I’m sure that most of you watched the Presidential debate on Monday night, just as I did. Over the years, these debates have always always painful for me to watch, given the candidates’ tendency to answer the question they want to answer rather than the question actually answered; to find ways to spew prepackaged talking points into answers, whether they’re related to the question or not; and, above all, to see how much spin they can get away with. Particularly annoying is when they pander to their base with particularly brain dead bon mots. Candidates from both parties do it, of course, but this year is a bit different because not only is one of the candidates, Donald Trump, am antivaccine loon dating back a decade, but he lies all the time more frequently, shamelessly, and proficiently than literally any political candidate I can remember in my adult lifetime, and I’ve been following Presidential elections since 1976. Add to that his penchant for insulting his opponents, conspiracy theories like the “birther” movement that denies that Barack Obama is an native born American citizen and thus is ineligible to be President, and his skill at Gish galloping, and this was going to be the most…unusual Presidential debate in modern history.

Donald Trump ended up doing far more poorly than I expected, falling for a number of rather obvious traps laid for him by Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, the topic of vaccines didn’t come up, and the topic of anthropogenic global climate change only came up when Trump lied about ever having said that anthropogenic global climate change is an invention of China to hinder US industrial competitiveness. He did.

I’m not here to dissect what happened on Monday night, though. There are many out there who’ve already done it and are better at understanding politics than I am. Regular readers already know what I think of Donald Trump, and not just my contempt for him for being an antivaccinationist, which is perhaps the only belief that he’s been utterly consistent about for a decade. No, rather, I couldn’t help but laugh uproariously at an article about which the Friendly Atheist gave me the heads up, an article by that master of woo, Deepak Chopra, entitled Donald Trump and the Looking-Glass War. In it, Chopra seems to be going out of his way to nuke another one of my irony meters.

For example:

More than one observer has remarked that the tactics of the Trump campaign, which misses no opportunity to turn the truth upside down, have taken us to a crossroads.

And that’s just the first sentence. Remember, Deepak Chopra is a man who is so full of himself (and woo) that nearly a decade ago I coined a term for the mixture of mystical blather liberally sprinkled with science-y sounding bits of science utilizing terms like “quantum,” “cosmic consciousness,” and “epigenetics.” That term was “Choprawoo.” Once you read a few Chopra articles you’ll be able to recognize it in a few sentences and realize that there’s only one proper response to Choprawoo. After all, he’s applied it to attack evolution as “materialism,” by invoking “intelligent genes,” and, of course, by attacking Richard Dawkins. Sadly, he’s actually conned real scientists into collaborating with him to do a clinical trial.

In fairness, my amusement with Chopra’s article is not about Choprawoo, though. It’s about an extreme lack of self-awareness, such as here:

The looking-glass war is a contest taking place in collective consciousness. According to a fact-based view of reality, the U.S. is not in imminent danger from terrorism on a mass scale; we are a prosperous, growing economy; our military strength far surpasses any other nation; immigrants are a positive force in our pluralistic society, not a gang of criminals and freeloaders. But facts aren’t the same as consciousness, and the wrong-is-right strategy that the Republicans have fostered for decades is rising to claim what is due to it. Because they owe their political survival to the very values that Trumpism expresses in exaggerated form, few Republicans are safe enough, or courageous enough, to speak out against him, and the prospect that this grotesque caricature of a candidate may actually win the Presidency has actually had the opposite effect. It has made estranged Republicans “come home,” as they say, which means the embrace of shameless, shameful values as if they are acceptable.

And:

Collective consciousness holds up a mirror to the truth, and in the end there is no arguing against reality, wherever it takes us. My only point is to underline that all of us are reflected in the mirror as individuals

There is “no arguing against reality”? Really? “No arguing against reality”? Chopra is a man who has spent his entire life and career since abandoning real medicine for quackery and science for pseudoscience arguing against reality and losing! Just look at his brief bio after the op-ed. It lists him as being the author of Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being. Basically, it’s a book that invokes epigenetics to claim that you are the “user and controller of your genes, the author of your biological story.” Basically, it’s the same quack view of epigenetics as a magical biological mechanism that allows you to basically tell your genes whatever you want them to do and protect you from pretty much any disease. The bio also mentions that he is the author of Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine, perhaps the ultimate popularizer of the misuse of quantum physics to justify quackery. If you don’t believe me, just look at the blurb:

Inspired by the unexplained recovery of patients in his own practice who had been given just a few months to live, Dr. Chopra began his search for answers. After returning to his native India to explore humanity’s most ancient healing tradition, Ayurveda, he combined those insights with Western medicine, neuroscience, and physics. What he discovered—a “network of intelligence” in the human body with the potential to defeat cancer, heart disease, even aging itself—forms the basis of Quantum Healing. In this new edition, Dr. Chopra once again offers a fascinating intellectual journey and a deeply moving chronicle of hope and healing.

Now there’s your Choprawoo. Here’s some more that Chopra used recently to sell something he calls a HumaGram™:

HumaGrams are life-size photo-realistic digital representations of people, projected using ARHT’s patent-pending Augmented Reality Holographic Technology, capable of eliminating time and geography by allowing a speaker to appear in front of an audience as a hologram in real-time for a two-way interaction, without having the need to physically be there.

And:

With the advent of HumaGrams in the health and wellness space, individuals can now be beamed into virtually any location around the world using the public Internet, and can interact with multiple audiences in multiple locations in real-time opening up endless boundaries for greater engagement and collaboration. The use of this technology will bring the insights of key thought leaders to the masses while fusing the online with the offline. Jiyo users will be able to access a schedule of lectures, meditations, and workshops around the world where a HumaGram of these experts will be available to interact with them.

I was only disappointed that Chopra didn’t invoke quantum physics.

Still, given Chopra’s skill at laying down the world’s most concentrated woo over a long period of time, I’m sure you can see why yet another of my irony meters is lying on the table in a bubbling, quivering pile of molten plastic and wires.

I just had a terrifying thought: What if Donald Trump and Deepak Chopra joined forces? The woo would be YUGE, perhaps so huge that the world couldn’t handle it. I also had another thought. Even though Chopra is correct about Trump’s relationship with reality, he needs to learn to realize that he’s no different. In fact, he’s probably worse.

Comments

  1. #1 irenedelse
    September 28, 2016

    In a sense, it’s no surprise that Chopra is so pissed off at candidate Trump. Not only the guy routinely badmouths immigrants, reminding him that all his success means nothing in the eyes of racists, but Trump is also loudly and shamelessly an egotist and materialist. And that’s anathema for Chopra, who is after all a lifelong proponent of religion, who tries to “scientifically prove” that his Vedanta Hinduism (including yoga, mantras and meditations) is the key to perfect health and a spiritual life.

  2. #2 Chris Hickie
    September 28, 2016

    I also had another thought. Even though Chopra is correct about Trump’s relationship with reality, he needs to learn to realize that he’s no different. In fact, he’s probably worse.

    I think Chopra’s also envious as Trump may have an even lower signal to noise ratio that somehow still resonates with enough people to give him more popularity the Chopra.

  3. #3 SpecialFrog
    September 28, 2016

    A couple of years ago I was booked into a Trump hotel for a conference (not by choice). I felt out of place anyway but when I saw Deepak Chopra in the lobby I knew I didn’t belong.

  4. #4 Dangerous Bacon
    September 28, 2016

    As usual, the Deepak Chopra Random Quote Generator has many perspicacious and epigenetic responses to Orac’s article:

    http://wisdomofchopra.com/

    I was going to suggest that Trump needs his own random quote generator, except that he already does this without any help.

  5. #5 Jesus Baby
    A BigPharma cubicle
    September 28, 2016

    A Chopra HumaGram makes me shudder

  6. #6 Eric Lund
    September 28, 2016

    I see two factors in play here:

    1. As an immigrant from a country with a large Muslim population, Chopra correctly views Trump as an existential threat. As Irene @1 points out, Trump routinely badmouths non-European immigrants (his attitude about European immigrants is different, as can be seen from the fact that he has married two of them) to an extent that borders on incitement of violence. If he is elected, there will be pogroms. Chopra understands this much. He’s less likely to survive a Trump presidency than a similarly situated white man.

    2. Being a BS artist himself, Chopra recognizes that Trump is a BS artist, and Chopra would prefer not to have the competition (this is more or less the theory Chris @2 articulates). I agree with Chopra being worse than Trump in the following respect: I think Chopra knows he’s a BS artist, but is too deep in the grift to explicitly admit it. I doubt Trump knows he’s a BS artist–the man is a walking embodiment of Dunning-Kruger.

  7. #7 Gilbert
    September 28, 2016

    Hillary uses a HumaGram:

    “The first impulse of the average Muslim in the Islamic world is that this kind of borrowing [culturally] would be somehow an alien factor into our social fabric and thereby destroying the integrity of our ethos … the integrity of our culture,” he added.

    http://freebeacon.com/issues/weiner-father-law-exposed/

    Uh hu:

  8. #8 Murmur
    UK-ia
    September 28, 2016

    Eric @ 6

    And of course he is from European immigrant stock himself, what with the German paternal side and, oh did we not know about it, his mother being Scottish…He just went on and on and on and on about that when he was over here, trying to break our planning laws, bribe his way into getting what he wanted, trampling all over the wishes of the locals, attempting to destroy protected sites…

  9. #9 Walt Garage
    Reality based community
    September 28, 2016

    #4 Dangerous Bacon – I had immediately gone to the random quote generator site and got this:

    “Good health shapes quantum experiences”

    Also, there is a Drumpfbot that will answer your questions –

    https://www.donalddrumpfbot.com/

  10. #10 Rich Woods
    September 28, 2016

    @SpecialFrog #3:

    but when I saw Deepak Chopra in the lobby I knew I didn’t belong.

    Don’t worry, I don’t think you did really see Chopra. You just saw one of his HumaGram™ projections.

  11. #11 Eric Lund
    September 28, 2016

    He just went on and on and on and on about that when he was over here, trying to break our planning laws, bribe his way into getting what he wanted, trampling all over the wishes of the locals, attempting to destroy protected sites…

    Which is more or less how he operates in the US. Except that in the US he has a well-documented habit of stiffing his contractors, many of which have had to resort to suing him for payment. (In the “hoist on their own petard” department, some of the contractors who have sued Trump for nonpayment are lawyers who represented him in other such suits.) Trump is such a notorious deadbeat that US banks will no longer do business with him. I don’t know if he pulls this kind of stunt in other countries, but I do know that in some jurisdictions this would result in criminal rather than civil action.

    I recall that Trump was at his golf course in Scotland the day after the Brexit vote, openly stating his glee at the result … which Scotland had voted strongly against. As the line in The Big Lebowski puts it: Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    September 28, 2016

    Lately, whilst doing my literary work in a related field-
    I have sought the refuge of *voices on the television as background noise* thus I hear so much..from people,,,

    I can’t help but notice how the Donald’s woo is so much like the crap I survey and have surveyed for a long time. He spouts out wish fulfilling fantasy and easy answers to difficult situations as though he were the Gary Null of real estate or reality TV or the Mike Adams of
    the PRESIDENCY ( universe forbid!)

    Watching the debate, it seemed to me as a trained psychologist
    HOW MUCH IS AMISS WITH HIM –
    No dx here
    but please!
    Let me vent!
    He can’t hold back verbally. or his actions
    he has no depth
    he rambles and SNIFFS
    on and on

    It is truly atrocious as well as frightening.

    Don’t viewers see this? And imagine what type of person would perform in that manner? What a lack of skills he has?
    How that would get him up sh!t’s creek rapidly? Sans a paddle? I am just aghast at the prospect of him with more power. Holy mackerel!

    ( and putting on my purple shirt or tie – to signify my non-bias– it should be noted that HRC and Mr follow Dr Hyman’s functional medicine or suchlike)

    At least she took antibiotics

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    September 28, 2016

    Still wearing the purple shirt/ tie…**

    I thought that Orac and company might enjoy a comment or tweet ( I forget which) from DR Howard Dean..
    about that sniffing-
    HD ventured that perhaps the Orange One might
    be using cocaine:
    after all grandiosity, pressured speech etc
    PERHAPS!

    I am hoping that HD was being sarcastic or joking. I found the idea hilarious. It would be problematic if he were serious.
    Trump supposedly never used any drug and never drank alcohol

    ** although I am liberaler than almost anyone

  14. #14 irenedelse
    September 28, 2016

    @Denise: Cocaine would make a lot of sense. Not so much as a cause of Trump behaviour, but as a consequence. I mean, so far the guy exhibited all the hallmarks of a mob boss, in his business style as well as in his private life. So why forgo the powder?

  15. #15 Gilbert
    September 28, 2016
  16. #16 Szilard
    September 28, 2016

    Quantum Healing? Can healing really be quantized into discrete and identical units? What the hell is a healing quantum?

    I get the impression this word has been misappropriated in a futile attempt to instill awe and scientific legitimacy to his BS in a confusing way that it not immediately discernible to the reader, since hardly anyone fully understands quantum mechanics. His woobabble is only second to David Wolfes’ brand of woospeak.

    Chocolate is an octave of Sun energy; chocolate lines up planetarily with the sun. In fact, it is the energy in the center of the Sun.

    -David Wolfe

  17. #17 Chris Preston
    Australia
    September 29, 2016

    In fairness, my amusement with Chopra’s article is not about Choprawoo, though. It’s about an extreme lack of self-awareness…

    I wish to submit the observation that if Deepak Chopra had any self-awareness, he wouldn’t write what he writes.

  18. #18 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    September 29, 2016

    @ Denise Walters
    Still wearing the purple shirt/ tie…**

    Be careful, you may find yourself supporting someone you have never even heard of.

    But now, as Canada’s ranks of independent candidates adopt one of the last viable colours on the rainbow, purple is getting conscripted for political service.
    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/post-partisan-purple-the-rise-of-canadas-newest-and-most-fabulous-political-colour

    And a cute line allegedly used by Québec’s non-political clergy when commenting on elections in the late 19th C. “Le ciel est bleu, l’enfer est rouge”.

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    September 29, 2016

    @ irenedelse:

    Haha!

    But really and truly, I do firmly believe that his speech patterns and actions are not caused by any external chemical substance like alcohol and / or drugs INCLUDING cocaine
    BUT they’re all him!
    ( with maybe a little help from his handlers)

  20. #20 Denice Walter
    September 29, 2016

    @ jrkrideau:

    Certainly I was referring to a blend of USian red ( Republican) and blue ( Democrat) – thus, neutrality- which was established a while back after earlier choices based upon UKian blue ( Conservative) and red ( Labour) were flipped.

    Of course purple has been associated with royalty in past eras and occasionally, gay causes. As well as with Mssrs Hendrix and Prince..

    I wouldn’t actually wear a true purple – it’s too much except as an accent in a shirt or scarf or tie- although I often use faded lavender as a base to highlight my ivory-ness. Why not?

  21. #21 Denice Walter
    September 29, 2016

    In other news…

    Today Kim ( AoA) expresses her displeasure at a Dallas newspaper not praising her fem-mance**, Jenny McCarthy’s Autism Education Summit to the skies. Quite the reverse.

    Media are truly the “scum of the earth’ ( or suchlike) as the Orange One recently noted
    .
    ** female bromance

  22. #22 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    October 14, 2016

    I didn’t know where to put this.
    Governor Chris Christie, a fervent Trump supporter, who comes across as as blustering, bullying and obnoxious as Trump, msy find himself serving time.
    http://www.politicususa.com/2016/10/13/chris-christie-facing-10-years-prison-summons-issued-misconduct-office.html

  23. […] up from time to time, such as when irony meters everywhere immediately self-destructed after Chopra criticized Donald Trump for being insufficiently evidence-based or when, after I wrote a post asking why medical […]

  24. […] with, of all people, Andrew Wakefield to discuss vaccine policy. 2016 was a year when Deepak Chopra castigated our new President-Elect for not being sufficiently reality-based. At the time, I said that irony meters everywhere exploded, but, having observed Donald Trump a […]

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