They're everywhere around us, but usually we choose to ignore them.
They happen in space. They happen in time. They're little moments of discontinuity in our experience, but they can become portals to the greater experience of our world as illusion, as the veil, as Maya, as the collective dream.
And the experience of ourselves as the dreamers.
If we choose not to ignore them, but to follow them, like Alice down a cosmic rabbit hole, we might just begin to understand how it was that we got here in the first place.
This book is about not ignoring them, but embracing them.
Journey to the outer limits of the mind to explore the worlds of quantum physics, black holes, and superstring theory.
Renato manages to be metaphysical while also remaining lighthearted and fun for a book that explores the nature of existence.
In The Déjà Vu Experiment, a brief and beautifully presented metaphysical minimemoir, J. G. Renato attempts to uncover the deeper meaning behind that often disconcerting déjà vu we’ve all experienced at some time or other. He skillfully uses this sense of stepping out of one plane of reality and seeing things from a different perspective to explore the whole nature of being, presence, and existence. Most crucially, he poses the thorny question of how spiritual phenomena can fit within a world obsessed by rationality and tangible productivity.
The author chronicles many abstract metaphysical concepts—an area that runs the risk of losing all but the most devoted fans of esoterica. Yet, by anchoring abstract metaphysical concepts solidly in the turning points of his life—including his decision to turn his back on a successful career as an engineer and designer—Renato keeps us turning the pages with avid interest.
The prompts on his road to self-discovery are a strong childhood recollection of slipping out of time when staring at the lettering on a grain elevator, and his love for a widowed waitress who teaches him to overcome his self-imposed stumbling blocks of proof, evidence, and demonstrable fact. In a few concise, heartfelt paragraphs, his sweetheart Diana comes winningly to life and Renato conveys a rounded and complex sense of her charm. He also skillfully distinguishes Diana the love object from the spiritual teacher—a woman who has had a hard life, not least of which includes the brutal loss of her husband at an early age.
The narrative blends diverse topics ranging from the French deconstructionists to his father’s midwestern auto-repair shop, a feat of accomplished storytelling that could seem clumsy and contrived in less able hands. Throughout, Renato warns readers of the dangers of trying to reduce human experience to facts and figures. By doing so, we may miss the vital realization that the truth is to be found in the lacunae—or unexplored gaps that lie at the outermost edges of our knowledge. With his academic physics training and spare writing style, Renato gracefully communicates the essentials of quantum physics to the uninitiated without getting bogged down in arcane academic references. He acknowledges that language is a problem in describing fleeting philosophical concepts, but what will strike the reader is not just the clarity of Renato’s thoughts. It’s the ease and grace with which he expresses them.
This poetic, thoughtful read will appeal to those interested in the mystical. The key achievement of this slight volume is managing to be metaphysical while remaining lighthearted and fun. Particularly appealing are the inclusion of “perception exercises” that contrast our concept of our body parts with that of the architecture around us. Like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—which he references frequently—there is deceptively more to this charming tale than might at first meet the eye.
The Déjà Vu Experiment pays tribute both to the accomplished and intelligent engineer Renato was—modesty might prevent him from describing himself as such—and to the sage he has become. Reading this charming tale explains how a subtle shift in perspective is perhaps all it takes for us to recognize the most important elements at the heart of our being.
What might John Galt have thought if he had left his followers in the valley of Colorado? Would he have continued to follow the idea that only the material mattered? Or, might he have undergone a philosophical revelation? In The Déjà Vu Experiment, J.G. Renat expounds upon this idea. The Déjà Vu Experiment is not a “story.” It is, rather, a discussion of the little anomalies in life that may lead one to look at the world in a new way. These anomalies, these “gaps” were discovered and then examined by John Galt when he met Diana, an Iowa farm girl who encouraged his curiosity.
Renat suggests that people are so intent on their own internal realities that they fail to notice the greater world. He challenges them to “look through the veil” of their historical understanding. It is the strange little events that will wake people from their typical hypnotic approach to life, events often brought forth through art, theology, and science. Living our “mortal dreams,” we miss out on an appreciation of the eternity in which we live, an eternity without past, present, or future.
I especially appreciated the quotes Renat shared from Marianne Williamson, Albert Einstein, Jack Kerouac, the Chinese philosopher, Zhuangzi, Tolstoy, and more. Some of his ideas encouraged my thoughtful consideration and challenged my understanding. For example, Renat suggests that if we operated just as spirit, if we knew of our immortality, “it would be tough to get a rousing game of life going.” He also asks, which is really in charge: you or your body? Offering unique ways to look at light, quantum physics, string theory, the universe existing as a single unified melody, the power of imagination, free will, the language of mathematics, death, and more, Renat successfully challenged me to consider not just “Who am I?” but “What am I?”
In The Deja Vu Experiment, author J. G. Renato brilliantly blends Greek Mythology, contemporary physics, science, and fiction through the eyes of interpretive literature, with parallels of Einstein’s pursuit within physics, and Monet’s and Seurat’s in the world of art. He draws heavily from the writings of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and from the characters John Galt and Diana from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to draw the reader into this fictional yet inspirational title. Ultimately, the purpose of this book is for readers to gain insight of our purpose and our realities from the author’s perspective, taking a deeper look into the possibilities of different components that make us spiritual humans.
Events are discussed through a spectrum created by art, theology, and science. Renato proposes that we have to ask the question “What are we?” in order to understand who we are, to understand what we become, and to see what is beyond. He challenges the reader to consider those gaps in time when we suddenly find ourselves waking up from an awareness of having checked out of reality into a state of being on “auto-pilot,” a kind of veiled reality versus accepted reality. I thought of these gaps as a daytime equivalent to the drowsiness of sleep which moves the conscious mind into that nebulous world of dreams – which my wife describes as “the land with the feather ball.” I was particularly interested in his discussion of “free will” and the “deterministic universe” in light of both religion and science.
I highly recommend The Deja Vu Experiment by J.G. Renato. Whether as a reader you are a natural technician, a producer, physicist, philosopher, or cleric; Renato’s writing necessitates an intellectual honesty, personal integrity, reflection, introspection, and an intuitive curiosity about the world. He uses metaphors, anomalies, and illusions, as well as commentary of philosophy, metaphysics, and ethics. He is passionate about his logic and his conclusions.