Woo of the day

Don’t worry; I’ll soon tire of this, but I was energized by Brian Cox’s exchange with Deepakity.

How can a man on safari in Africa still want to tw**t, much less broadcast nonsense like this?

Screen shot 2014-06-22 at 2.28.44 PM

If consciousness consists, as Chopra says, of subjective sensation, or “qualia,” then who gets your qualia after you die?

83 Comments

  1. Christian
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I’d say they go to the same place the white goes when the snow melts.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      You mean it evaporates and turns into water?

      • Chris
        Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        But water’s not white, so where did the white go???!?

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          It went away with the light.

          It is a little known fact that white does not actually exist. It is merely a photon that may or may not be detected by an observer.

          The colour is an illusion caused by your perception of light.

    • Friendlypig
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:10 am | Permalink

      In 1992 I was fortunate enough to survive an angiogram that misfired; I went into VF and had to be jumpstarted. I was later informed that there had been a 40% risk that my ‘temporary death’ would have become permanent.

      From personal experience I can state categorically that there is nothing there: no consciousness, no other manifestation of ‘being’ – whatever that is. No light at the end of the tunnel, not even a bailiff with a torch.

      I can also state with certainty that, whilst I have no wish to repeat the experience in the near future especially having just undergone cardio-thoracic surgery to repair my mitral valve, I have no fear of being dead – it’s just that I don’t want to go there again in the foreseeable future :o)

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:34 am | Permalink

        I have no fear of being dead – it’s just that I don’t want to go there again in the foreseeable future :o)

        I’m certain you are not alone in that outlook on death.

        I don’t fear being dead, but I do have my concerns about the act of dying.

        Good to hear you’re doing well post-surgery. :-)

  2. Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I follow a few Chopra parody accounts on Twitter, but Chopra’s own tweets are even more hilarious.

    • Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if his twitter has been hijacked. If not, he has reached the point where parody is indistinguishable from the real thing.

      • GBJames
        Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Bingo. Poe’s law. Impossible to tell the difference.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          and… sub

        • Vaal
          Posted June 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          Poe’s Law is the first thing I thought of when reading Chopra’s tweets. If one tried parody, it would look the same. If one made a “deepity generator program,” it would look the same.

          Just googling Chopra brings up his photo with “infinite possibilities” written on his cheek. What the hell can “infinite possibilities” even mean to the reality of human life? Chopra just produces word strings of positive-sounding phrases.

          I do not think clarity is coming any time soon to a brain so addled.

    • Fry
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      I like Chopra. He’s the court jester of the scientific age, where his foolishness is not silly costumes and pratfalls, its his intellectual diarrhea that makes me laugh/cry more than a GOP policy statement. Note how very close cosmic consciousness is to comic consciousness.
      Who I don’t respect are the lazy idiots who make him rich, they could put their cash to so much better use. I have zero sympathy for them when Chopstick’s woo-poo fleeces them of it. Shame on Oprah while I’m at it.

      • Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Though, if not cleaned up, intellectual diarrhea, like the other kind, can infect others with nasty stuff.

  3. MR
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    This man has a serious case of word fetish. Say the word cosmic, consciousness, or quantum and he has the mental equivalent of an orgasm. Word magic is characteristic of primitive religions.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’ve seen, heard or used (in jest, of course) “quantum theology,” “quantum evolution,” “quantum consciousness,” “quantum biofeedback,” and “quantum healing,” not to mention such commercial ventures such as “quantum fishing”.

      I think it’s time to introduce the concept of the “quantum orgasm”.

      • Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s time to introduce the concept of the “quantum orgasm”.

        Spooky action at a distance? Submicroscopically small? Only applicable in extremely frigid environments? Collapses upon observation?

        Not sure how well that’ll catch on….

        b&

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear, an orgasm measured in Planck lengths.

          • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
            Posted June 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

            And surrounded by a cloud of virtual orgasms fluctuating in and out of existence, shielding is from the real deal.

            • Larry Cook
              Posted June 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

              I once knew a woman who had only this kind, especially the ‘fluctuating in and out of existence’ part. It was all my fault of course.

          • Mark Joseph
            Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            Well, if you line up enough of them back to back er, I mean side by side…

        • Posted June 22, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Patti D’Arbanville seemed to enjoy the telekinetic orgasm Chevy Chase gave her in Modern Problems.

          Spooky action at a distance seems to explain this ability.

        • Mark Joseph
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          It doesn’t *have* to be accurate; it only needs to sell books. In fact, being accurate would most probably detract from that goal…

  4. MR
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    OK, It’s not Deepak, but it’s exactly what he says all the time.

  5. Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    If Chopra believes the nonsense he writes, and my hunch is that he does to some extent, then it is likely his bike is missing its chain but he’s still fervently pedaling away.

  6. Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The Woo that can be Deepaked is not the eternal Woo.

    b&

    • Dawn Oz
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Sublime, oh wondrous one!

    • Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      If not eternal woo, then suppository woo?

      • Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        Well, for all the good woo does you might as well shove it up your ass…so, yeah….

        b&

  7. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Chopra is effectively engaging in “word salad” playing a game of mystical scrabble in which he uses whatever tiles he has to come up with impressive sounding words.

    I tend to think that a lot of mystical metaphysical thinkers are coherent but just wrong, simply honestly mistaken. But of Chopra one is tempted to employ the phrase of Wolfgang Pauli: It’s just “not even wrong”!!

    The phrase “cosmic consciousness” was originally coined by Canadian psychiatrist R.M. Bucke who was pretty wooish himself but several notches lower on the Richter woo scale that Chopra.

    Bucke meant something somewhat sort of similar to Chopra means. However, Bucke had the merit of expressing himself clearly and coherently, and practiced legitimate psychotherapy without creating a dubious moneyed industry revolving around mystical placebos, nostrums, and panaceas.

    Bucke regarded the poet Walt Whitman (a friend of his) as the best example of what he called “cosmic consciousness”, a figure easy to admire even if one would like to appropriate his sensibility in less wooish ways, and Bucke had studied Whitman’s poetry in genuine depth.

    By contrast, Chopra’s role models are a grab bag of honored figures whom Chopra seems to understand only superficially including Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Buddha, and Jesus. Chopra has never engaged in any meaningful political activism of the kind Gandhi did- he has remodeled both Buddha and Jesus to suit his purposes, and he could do well to read Hitchens on Theresa. Even if one thought more kindly of Theresa, Chopra has not engaged in that kind of meaningful charity work.

  8. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    “How can a man on safari in Africa still want to tw**t, much less broadcast nonsense like this?”

    Sometimes you feel a profound inanity welling up in your bowels, and you just have to excrete it into the the wider world.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Profound inanity would be a perfect title for Chopra’s next book.

      • Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        That, or a garage band….

        b&

        • Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          I was thinking that, but refrained from writing it. I am afeared, Ben, that the evidence suggests we share “a deep emotional bond.” We are clearly communicating non-locally.

          • Posted June 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

            Seeing how we’re both telepathetic, maybe we could collect Randi’s million in addition to Chopra’s!

            b&

            • Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

              I love it when a plan comes together!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

                I’ve been psychically linked to Ben before too. I think this lends credence to my “we’re really a bunch of iPads talking to each other” theory with one alteration: Ben owns the iPads.

              • Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

                Yes, but are they real iPads, or merely iPad simulations running in Xcode?

                Wait — you’re trying to play into my paranoid conspiracies, aren’t you? I’m on to you now!

                b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

                👹

              • Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

                Actually, I’m more of a 🐡 guy, myself….

                b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted June 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

                Lol very clever!

              • Posted June 25, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

                (Emoji in my response is a link….)

                b&

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Especially since “breathtaking inanity” is already taken…

  9. Sheila B and Zin
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I heard something similar from a Buddhist friend during a conversation we had about the possibility of an afterlife, except that my friend called it “mind” instead of cosmic consciousness. He said he wasn’t sure that “mind” was dependent upon brain activity (I argued that it was) and he believed mind existed independently. My response was that mind required brain activity to access it, and if, as is conceivable, all brains (or other response mechanisms) were somehow wiped out, mind/cosmic consciousness, too, would no longer exist as it would have no means of manifestation.

    Deephak Chopra should take some english lessons – his sentence structure is terrible.

    Brian Cox’s reference to him as Deadbat Chopsticks made me laugh.

  10. GBJames
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    You can not be on a particular safari as it does not exist. This is how you can tweet. Upon death consciousness does not cease, it continues to tweet. This is how we know Chopra is dead. Eaten by a cheetah, perhaps.

    • Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Awww…isn’t it sweet? He’s feeding teh kitties!

      b&

    • Posted June 22, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I hope not, for the cheetah’s sake. They’re an endangered species, and I wouldn’t want one to be poisoned.

  11. Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “Upon death consciousness does not go anywhere. It just stops using a particular body for its manifestation.”
    ___

    His take if I understand it correctly and granted that is close to impossible is terrifying because at least in the Christian scenario as an atheist I happily will be spared from hanging out with foaming-at-the-mouth evangelicals or even more importantly with my Uncle Bill who assured me that just before he died he would ask God’s forgiveness for all the truly wretched things he has done, cashing in on the moral hazard of Christian forgiveness at the very last minute. And you wonder why Christianity is so popular?

    Chopra instead makes no allowance for such mercy. Crapola, we will all be jostling together in the ether as ONE.

    Oh, Chopra, try some cottage-cheese dressing on your word salads as it would be right at home with your curdled thoughts.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Chopra instead makes no allowance for such mercy. Crapola, we will all be jostling together in the ether as ONE.

      This is where my atoms instinctively displays a behaviour equivalent of a “Stay the hell off my lawn!”-sign.

      I reserve the right to refuse to fuse with any other atoms.

      And don’t get me started on other people’s particles….I loathe those intrusive bastards always whimsical and arrogant like they own everything.

      Sheesh!

  12. M Janello
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s like a bit flipped somewhere inside his brain and ‘deep’ became indistinguishable from ‘derp’.

    I’m still trying to parse the meaning of immortality from those tweets, though. The closest I can get is

    “You get to experience immortality as long as you are alive.”

    That’s kind of true, kind of. Once you have a sufficiently flexible definition of the word ‘true’, many things are true.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Well, you get to experience ‘truth’ as long as you are not too wrong. =D

  13. Hempenstein
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    who gets your qualia after you die?

    Looks like highest bidder. I just entered qualia on eBay and got 122 hits. Boots, sausage, and more!

    • AdamK
      Posted June 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I’m leaving my qualia to my cat.

  14. M Janello
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Replacing ‘consciousness’ with other biological phenomena is equally valid!

    “Upon death, digestion does not go anywhere. It just stops using a particular body for its manifestation.” #CosmicDigestion

    “Upon death, fingernail growth does not go anywhere. It just stops using a particular body for its manifestation.” #CosmicKeratogenesis

    • DV
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Yeahbut…digestion and fingernail growth are already quite well understood so they dont make for very good woo.

  15. krzysztof1
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    So . . . we are our atoms, then? They were here before us and will continue on after us. This is certainly true. Nothing of the mystical there. But hey, tell me: if consciousness requires a body for its “manifestation”, then what does happen to it after it “quits using a particular body”? If it isn’t manifest, and requires a body, then how can we ever know its nature? If we can’t know its nature, how can we know it can exist without a body? What is our justification for making such a truth claim?

  16. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    He brags about writing his books on his BlackBerry therefore, I’m sure he thinks every thing he does is very clever simply because he finds it easy. He has yet to realize that even the very clever struggle with truly hard work. It is what I learned in university: we all worked our asses off and those you thought were super smart were super smart, but they too worked their asses off.

    Like Oedipus, he too will have his anagnorisis. Or not, who knows maybe he’ll just prattle on forever.

  17. Marella
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Chopra is simply a poet, but not a good one. He says things that sound pleasantly comforting, but aren’t really meant to be understood except on an emotional level. What they mean is simply, everything is okay.

    I feel as though he is approaching some truths, such as; you borrow your atoms briefly to use as your body and then they move on to be used by other living forms for their own bodies, and the universal has become conscious in us, we are the universe’s way of understanding itself. We are the universe, and Laurence Krauss’s favourite, you are star dust, stars died so that you could live.

    I guess he doesn’t understand synergy. He doesn’t get that a person is greater than the sum of the atoms that make them up. He thinks that because your atoms don’t cease to exist, you don’t cease to exist. This is obviously nonsense on any rational understanding of what an individual is. He is struggling to understand consciousness and failing. He’s not alone in that. Others however don’t manage to make so much money out of their failures.

  18. Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Woo of the day alright!

  19. Taz
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Clicked on the link to Deepak’s feed and saw this:

    Current science maintains that reality is mind independent while asking for empirical evidence which is mind dependent

    What a handy little dodge. “According to my theory of the universe there can never be any evidence to support my theory of the universe”.

  20. Scote
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    “How can a man on safari in Africa still want to tw**t, much less broadcast nonsense like this?”

    He may be using a service like Hootsuite to pre-schedule tweets, similar to how one can schedule posts in WordPress. I think the even more generic and meaningless than usual posts suggests that they were pre-written to be auto tweeted while he was on Safari. But, how can one tell when the the real Deepak tweets are indistinguishable from the automatic deepity text generator (which passes the Turing Test for appearing to be Deepak.)

    • Posted June 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes, except that one doesn’t need a Turing-complete device to fully simulate Chopra. Indeed, flow control is entirely redundant in his case.

      b&

      • Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        1 bit of state is enough (plus a string table)

        0: Output I’m miffed at the scientists!
        1: Output subjectivist bafflegab

  21. compuholio
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn’t it be great if someone would pull a Sokal on Chopra one day?

    Just sit down with him in an interview and very sincerely ask him questions which are completely made up word salad. If he jumps on it, then embarass him.

    • observer
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      As if Chopra could ever be embarrassed.

      • bobsgutarshop
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        Word.

    • Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      I think he kind of does that to himself every day.

  22. DV
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Experience immortality? Wouldn’t that be infinitely boring?

    • eric
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      That was the tweet that I noticed too. You don’t experience immortality by knowing you’re a consciousness; you experience immortality by not dying after a couple hundred years.

      • Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        s/a couple hundred years/several quintillions of multiples of the heat death of the Universe/

        b&

      • DV
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Couple hundred years? Who even lives that long? I assume there are no intelligent tortoises on this board.

  23. Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I can’t even read those tweets without my brain BSODing. *shudder*

  24. bobsgutarshop
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    If I’m not this particular body, then I’d very much like to use a more athletic one the next time I play soccer or basketball.

  25. Gerry
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Chopra almost makes a valid point here, in that the Self is a transient and somewhat chimerical phenomenon under the illusion of separation from general Being (the rest of the universe) for a temporary period in the shape of a bipedal humanoid. Where he goes very wrong is claiming that this unified Being is conscious, which is obviously untrue — consciousness is a small part of the existence of a very small part of the Cosmos, a handful of biological creations.

  26. Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Sure sounds like he’s afraid of his own mortality. Eeesh. Also mayne stop mangling syntax by saying sh*t like “*you are that”. Stop it Deeps. It hurts.

  27. Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    *maybe

  28. Jesper Both Pedersen
    Posted June 25, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Brian Cox is finding it rather tiresome dealing with the pakster.

    Great fun is had by all. :-)

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Haha! That’s the Coxy I love to see!


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