Richard Gere
Photo by Terry O'Neill

Richard Gere: “We are all in this together”

Short Profile

Name: Richard Tiffany Gere
DOB: 31 August 1949
Place of birth:
Occupation: Actor

Mr. Gere, is talking about politics more important today than talking about movies?

That’s the world we are in now. We are in a very chaotic world. When the President of the US is no longer a stable, trusted person, it throws the whole world in chaos. Germany is now a focus of the world in terms of stability. Germany is looked to as the wise, stable, forward-thinking moral country on the planet. This is the first time since World War II. Europe obviously is under the sway of extreme right forces now, the same way the US are. Germany is not — they are challenged, sure, but they seem to be on the moral, correct, visionary side of issues like the refugee crisis, although it’s controversial. Having a stable, soft-spoken, careful leader, who is taking us through the minefield of this problem is incredible. There is a lot of weight and responsibility on Chancellor Merkel right now.

You met with her last year to discuss the human rights situation in Tibet, right?

I can say this: she is a very interested and good listener, very bright, clear-headed and clear-eyed person, who I admired from afar when I met her. And I admire her even more now that I met her. She is a really high quality person. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a complete befuddlement to all of us — even to his own party. Even his own party doesn’t know what to do with him. We are all befuddled in the situation. He is a national embarrassment. I think Trump will be over in two years time.

“I think that there are more important things than to have an artist leader coming forward right now.”

Why in two years?

We have mid-term elections in two years and if everyone stays connected to the process and we elect at least moderate people to Senate and the House of Representatives, he will lose all of his power. That said, I do think that there are more important things than to have an artist leader coming forward right now.

What do you mean?

Well, there are demonstrations against his selfish, narcissistic dark vision — especially with women. The women’s movement is expressing themselves so spontaneously in such numbers and with such joy and love.

And it’s a non-violent movement.

Right, it’s a very optimistic, visionary counter to his darkness. The Greeks thought that women were the future of the world. In Lysistrata, everyone was fighting and women said: “No more sex until they stop fighting!” (Laughs) In my world, women run it. If we want peace, women should feel good and be happy. If that’s the approach, it will change this planet. Female energy is really important. The Dalai Lama said he wished there were more female leaders in the world because there would be more a sense of listening and hearing the story of the other. He also said that the 20th Century is a very bloody century. But his feeling overall is that we’re evolving. We may be in a devolving moment, but it’s a corrective to get people involved again.

Disinterest is arguably what got Trump elected.

Exactly. Most people went, “Hmmm… Doesn’t matter.” So, there is an evolution that history is leading us towards. In terms of learning from history, I am most interested in the Chinese Communist party. History obviously says that that cannot last. But they are making no steps towards changing the Communist party in a way that it can still keep control, but be completely destroyed in a revolution. Everything they are doing is moving towards a confrontation with the people. I don’t understand how they can be so foolish and shortsighted.

How would you recommend expanding one’s sight?

There is actually a meditative process where one imagines, for example, death over and over again. And in imagining that, there is a practical psychological sense of loosening things up. The sense of ourselves as being hard and stuck with boundaries, it’s anti-human, it’s anti-life. So anything that will break that up, the hardness and make it more like water or more like light is going to give us more and more energy. And there are psychological, emotional, and spiritual techniques to break through that. One finds the ones that are most useful in your specific case, but these are all really important things for human beings.

What has proven to be helpful in your own search enlightenment?

Well, there is a little pamphlet that was put out years ago called Generating Bodhicitta, which is the Sanskrit word for, “the mind of enlightenment.” It means to set your mind towards two things: the complete development of compassion and empathy, and the complete development of wisdom to understand what reality is, what the mind is, what consciousness is, what being is. Education to me is really about that; about knowing the mind, knowing our hearts, knowing the physics of politics, about how we are deeply, quantitatively connected. I do believe that the reality of our lives is continually telling us how inter-connected we are. We cannot avoid that.

“I see ourselves moving toward reality, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically. We are all moving towards light.”

By interconnected, do you mean spiritually?

Yes, but also how quickly we can be moved, how quickly diseases go from one country to another. That is a reality of interconnection we cannot ignore. So if we internalize that, not just as an external fact, we can make an extraordinary growth as a race, which is the only way we can survive on the same planet. We have to realize that we are here inter-connected and our mission is to help each other. And I see this as an American. We have been a huge exploiter of the rest of the world. We can become benevolent and become a team player.

Do you really see that happening?

I do think it’s going to happen — but the rest of the world has to move the same way. We are all in this together. And I see the world is moving in that way. I see that someone like the Dalai Lama is revered everywhere in the world, except by the Communist party in Beijing. And that people go: Wow, they are telling the truth, this is the reality of how we can function in the village of this little planet. I see ourselves moving toward reality, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically. We are all moving towards light.