Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Guru Delusion

There was at time, wa-a-a-a-y back, when I actually read a couple of books by Deepak Chopra. Nowadays, I'm almost embarrassed to admit it—skip the 'almost': I am embarrassed and confess to it publicly here and now—and I'm slightly red in the face right now. But everybody's allowed a few mistakes, OK? So gimme a break for a less-wary version of me having delved into some rather dodgy materials. Believe you me, there are more serious face-reddenders among the things I wish I didn't remember having done.

Anyway, here's DEEPAK!

Chopra Blames Own Meditation for Baja Quake

The U.S. Geological Survey is blaming day-to-day seismological changes for Sunday's 7.2 earthquake along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Deepak Chopra, the famed alternative-medicine practitioner and transcendental meditation guru, is pretty sure he knows what really happened.

"Had a powerful meditation just now -- caused an earthquake in Southern California," Chopra wrote to his nearly 179,000 Twitter followers shortly after the quake.

And then, to clarify: "Was meditating on Shiva mantra & earth began to shake," he tweeted. "Sorry about that." ...

And so on.

After I stopped laughing...

[sorry, still chuckling...]


...after I stopped laughing, I started to wonder what prompted that tweet. Does the guy actually believe this crap himself? If so, he is a moron—assuming that comes as news, and maybe even assuming that there was a time when he wasn't.

If he's no a moron, does he really have sufficient contempt for those who 'follow' him to pen this. Does he truly consider them sufficiently stupid to believe it? And are his followers actually dumb enough to believe him? What, in other words, does it say about both, the man and his followers?

The only possible reaction by any moderately rational human being, no matter how much they think he is wise and knowing and that the sun shines out of his butt—just as if he were a 'Bright'; what delicious irony!—no matter how much they have followed him and read his books, every single damn one of them, and/or forked out ludicrous amounts of cash to attend some retreat or workshop, or...ahh, never mind; you know what I mean...the only reaction by a human being capable of reason and a sense of proportion must surely be to trash the books, forget about the whole Deepak bullshit, and maybe start a new chapter of using the brain for critical thought.

On the other hand, that just might not work anymore. I wonder if someone could do some research into this. You know, like they did with marihuana, where it turns out, from long-term and large-scale epidemiological studies, that it actually does damage the brain beyond repair. Maybe, if one did some serious cognitive studies, they would find that brains failing to engage in critical thinking for long periods of time also suffer physiological damage.† Meaning that there would actually be a biological explanation for why people actually aren't going to walk out on this wally by the hundreds of thousands.

If stupid thinking really were to induce physiological damage, we would, of course, have cause to declare the likes of Deepak—and Oprah as well, to name just one other member of that loony bin—as being on the level of illegal drugs. It's a thought. It won't happen, but one can always dream.

Oh, yes, and to wit...

An hour after Chopra's Twitter confession, he vowed to one Twitter user, @WhiteMoon7, "Won't do it again -- promise."

[Sorry. Unable to write. Finger refuses to follow coordinated signals because of continued laughter.]

I'm not even to begin to discuss the full ramifications of this turning out to be true.

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