The Déjà Vu Experiment by J. G. Renato
The Déjà Vu Experiment is best compared to Paul Coelho’s novel The Alchemist, which is really philosophy dressed up as fiction. Experiment is narrated by John Galt, a character from the eminently influential “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, who tells of his lifelong journey of self-discovery and mental wakefulness. Galt comments on the hypnotic effect reality has on human beings, eventually leading us to navigate our lives on auto-pilot, much in the same way that people driving along the highway arrive at their destination without any recollection of the ride itself. How did we get here? And where is “here”? These questions – and more – are examined in Experiment through the lenses of physics, logic, art, music, literature, and religion, which conspire, says Renato, to create what he terms “gaps” in reality, fleeting moments during which the mind is sharp enough to pierce the fabric of our existence and catch a glimpse of the larger picture behind.
J. G. Renato’s The Déjà Vu Experiment is a fresh-minded exercise in metaphysical thinking that challenges its readers to invert the way in which they view the world and, ultimately, climb to a higher, more peaceful plane of consciousness. For example, in a discussion of what it means exactly to be human and to have a soul, Renato quotes C. S. Lewis as saying, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Many of the ‘Aha!’ moments in philosophy arrive when readers are forced to flip-flop their traditional lines of thought, and this story is rife with them. Experiment feels a bit like a voyage into outer space: it is only when we look back upon the world, falling silently beneath us into the vast, airless void, that we can truly recognize how forever changed our lives have become.
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