Deepak Chopra, the phenomenally successful guru of America's New Age spiritual craze, tells Playboy magazine in its March edition that he has fallen out of love with President Obama and now thinks he "should be just a one-term president."
"It's a sad state of affairs. I loved President Obama. I've met with him, I voted for him and I supported him, but I think he's ineffective at the moment," Chopra
tells the racy monthly in excerpts of his feature interview
released on Playboy's website.
"I mean, with all the support and the majority in Congress that he had, he couldn't get the health care bill passed comfortably! It's that way with all the things he said he would do. He can't get rolling, he can't get the support. I think Obama should be just a one-term president."
Some could argue that Chopra's political analysis is not as sharp as his spiritual insights, given the realities that Obama faced with the Republican filibuster in the Senate and the cratering economy, as well as the fact that the legislative victories of his first two years were widely considered as impressive as any administration's.
So should conservatives embrace the Indian-born self-help author
and motivational speaker as one of their own?
Maybe not. Chopra "totally can't take Rush Limbaugh" and thinks Fox News host Sean Hannity "is a bigot and is not smart." He seems to like Bill O'Reilly, but the whole Fox News approach, he says, "caters to the basest instincts of our collective consciousness."
"In Eastern terms I'd say [Fox News] is stuck at the first chakra, which is the fight-or-flight response and everything that goes with it -- you know, fear mongering, influence peddling, cronyism among the extreme right wing."
The problem with America, as Chopra sees it, is that it is "a country at war with the world and at war with itself."
Apparently referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chopra says troop deployments "resulted is a lot of men being absent, dysfunctional families and children growing up with insecurities. When you grow up in a society at war with itself, you come of age with uncertainties and fears, and the result is that many people are lost."
As for solutions, Chopra says America needs to get back to manufacturing products -- "America's two biggest exports right now are Hollywood and weapons of mass destruction" -- so that people regain skills for the "jobs that don't require advanced degrees."
Elsewhere in the interview, Chopra talks about doing drugs in the past, and in particular with the late Beatle George Harrison, the problem with all organized religions, in particular the Roman Catholic Church ("It's the hypocrisy I worry about"), and how he doesn't save any of the millions he's earned for himself:
"I've hit the jackpot as far as selling books is concerned. That's where my income comes from. But I put it back into the business, and what's left I put into my foundation...I don't invest and I don't save. I carry maybe $200 and a credit card in my pocket. If you ask me to read a bank statement, I can't. I believe that when I die there won't be anything for anyone. In the meanwhile, until I'm dead, my wife is totally taken care of from my royalties. My children are self-sufficient, so I don't need to give them any money. I keep about $30,000 in my account and the rest goes to keeping the operation running."
Oh, and he offers the secret to happiness:
"The highest form of intelligence you can have is to observe yourself. Let it go at that. You don't need to judge, you don't need to analyze, you don't even need to change. This is the key to life: the ability to reflect, the ability to know yourself, the ability to pause for a second before reacting automatically."
"The worst thing you can do is be a conformist and buy into conformity. It's the worst possible thing. It's better to be outrageous...better to hang out with the sages, the people open to possibilities, even the psychotics. You never know where you'll find the geniuses of our society."