There is medical quackery and there is science quackery. Medical quackery consists of things like touch therapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, etc., which are practices that have no scientific basis. Science quackery consists of “discoveries” made by kooky science buffs whose most advanced scientific knowledge comes from the Discovery Channel. A new theory of relativity undermining Einstein’s, a new theory of gravity that refutes both Newton’s and Einstein’s, an all encompassing theory of the origin of the universe which challenges the big bang theory; these are all examples of scientific quackery. Combine medical quackery with scientific quackery and you get Quantum Healing, a book about mind/body medicine, written by Deepak Chopra. Before analyzing the “theory” behind quantum healing, it is worthwhile to spend a few paragraph on the history of the book.
The hardcover edition of the book came out in 1989 and its paperback edition in 1990. In the Introduction, the author narrates his meetings with “one of the greatest living sages,” who imparted to him some ancient techniques that “would restore the mind’s healing abilities.” In one of the meetings, the sage tells him, “I have been waiting a long time to bring out some special techniques. I believe they will become the medicine of the future. They were known in the distant past but were lost in the confusion of time; now I want you to learn them, and at the same time I want you to explain, clearly and scientifically, how they work.” (BTW, a technique that is in any way related to science comes after the prerequisite scientific knowledge has been gained. One doesn’t start with a technique and then ask for (or order) a scientific explanation. It is like the Pope asking a devout Catholic doctor to find a scientific basis for the Hail Mary!)
From his own words, one gets the unmistakable impression that, were it not for his contacts with this great sage, Chopra would not have come across the “discovery” described in his book. In fact, he feels so much indebted to the sage that he dedicates the book “With a full heart and deepest thanks to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.” Maharishi’s influence on Chopra’s “discovery” is evident throughout the book. … All this takes place up to the 14th printing of the book! In the 15th and subsequent printings, all citations of Maharishi’s name are erased; the meetings with him, which were the starting point of quantum healing, are not mentioned at all; the crucial “primordial sound” techniques, which were “the strongest healing therapies in Ayurveda” and were prescribed for incurable diseases like cancer, are gone; there is no mention of the revelation of “some great secret” that took place after meeting with Maharishi; no mention of how Maharishi taught him “how to pierce the mask of matter.”
In the bibliography of the earlier printings of the book, Chopra writes “I enthusiastically recommend the following eleven books, all of which entered into my own education on these fascinating subjects.” Two of those eleven books are by Maharishi. In the bibliography of the 16th printing, he also recommends eleven books, but he lists only nine! You can guess which two are missing. Chopra must have been in such a hurry to erase all traces of Maharishi’s name that he forgot to count the number of the remaining books in his bibliography! What makes all of this suspicious is that there is absolutely no explanation for any of these changes!
There is an online article by Chopra written on February 13, 2008, just eight days after Maharishi’s death and almost fourteen years after Chopra broke up with him! From the self-praising account given by Chopra after the death of the guru, the main witness to his claims and the only one who could challenge them, one can detect a clear power struggle between the sage and his disciple. One can see the jealousy of the old guru threatened by a shrewd disciple whom the former designated as the ambassador of his teachings. One can also see an opportunistic disciple who uses the fame and congregation of the sage for his personal gain.
The aim here is not to dissect Chopra’s personality, only his ideas, especially when they relate to science. However, since the germ of his ideas, by his own admission, originated in his meetings with Maharishi, who taught him the techniques and remedies described in Quantum Healing, and since he himself does not mention the sudden change in the printing of the book from 14th to 15th, this brief background of his book can shed some light on Chopra’s scholarly personality and literary truthfulness. If he is so grossly careless as to forget to count the number of items in his bibliography after he removes Maharishi’s books, he will most likely be careless about the data and information that he passes along to his readers when talking about medicine and physics.
In various interviews, Chopra has claimed that the scientific ideas expressed in the book – such as his interpretation and application of the quantum theory – are metaphorical. This is a distortion of truth! Maharishi specifically charged Chopra with explaining “clearly and scientifically, how [Ayurvedic techniques] work.” There is no hint of a metaphor in this charge, and the title of the book proves that. Chopra made the claim of a metaphor only after he was cornered by experts pointing to hundreds of misconceptions, misinterpretations, and downright abuse – even mutilation – of the quantum theory in his book.