some point in their lives but lately I have been experiencing it almost every day. The minutiae of my life seems to be repeating over and over again. I can no longer tell what is a genuine experience and what is just a cheap knock off in my memory. Is there something deeper at play here?
Response: [Adviser logged on BeingBorges]
Dear Déjà Dont,
I am going to tell you about a novel that might be of interest to you. I discovered it as a young man in the national public library of Buenos Aires. I was interested in a Latin copy of Plato’s Symposium and was surprised to find an old slender hard-cover book in English lodged into a shelf that should have been solely Latin. I picked out the book which was a mystery from the 20’s, written by one Lydia S. Flud. it was called ‘The Last Nights of my Life.” In it, our author, Lydia S. Flud describes the last week of life for our protagonist, also Lydia S. Flud.
Our fictitious Lydia is a young woman haunted by increasingly frequent bouts of déjà vu. She searches ceaselessly for an answer to her problem. Her search leads her through a labyrinth of increasingly strange characters and elaborate conspiracies until finally she ends up at the apartment of a woman she thinks can help her.
It is Lydia S. Flud’s apartment. This time the writer.
I must tell you that there in the library as a young man a chill crossed over me and I was struck by a sense of unreality in my own life. This chill did not dissipate as I continued reading.
Lydia the fictional knocks on the door of Lydia the writer. She is holding a gun but is very much the same woman. She forces the fictional Lydia into the apartment and explains the situation.
“You are just a character. Don’t you understand? I thought you up and wrote you out as a fictional version of myself. At first I was delighted with you. I lived vicariously through you, you lived out my fantasies. I never felt happier than when I was writing about us. Then one day I realized it just wasn’t fair.” (Chp. X11)
Fictional Lydia nervously eyes the gun held by who she assumes is a madwoman.
“It’s not fair because you are given only the illusion of free will. Life for every real person on this planet is an infinite set of choices, each bifurcating and bifurcating into an intricate tree that represents our lives. Your tree is a straight line. All of your choices are pre-determined by me. You have no say in forming the branches in the tree of your own life. This is actually a tragedy. No matter what great adventures you go on it will all just be at its core a straight line, drawn by me. I can’t let this go on.”
With this Lydia the writer points the gun at fictitious Lydia, hesitates and then puts it to her own head, quickly pulling the trigger.
The book ends here and the ending is ambiguous at best. Does fictional Lydia die with her creator or go on living, walking her life by the same pre-ordained path her other half had imagined for her?
I think you know, dear reader, where this letter is going.
I was so shocked reading this as a young man because it came at me with the full force of premonition – with the déjà vu that was it’s central theme. I knew someday I too would write myself into being, that is, I would write a hollow one dimensional version of myself. I would write you and you would come to life and someday wonder about the déjà vu just as Lydia had.
The only question is – which of us will have the gun and which will die when finally you come to meet me? And I know you will come to meet me, because I wrote you to.