New-Age rage: Deepak Chopra finds a lot wrong in the world

The Miami Herald, Mar. 26, 2003
http://www.miami.com/
BY LYDIA MARTIN, The Miami Herald

Deepak Chopra, the guy who cornered the market on that whole mind-body-spirit thing, is sipping mineral water poolside at the Shore Club and seething about the evil-doers.

“If we talk about weapons of mass destruction, we have to talk about the fact that 90 percent of those weapons are sold by, manufactured by and traded by the five permanent members of the Security Council. An alcoholic parent doesn’t have a right to tell his children they can’t have a sip of beer.”

In Deepak’s mind, warmongering is warmongering. And that means George and Saddam, as far as he’s concerned, are cut from the same universal cloth.

”If you take a Bush speech or a Saddam Hussein speech and you read it word for word without knowing whose speech it is, I challenge you to be able to know the difference,” Deepak says on a sunny South Beach afternoon, not too long before war finally erupted.

“Each side talks about the evil-doers, each side talks about God being on their side, each side says they’re right. Each side says they are the good guys and the other side is the bad guys. But good and evil are just perspectives.”

Deepak, a father of the New Age, a guy you expect would have more of a Ghandi-ish vibe, is more like Michael Moore today.

You’re told he’s more than a tad ticked off that you showed up 15 minutes late.

But much worse than that, he’s way over all the clowns running the world. And that’s making him seem a little dour and preachy. But, hey, nobody said hanging with Deepak had to be a party.

“If you are going to solve any of the issues of the world, you have to get beyond the us and them mentality. From the space shuttle, planet Earth is nothing but a speck of dust. We are one people, one humanity, one life.”

Though, the way Deepak’s speaking, it sounds like maybe that whole humanity thing could be overrated.

DEAD PLANET

“If you talk to biological scientists, they tell you that if ants and insects disappeared from the face of the Earth today, this would be a dead planet in five years. But if human beings disappeared from the face of the Earth today, in five years, this would be the Garden of Eden. Everything would repair itself. So maybe from Mother Nature’s point of view, we are an interesting experiment, but maybe we are not so useful to the planet. Mother Nature might be saying to herself, this didn’t work out, maybe human beings were not such a good idea.”

So, why can’t everybody just be cool?

“Because we are in our infancy in terms of our emotional, psychological and spiritual development. The planet is about 3 billion years old, and human beings have had self-consciousness for less than 10,000 years. We haven’t even reached puberty. That’s why we are power-hungry, selfish, fearful.”

But can we survive our adolescence, or collectively, will we perish like a crazy teenager with a death wish? Will we get to the next signpost on the road to evolution, or will we drive our daddy’s car into a universal ditch?

“Maybe we’ll survive. Maybe not. If you look at it from a planetary point of view, we are metastatic ants ourselves, going around the planet devouring and plundering resources and basically raping our mother, which is the Earth.

‘We are at a crossroads. We might easily be on a path to self-destruction. On the other hand, maybe the turbulence will say to us, ‘Hey, wake up.’”

WHAT CAN WE DO?

But what can the average soul do when there are so many Hitlers in history?

“Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Mr. George Bush, Mahatma Gandhi, Milosevic, Martin Luther King. They are all symbolic expressions of our collective consciousness. Hitler was nothing but an expression of the German psyche at a particular point in history. As is Chavez. As is Castro.

“You should never think the leader is the tyrant. We have to take responsibility for changing the collective psyche. Why is it I read your newspapers and watch CNN and know more about Wynona Ryder’s shoplifting habits than I know about the 40,000 children dying of hunger every day in the world? Why is it children play games where they press a button and can kill hundreds of people?”

His last book, The Deeper Wound (Harmony, 2001, $16), addressed the aftershock of Sept. 11. You wonder what big universal stuff he’ll tackle in his next book. Because there is always a next book for Deepak.

“It’s about the psychological and spiritual components of golf.”

Is he for real?

“It’s unpredictable. It forces you to embrace uncertainty, it forces you to let go. It’s about surrender, it’s about nondoing.”

Isn’t it kind of a waste of time, when there is so much stuff to fix in the world?

“I get up early in the morning and play for two hours. It’s like a meditation for me. The fact people have so much anxiety in the world has to do with the fact that they don’t ever want to waste any time.”

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