"Arrogant unilateralism will create further resentment"
Tierramérica Editor's Desk
The current U.S.-Iraq crisis is an
opportunity to look at the real issues of our time, Deepak Chopra
says in this dialogue with Tierramérica. He warns that war
is not compatible with sustainable development and suggests that
the world needs to find more creative solutions to its problems.
Deepak Chopra is among the most famous practitioners
of alternative medicine in the United States, where this niche market
is worth 25 billion dollars. Arriving at his luxurious "spa"
in Carlsbad, in the western state of California are business executives
and movie stars anxious to find spiritual and physical equilibrium.
An endocrinologist by training, with studies
in the United States and India, Chopra is a celebrity. Many of his
followers consider him a spiritual leader and read his many books
with fervor. Translated into 25 languages, his writings sell millions.
"Grow Younger, Live Longer" is his latest title.
Chopra is also a pacifist. He is a founder
of the Global Strategic Alliance for a New Humanity (GSA), which
promotes action against armamentism and war.
In an exclusive dialogue with Tierramérica,
Chopra, from his home in California, criticizes "the arrogant
unilateralism" of the United States and calls for finding creative
solutions for handling violence, economic inequalities, ecological
devastation and unsustainable consumption.
Q: There is a global feeling of uncertainty
and nervousness, in what many see as the antechamber to the US-Iraq
war. What is your state of mind today?
A: The global feeling of uncertainty in the midst of a possible
United States and Iraq war could be a creative opportunity for world
leaders to look at the real issues of our time. Nearly half the
world lives on less than two dollars per day. The globalization
of the world economy is creating a widening gap between the "haves
and have-nots". The five permanent members of the United Nations
Security Council are responsible for the manufacture, sale and trade
of 90 percent of the weapons in the world, including the weapons
of mass destruction. The United States and some other western countries
continue to act unilaterally. The United States has opposed the
comprehensive test ban treaty, and continues to oppose the strengthening
of the biological and toxic weapons convention. It has refused to
allow UN inspection of its own weapons of mass destruction. It has
withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol (on climate change). It has criticized
the land mine treaty. It has refused to sign an international treaty
on the rights of the child. Such arrogant unilateralism will only
create further resentment in a world which looks at 4.5 percent
of the global population (the United States) trying to dominate
the remaining 95.5 percent the world’s people. My state of
mind today is one of sobriety and a desire for a deeper understanding
of the root causes of violence. We need to create a critical mass
of peace consciousness in the world.
Q: Is war compatible with sustainable
A: No, it is not. It is ironic that countries with military power
feel pride and prestige at their might. How can civilized nations
take pride in these disreputable activities whose end product is
death and destruction? As a collective world body, we must come
up with creative solutions to address violence, economic disparities,
ecological devastation, and unsustainable consumption
Q: After the September 11 terrorist
attacks in the United States, you wrote "Forgiveness: 100 Reflections".
What did you refer to in this book that you have not written about
A: Crisis is an opportunity to look at deeper issues. The September
11 terrorist attacks were a symptom of a deeper wound. We have to
look at our interconnectedness and interdependence in all areas
of life. We have to share in not only our successes and our knowledge
but also in our suffering. When there is shared suffering, compassion
is born. Where there is compassion, there is love. Where there is
love, there is an opportunity for healing.
Q: The current line of thought you
share keeps a strong bond with nature, something that western society
seems to have lost. Do you think it is recoverable?
A: I think every human being feels a sense of connection and a strong
bond with nature. It is the womb of creation. This bond can be renewed
by bringing peoples' awareness to the beauty of our planet and by
reminding them that the environment is our extended body. It is
the responsibility of the communications media to not only entertain
but also to educate.
Q: There are some groups that criticize
you for "commercializing spirituality". How would you
respond to them?
A: I do not feel it is necessary for me to be defensive about being
successful. Spirituality in the tradition I come from has four goals:
material success; practicing your dharma, in that you have a contribution
to make to the well being of the world; nurturing relationships;
and seeking enlightenment, that state of consciousness where we
experience our universality and our common bond of love. I have
attempted to accomplish these goals in my life. What people think
of me is their business and not mine.
To learn more about Deepak Chopra, visit www.chopra.com.