From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: Ayurvedic medicine & Deepak Chopra
12 June 2015
Hugs Dr. Carroll,
Recently, Wikipedia remarks from you concerning Deepak Chopra, M.D., have come to my attention: Robert Todd Carroll has characterized Chopra's promotion of lengthened life as a selling of "hope" that seems to be "a false hope based on an unscientific imagination steeped in mysticism and cheerily dispensed gibberish".
reply: What I meant to say was that the way Deepak promotes this notion (and many other ideas as well) is in language that can be described, if we are charitable, as gibberish.The ideas themselves are often couched in something resembling scientific jargon, especially words like 'quantum' and 'entanglement.' The idea of living forever young is certainly a promise rife with false hope steeped in imagination and mysticism and cheerily dispensed. I can see why Deepak might balk at my referring to his imagination as unscientific due to the fact that his idea of science does not seem to jibe with that of the majority of scientists I have read or come in contact with on this planet. Maybe I should travel more.
I have exchanged with Dr. Chopra about postcentenarianship several times. In some of his early books he references p.c. (long before we ever exchanged). P.c. involves living in good health to 100 and more. Recently, another M.D. said to me she plans to live for a century and believes everyone should. As Dr. Chopra says, that's a viable option.
reply: Dr. Chopra is free to express his views. Dr. Carroll thinks he's wrong. However, I do hope he lives to be 100+ years of age.
Have you not seen all the material and actual profiles right on the Internet and in books written by a growing number of M.D.s and others? The putdown about "unscientific imagination" etc. is the very cynicism that Dr. Chopra notes abbreviates life.
reply: Yes, well, my 'cynicism,' as you call it, has been with me for seven decades, along with many happy molecules in my aging body. Unlike Dr. Chopra, I have no desire to live to be 100+ years of age. And, no, I haven't seen the vast quantity of materials supporting postcentenarianship. Do you remember J. I. Rodale, a father of the organic movement who died of a heart attack at age 72 while taping an episode of "The Dick Cavett Show" shortly after announcing "I’ve decided to live to be a hundred" and "I never felt better in my life!" Rodale once declared: "I'm going to live to be 100 unless I'm run down by a sugar-crazed taxi driver." Still, I hope you and your fellow postcentenarianship advocates achieve your goal of living a really long time.
A PhD physicist colleague has this to say: “I guess Carroll has not heard of epigenetics? And that is science.”
reply: Epigenetics? Recommeded by a physicist, eh? This is what you are building your postcentenarian hopes on? Good luck with that.
Another colleague is a moonwalker who, a pragmatist with advanced science training, plans to return to the moon at 100 but is waiting until age 90 to publicly announce.
reply: Let me guess. Edgar Mitchell?
Another M.D. gerontology colleague, an atheist, has written books about living well to 100 and beyond.
reply: And many theists have written books about living forever in some dreamland. Anybody can write a book and claim anything they want.
If you are interested, I would be willing to begin a civil instructive email discussion with you to elaborate on the privilege and attainability of postcentenarianship.
Suzanne Mendelssohn, PhD
Healer, Science Intuitive for Zero Point Energy Founder and CEO, Fundraising in the Public Interest
reply: Like I said, I'm 70 years old and am being a little more picky than I used to be about how I spend my time these days. Discussing postcentenarianship with a science intuitive is pretty low on my list of interests. Maybe in another lifetime in another universe.
postscript: The email from Dr. Mendelssohn originated from the account of Terri Mansfield, co-director of Peace Exoconsciousness for Quantrek (a group founded by Edgar Mitchell). On her website, Mansfield describes herself as "the Executive Vice President for European Affairs, Fundraising in the Public Interest, founded by CEO Dr. Suzanne Mendelssohn. FPI works with billionaire donors to support worthy 501c3 nonprofits making radical social change for the planet.The ETIs with whom we work are not from this universe but from a parallel universe, they are 100% obedient to God energy, as pure peace, love, nonviolence and justice."
24 Jul 2002
I see that Ayurveda and Dr Chopra are listed together. [Note: the entries are now separated. For the entry on Ayurvedic medicine, click here.] This is basically wrong! Dr Chopra might have used (or even misused) Ayurveda to popularize and make money using his 'theories and medicnes', but Ayurveda has nothing to do with Dr Chopra or Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Many godmen especially from India are using and quoting the old Indian books to substantiate their claims. Indian books do contain some ancient wisdom as existed in those days. The fact that godmen are misusing them, should be a bad mark on them. Similarly, Ayurveda is an old system of Indian medicine. Dr Chopra has wrongly connected that with Quantum Physics and mysticism etc. Ayurveda should be treated on its own - without any reference to Dr Chopra or Maharishi.
One can add that a lot of modern gurus and TV yogis are using and misusing it. Ayurvedic medicines do work for several diseases. It is because of the power of herbs, nothing holy about it. You can't use it for quick remedy. But long-term effects are proven. The material and herbs used for various diseases are medically correct. For example pepper and clove mixture is indeed good for cough. No magic about it. Ginger water is good for stomach. No magic here. Simple medical value.
There are some modern medicines which have its origin in Ayurveda. One of them is SERPASIL which comes from the root of Rauwolfia Serpentina known as "sarpgandha" in Sanskrit. Used for high blood pressure here we have a medicine originating in Ayurveda and today mass produced by big firms. Of course in recent years so many pseudo gurus have misused Ayurveda to make money. That should not be a blemish on the system at all. I suggest you remove the connection between Ayurveda and Chopra in the next edition. Briefly mentioning is alright, but Ayurveda was not founded nor enriched by Chopra.
PS: I am not a believer or supporter of godmen or miracle healers.
reply: I think my readers understand that Chopra and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are using Ayurveda for their own purposes.