I caught today's Democracy Now
show, which collected three previous interviews
with Dr. Gabor Maté
. If you're interested in rethinking contemporary medicine, the hour-long program is worth a listen.
He talks about how mental and emotional health can't be separated from physical health, but since western medicine (which he also knows and practices) has a better understanding of the latter, chemical-based solutions are often applied to solve primarily social problems. For instance, in post-industrial America, many children don't get much parental attention – many companies give just six weeks of maternity leave – meaning kids miss out on important developmental processes. This often manifests later in life in damaging ways, ranging from ADHD to drug addiction to antisocial behavior.
I've been thinking recently about "ecological thinking," which I hope to write more about later, and these interviews were a good example of what I've got in mind. Short maternity leave makes sense from the short-term self-interest of the company, but a culture where the practice is widespread may, over the course of a couple generations, be significantly worse-off because its children missed out on important development.