Quantum theory was born in a period when some significant social upheavals were taking place. 1920’s were the years in which the Bolshevik revolution had just succeeded in establishing the Soviet Union as an alternative socioeconomic system which was foreseen by the believers to eventually replace capitalism. They were also the years in which Freud was enjoying the credit of another kind of revolution: a revolution in the “science” of the mind. These two revolutions offered alternatives for the beliefs of the existing society, and many, including some physicists, found it quite natural to offer theirs. These beliefs, plus the physicists’ desire to communicate the excitement of their discoveries to the public, and the mythically enchanting flavor that quantum theory could add to this communication, made the situation ripe for disaster. It is unfortunate that some of the grossest abuses of the quantum theory were initiated by the very people who created it. Max Born concocts an equation of uncertainty principle involving communism and capitalism; Wolfgang Pauli associates a universal soul with the wave function of the Schrödinger equation; and Werner Heisenberg hints at an observer-created reality! Such absurd ideas coming from great physicists create a golden opportunity for mystics, pseudoscientists, and wacky science freaks to dress their equally absurd ideas with scientific attire. The word “quantum” has been so trivialized that now you can find books on quantum angel healing, quantum touch therapy, quantum alternative to growing old, quantum weight loss approach, and dozen other such titles. But the leader of the pack is the book by Deepak Chopra, an expert in mind-body medicine.
Serpent-King Shesha’s quantum physics
Quantum Healing begins with a sentimental report on one of Chopra’s cancer patients, who had been treated with conventional medicine for breast cancer with little results. When she turned to Chopra, he referred her to Ayurveda Health Center located in Lancaster, Massachusetts, where she was put on a treatment that included a certain Ayurvedic herb diet, yoga exercises, and Transcendental Meditation. (N.B. In the earlier printings, Chopra gives the name of the clinic as the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center. However, Maharishi’s name is removed in the later printings!) He also advised her to follow the chemotherapy prescribed by her doctor. After a year of both treatments, she developed a fever, and had to be hospitalized. Surprisingly, a few days after her arrival in the hospital and being on antibiotics, her fever was gone … and so was her cancer! Her conventional doctor thought that chemotherapy was behind her cure. Chopra thought that his Ayurvedic treatment was the real cause of the disappearance of cancer, but he did not want to risk the life of the patient by advising her to quit the chemotherapy. She eventually died, and Chopra concludes that “she was the victim not of her cancer, but of her treatment.” He shows remorse for not giving her full Ayurvedic treatment but instead advising her to continue the chemotherapy.