Last week, philosophical pontificator and new age guru Deepak
Chopra attempted to bridge the gap between spirituality and science
by holding a press conference at an Apple Valley, Minnesota
strip-mall parking lot where he waxed poetic on the topic of the
Mars rover, Curiosity. Chopra's vague and obscurant style was
not to be missed, as he awkwardly skirted around hard science like
a belly dancer at a cancer benefit.
Since the Mars rover Curiosity landed on the craggy surface of
the red planet last August, the world has been eager to absorb
every minute detail of its findings-from panoramic views of
ambiguous terrain to the evidence of water on a once-thought barren
wasteland-no stone has been too small to be left unturned.
The "implications of the findings of Curiosity are far reaching,"
began Chopra, opening a hopeful dialog between two worlds in front
of a dough eyed public.
Palpable excitement was built by the smell of Subway wafting
across the hot pavement and Shoe Circus employees building obelisks
out of discounted overstocked women's ASICS boxes. Mr.
Chopra sat cross legged on a yoga mat, almost in trance with eyes
gazing upward, a solemn expression on his face. Incense
burned next to playful shrine depicting Buddha riding a space
shuttle as Enya played on a wireless iPod shuffle dock.
"From the mind of God, we learn that there is beauty everywhere
in the universe," he begat unto a silenced crowd. "For even
here, in this urban sprawl, we see ourselves and our place amongst
the stars. The Curiosity rover is a metaphor for our third
eye, as our bodies lift from consciousness to meet the necessity of
that which is outside ourselves. Mars calls to us, as a
mother calls to her children."
Chopra talked for over eighty minutes, uninterrupted, about
poignant scientific topics ranging the "chakra of the universe," to
the "light of the heavens in relation to quantum serenity," and
even on the idea that the planets themselves are "like marbles on a
billiards table, ready for the primal mind to build a grand,
celestial city with." Attendance dropped by fifty percent
after the first twenty minutes, and the hundreds of science
enthusiasts in the crowd opted to check text messages and play on
their cell-phones, left to get sandwiches, or openly began
discussing weekend plans over Chopra, who seemed to be wrapt in a
self-replicating cyclone of stream-of-consciousness.
During a question and answer period, journalists pressed for
more concrete answers. Many wanted to know if Mr. Chopra was
in favor of space exploration on other planets, what the Hindu god
Vishnu had to do with the existence of ice formed in soil deposits,
or if budget cuts on federal spending could impede further research
on Mars. Mr. Chopra dodged almost every follow up question
with a nod and a smile, repeating the mantra, "The universe is
calling us through science. We must answer her call so that
we may speak to God. One does not easily float in a sea where
there is no salt."
A senior writer for the Washington Times simply wanted to know
from Mr. Chopra, "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Perhaps the mysteries unfolding from the Curiosity will reveal
even more exciting possibilities about life on other planets in the
coming years and the usefulness of space travel to an overpopulated
planet. Perhaps, in his own way, Deepak Chopra talked about
these things somehow, but all we can be sure of is that the endless
possibilities provided by space exploration mean something
different to everyone.
Deepak Chopra concluded his conference by asserting at least one
solid scientific claim, "Please buy my new book. I am living
in that van."