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Culture

Chopra and Kafatos on their New Book: You are the Universe

LOS ANGELES, CA – At a recent discussion at Chapman University in Orange,CA about their new book,You are the Universe, New York Times bestselling author Deepak Chopra, MD and Chapman University physicist Dr.Menas Kafatos spoke about the unique alliance between a medical doctor and an astrophysicist who are challenging to overturn traditional scientific models or reality.

Although they have written many articles and book chapters together as well as edited other books, this is the first time they have co-authored a book. They both have distinguished careers in different fields that make this partnership an intriguing and also a complementary one.

Dr. Kafatos is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics at Chapman. He is a quantum physicist, cosmologist, natural hazards and climate change researcher who also directs the Center of Excellence of Earth Systems Modeling and Observations at the university.

Dr. Chopra is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and a clinical Professor in Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. As a licensed physician, he became chief of staff at the New England Memorial Hospital(NEMH) in 1980. His meeting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1985 changed the direction of his thinking and became involved with the Transcendental Meditation Movement. Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of a silent mantra (sound) and is practiced for 15-20 minutes daily. The practice drew millions of followerswhen it became known that the Beatles and the Beach Boys had embraced it.

Shortly after that, Chopra resigned his position at NEMH to establish the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center that espoused the philosophy of alternative medicine, which emphasizes the role of consciousness and gives importance to positive emotions. He gained a huge following in 1993 after his interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show and today Chopra is considered one of the most influential thinkers in integrative medicine and personal transformation.

Kafatos, on the other hand, is a researcher who works extensively on the quantum physics, the nature of the mind, cosmic awareness and topics that bridge science to metaphysics and philosophy.

You are the Universe was released in February and quickly rose to the top of the Times’ bestseller list. In her review, Dr. Constance Scharff describes the book as a “powerful, compelling discussion of an emerging perspective in science that changes the world from a cold, fixed reality to a human universe.” But she also notes that the reception of the book spans the spectrum of emotions. Either the reader “accepts the ideas put forth or shouts obscenities at the authors before hurling the book at the wall.” When asked about the extreme responses the book receives, Chopra told TNH that “every time you are challenging perceptions of traditional thinking you should expect negative reactions. I have been dealing with it all my professional life.” Reaction to Chopra’s 1989 book Quantum Healing caused an uproar to the scientific community as well. The concept of quantum healing that states that human aging is fluid and changeable and it can be determined by one’s state of mind and change in consciousness, was heavily criticized by medical and scientific professionals as unsubstantiated theories.

Elaborating on the book’s philosophy, Kafatos told TNH, “I believe that in the future science will have to address the issue of experience and what the experience tell us about the nature of Reality. This is what we call Qualia Science.”

The human ability to name or describe an experience is the definition of a Human Construct. In the lecture, Chopra posed the question: is there a universe or is it just an experience? “Civilization would definitely not exist without the ability to name an experience,” Chopra said.  Language is the fundamental tool that allows us to translate ideas,” Kafatos added.

A prolific writer, Kafatos’ next book presentation will be in Athens, Greece. Among the lectures and book signings for his other book in Greek Βιώνοντας τη Ζωντανή Παρουσία, the main lecture will be at the Acropolis Museum on June 9 at 7:30 PM. His book, Living the Living Presence, “gives practical steps to experience unity awareness in everyday life,” he said.

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