A billion people

There are nearly 40 million people in California. They are part of the 330 million that make up the US of A. In all the Americas—North, Central, and South—there are about one billion people.

That’s just to give you some perspective on one billion. It’s a big number and it’s hard to grasp. California’s 40 million represent only four percent of the one billion in the Western Hemisphere. (Greenland is not listed as part of the Americas, but it is in the West, however its population—55,000—is insignificant.)

So I’m alarmed when I see this:

“To be honest, my goal is to reach at least a billion people for personal and social transformation,”

The emphasis is mine. And it disturbs me when people start a sentence with “to be honest.” Does that mean they’ve been dishonest up to that point?

Here’s the rest:

said Chopra, “so we can collectively move in the direction of a more peaceful, just, sustainable, healthier and joyful world.”

Good lord. It’s that guy, Deepak. At least he’s honest:

Deepak Chopra believes in the power of podcasting.

“As you probably know, I’ve written over 85 books. But a lot of people don’t read books, they listen to podcasts. It’s much more convenient for them, they can put it on while they’re driving or on the train,” said Chopra, the renowned doctor and Chopra Foundation founder.

85 books? Really? That’s not enough? God Bless American Capitalism! Chopra has written, by his own admission, 85 books, and has over three million Twitter followers, two million Facebook followers, and one million Instagram followers. I don’t know what “personal and social transformation” is, but it sounds like the usual crap. I’m a child of the 70s and we covered that pretty well back then, I thought. Then we went back to living, which is sufficiently challenging and “transform-ative” all on its own.

You know who else is shooting for a billion? Apple, that’s who. Their installed iPhone user base has just topped 900 million. Since the smartphone can do all of the above: podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; it would seem Deepak and Tim Cook ought to get together. That’s some real business synergy right there.

Apple makes technology. They market it in such a way that you feel privileged to join their iClub. And we hear all this endless blah-blah about how technology “transforms lives.” Deepak goes in the other direction. He starts with “transformation” and markets that. The technology is just the crack pipe, not the crack itself. Books were the first medium, “but a lot of people don’t read books.” And like all good salesmen, Chopra makes you feel special for joining his growing fan base.

An iPhone is not much different than any other smartphone. A MacBook is not much different than any other laptop. People who have those things aren’t any happier or more fulfilled than people who don’t. And one guru sounds a hell of a lot like every other guru.

Imagine if a billion people figure that out!

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