"All Of Science Is A Metaphor": Deepak Chopra's Curious Interview With IFLScience

Deepak Chopra, pictured in 2012. Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Robin Andrews 24 Feb 2017, 21:20

Liberally peppered throughout the book, and Chopra’s writings in general, are metaphors, things that scientists tend to avoid in their work so as not to oversimplify or obscure the underlying empirical evidence.

We know dark matter exists because of the way detectable matter behaves around it. Slightly cheekily, we used a metaphor of an incomplete jigsaw to illustrate the point to Chopra that we know what fits in a missing section because of the shape of the pieces around it. Each piece added gets us a little closer to the truth.

Chopra agreed that scientists are working very hard to solve the mysteries of physics, but says they’re missing the overarching question, which also happens to be a recurring theme of his book. “The question is who or what is it that is working on it, right?”

Well, that’s certainly a question – but it won’t help solve the riddle of dark matter any more than it would have helped Galileo understand that humans are not at the center of the universe after all.

The mythical monster metaphor may sound good on paper, but it’s an example of why it’s not good to do what Chopra’s book does in spades – to mix in purple prose with technical nomenclature when arguing something purporting to be scientific.

You Are The Universe introduction. The Chopra Well via YouTube

In a particularly peculiar example from several years back, Chopra said that the AIDS virus emits "a sound that lures DNA to its destruction.” This doesn’t sound very scientific, especially as HIV is the virus that causes AIDS – so we asked Chopra if this was indeed a metaphor or if he meant it literally.

“Now we have experiments with intracranial ultrasound that actually validates that,” he replied.

Most medical experts would say that HIV binds to receptors on the surface of cells in order to infect them, with no siren’s call required.

“What I said back then was basically the idea of vibrations as it relates to physical matter – as a metaphor, yes,” he clarified, before adding, confidently: “But all of science is a metaphor.”

Prompted to expand on that grand statement, Chopra claimed that “science is a metaphoric explanation for interpreting experience.” When we give names to things, like the Higgs boson, we are engaging in metaphors, apparently, because the famous particle does not – as it turns out – technically refer to itself as the Higgs boson.

“What we call the scientific method is a human construct in human consciousness,” Chopra said, bookending that thought.

It’s A Trap

This use of language is very distinct to Chopra.

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