Deepak Chopra MD is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, author, public speaker, and prominent figure in the New Age movement. He has become one of the best-known and wealthiest figures in alternative medicine.
I've enjoyed many of his past works, but truly enjoyed "You Are the Universe" while catching up on my tan in the Caribbean. On a sunny afternoon I got the chance to interview the spiritual guru, and ask him some burning questions.
What are your thoughts on what some are calling the "Muslim Ban?"
I think it's an expression of fear and there's a lot of fear mongering going on by people in power. It's disgraceful because it's going against our principles, America was built because of a population of people from all over the world. I think like everything it will pass, however it has brought out a lot of goodness out of people who are objecting to it.
Do you believe in global warming?
I think evidence is clear for climate change and global warming. We know that ice caps are melting, the oceans are rising, and the temperature is chaotic so we are almost in denial of it.
It could lead to the sinking of many islands and locations including Miami and parts of New York. This will result in climate refugees, violence, new epidemics, diseases and the risk of extinction of the human species and other species.
We need a critical mass of people to favor the use of alternative energies. I think masses of people with the right intention and creativity can solve any problem in the world.
What will be challenging for humanity to achieve in the next decade?
Our biggest challenge is creating a more peaceful, sustainable, and joyful world. Economic and social adjustments and our own well being are all inseparably connected. Sometimes you need a breakdown to have a breakthrough.
To what do you attribute your fame?
I've been pushed all these years, and I have been persistent in the face of the extreme criticism and even condemnation. I just keep going on.
You have written over 85 books, which is your favorite?
My favorite is always the latest work, as it reflects what I'm thinking at that moment. So my new book "You Are the Universe" is now my favorite.
What do you believe came before the Big Bang?
It's a very good question. Scientifically it's not possible to know what came before the Big Bang. There are theories that exist only in mathematical imagination but there is no way to validate them or to falsify them.
The most popular theory right now is something called eternal inflation. You can only describe it by metaphor.
So, imagine a cosmic Las Vegas which has an infinite number of slot machines and for all of eternity they are throwing up coins randomly. Every time the coin comes back heads up it doubles in size, and when the coin comes back tails up it halves in size. Imagine a scenario where you have an infinite number of tails and the coin keeps getting halved every time, it reaches what is called "blank scale" the smallest thing you can imagine.
That's called a quantum fluctuation. It's like a spark plug which releases through a little tiny hole in the cosmos, then it spreads off into a universe. Because this is an infinite casino, with infinite slot machines, throwing infinite coins' an infinite number of times, according to this theory there are infinite universes.
What is the universe made of?
The universe is made of nothing. So, 96% of the universe is a combination of dark matter and dark energy. 4% of that is atomic of which 99.99% is invisible interstellar dust which we can't see. It's probably mostly hydrogen and helium.
The visible universe is .01% of all there is. That includes 2 trillion galaxies hundreds of billions of stars, and trillions of planets. Even though there are more stars than there are grains of sand on earth, they only make up 10% of the total mass in the observable universe
In other words, when we get down to it the entire universe is made of nothing.
How do we know that the universe exists?
Well we experience it; we experience it as our perceptions. We know that it exists because we can see it right? But how do we know that? It is because we are conscious beings.
What is consciousness?
Well consciousness is that which makes this experience possible. It's that in which this experience is known, so where is consciousness? Nobody can find it because it too is made out of nothing. So, it must be then that the universe is made out of consciousness.
That's the gist of my book "You Are the Universe." Its alongside my co-author Menas Kafatos, a physicist and cosmologist, he maintains the same world view that I do, that the universe is an experience in consciousness and without consciousness there would be no universe.
Who are you?
I am the universe.