Friday, December 3, 2010

Today's Care2 newsletter held a brief article by Deepak Chopra on the mind/body issue. My reaction is below. Here is his article:

The mind has remained a metaphysical riddle for centuries because it inhabits the physical world like a ghost. But that’s a Western perspective based on our bias for solid, tangible things. We insist that the brain must be the source of mind because the brain is a visible object, which is like saying that a radio must be the source of music because it is a visible object from which music emerges.

The Vedic rishis adopted the opposite perspective, insisting that visible objects couldn’t be the source of mind since the physical plane is the least conscious of worlds.

Our Western prejudice against the invisible isn’t easy to overcome. Mind will only be proved to exist outside the brain if it leaves some kind of footprint, a visible sign that is as convincing as the MRIs that provide concrete evidence of neural activity.

Right now you are a bundle of information in mind and body. You have unique memories; your cells have undergone chemical changes shared by no one else in the world. When you die, none of this information will vanish, because it can’t. There is nowhere for plus and minus, positive and negative to go since the field contains nothing but information. Therefore their only alternative is to recombine.

There is growing evidence that in fact we do share the same mind field. The brain belongs to “me,” but if ideas belong to “us,” then we are participating together in a field, sometimes quite mysteriously.

Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).

Read more:"
End Quote.

Sloppy thinking, poor reasoning, unproved assumptions and ridiculous conclusions like these really get up my nose - especially when people get paid for it.

Some points:
"The mind .. because it inhabits physical world like a ghost" - This is called "begging the question" for it is the mind's existence that is at issue. Here Chopra casually assumes the thing which is to be proved.

Western prejudice against the invisible is not prejudice at all. It is healthy skepticism of things for which there is little or no evidence.

"When you die none of this information will vanish.."
Really? What happens to the words on the Scrabble board when the game is over and the tiles are tipped back into the bag?

"Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.."

"There is growing evidence.." - really? Citations please.

What is mysterious is how long charlatans have gotten away with garbage like this.

No comments: