The renowned Indian-American physician and writer Deepak Chopra took part in the fifth Human Forum at the Real Intercontinental hotel in Escazú from March 11-14.
In addition to Chopra, many other leading international figures attended the conference, including Indian Ashok Khosla, president of the Club of Rome; Italian journalist and communications expert Roberto Savio; American concert pianist Lorin Hollander, Spanish judge and academic Baltasar Garzón and British comic actor John Cleese.
In an interview with The Tico Times, Chopra expressed his satisfaction at the event, the first time it is being held outside Puerto Rico since its inception in 2002.
“The Human Forum in San José has been very unique because it has engaged 560 people in articulating their visions.”
Chopra and President Oscar Arias officially opened the forum on the evening of March 11 at the NationalMuseum in San José. The event was slightly marred by a small but vocal protest against the president outside the venue.
At that event, Chopra praised Costa Rica for abolishing its armed forces in 1949.
“If we are bold enough to imagine that Costa Rica can disarm,” Chopra told the crowd, “let us imagine that the whole world can one day be bold enough to disarm.”
He also acknowledged the country’s reputation on issues such as the environment and education.
At the inauguration, Arias echoed Chopra’s call for change.
“Ours is an appropriate era for radical change,” he said.“Costa Rica is an example of how ideas in conferences such as this can become government policy.”
Commenting on the decision to hold the forum in San José, Chopra said, “Costa Rica has made peace with itself. This country is making progress. It is a model.” He also said the decision was intended as an act of “homage” to President Arias.
The Human Forum is jointly hosted by the Alliance for a New Humanity, of which Chopra is president, and the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress.
The event is specifically looking to counter five “myths” that are said to dominate human life: money brings happiness, technology yields well-being, weapons provide security, natural resources are unlimited and somebody else will solve society’s problems.
By countering these beliefs, the alliance hopes to eventually create a “critical mass” of people who will then act as a catalyst for positive change in the world.
Asked whether the cost of the forum ($350 to $625, not including flights and accommodation) undermined its aims, Chopra replied, “One has to pay bills.”
Answering criticism of the organization’s lack of impact at a global level, Chopra acknowledged, “No, we have not seen any results in global politics.” But he noted that “to see a transformation in global politics, we need to reach a critical mass.”
He later clarified that politics “is a reflection of our consciousness, so if the time politicians have psychotic policies, then it is because we are psychotic.”
Asked whether problems such as global warming were so pressing that, by the time “critical mass” were reached, it would be too late, Chopra replied, “It could be, in which case it might be the best thing for the planet; the disappearance of the human species would be a very good thing for the rest of the ecosystem. As far as the universe is concerned, we are not that important.”
The event took the form of thematic workshops and discussions on relevant topics.
The aim was to encourage dialogue between all nationalities and across all disciplines and political affiliations. Those who attended were able to network, exchange ideas and open new channels of communication to further the cause of sustainable global development and the commitment to nonviolence.
Chopra PlansWellnessCenter for C.R.
Deepak Chopra confirmed this week that he plans to open a wellness center here.
The Chopra center, based in Carlsbad, California, is a leading health retreat, combining Western and Oriental medical traditions.
“We are in a due diligence stage,” said physician David Simon, Chopra’s business partner. “It will be within the next six months that we make the final decision.”
Simon said they are considering a site near Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast. “If all goes well I think we are planning to break ground in January 2009.”