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Capitalism Makes us Crazy: Dr Gabor Maté on Illness & Addiction


Photo by flickr (cc) user

Humans have always used drugs, but current level of drug abuse could indicate a bigger problem that we’re driving people into addiction. What’s the connection between the increase in chronic diseases, mental illness and drug addiction in our society today? On this edition, Dr. Gabor Maté talks about the relationship between mind and body health – and what the rise of capitalism has done to destroy both.

Special thanks to KPFA in Berkeley, CA.
May 31, 2013 update from Dr. Gabor Maté via Facebook: “Contrary to what I say here, Afro-American males do not have a six-fold increase in the risk of dying of prostate cancer. What is so, is that they do have double the risk of having the disease as compared with Caucasians and, if they have prostate cancer, they have a worse prognosis for surviving it. I stand by the my point that this increased prevalence and death risk is due to stress, including the stress of racism and a legacy of economic and political marginalization.”


Dr. Gabor Maté, physician and author of several books including, “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction,” “Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers” (co-authored by Gordon Neufeld), and “When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress.”



For more information:

Sanity by Bruce Levine
What’s Needed Next by Richard Frank
by Marc Lewis
Gil Scott-Heron’s Winter in America sampled by YouTube user Mellamayne
Requiem for a Dream Orchestral Version by Clint Mansell

Author: IreneFlorez

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  1. Dr. Mate is wonderful. He is a genius and a desperate needed
    health guru for the World. Thank you doctor. Keep trucking.

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  2. Dr. Matee is a woderfully refreshing source of emotional intellect.
    His assertions about the social destruction a Capitalist lifestyle brings.


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  3. …which brings about complete chaos to Humanity and Earth.

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  4. I have been reading Dr Mate’s books and listening to as many interviews and lectures as I can. Brilliant!

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  5. His message is one western capitalists will not want to hear. Criticism of the system is discouraged and most discussion takes place in the narrow confines of the capitalist paradigm. What the good doc does is steps back and looks at the outcomes of the systems in real experiences and with real examples and gets at root causes of the problems. This should not cause him to be attacked if the purpose of how we structure society and how we address medical questions is to get at the truth of why things are the way they are. But people hold their attachments quite close and often the first reactions is to protect ones beliefs from those that challenge our fixed assumptions. His talk here is refreshing in that it looks at these assumptions from a perspective deconstructs the assumptions our society has built itself upon.

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  6. amazing!! i just wonder why some of the speach was cut out of this youtube video??

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  7. It seems to me that we (all humans) are crazy, some on a relative basis more crazy than others. Capitalism isn’t actually the cause, but rather one particular manifestation of that basic, unavoidable craziness. Ascribing the craziness to be caused by capitalism serves to further a political argument against capitalism, rather than correctly reach the conclusion that capitalism is the cause. From my experience it appears clear that sufficient evidence of craziness is evident in socialist cultures to conclude that craziness is the cause rather than the result.

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  8. this talk was amazing. i had to stop 20 times and type down what he said, because it was so profound. Thanks Making Contact!

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  9. From one of my colleagues at the Community Institute for Psychotherapy (CIP): ” I liked the first clip I listened to of Dr. Gabor regarding addiction & our society. I especially appreciated his description of the people he works with as sweet, warm, & kind, because it spoke to their essence, versus their behavior, with safe &/or unsafe others. I believe that addiction & relational problems emanate from unmet needs & resulting, outdated, life-strategies that worked in the past (childhood), but work against us in the present. What I mean by life-strategies is defensive postures that once kept an individual safer than not, & became automatic, or unconsciously driven. An example would be that one person responds to their early, abusive, or less than nourishing, environment by being big & domineering, while another finds that being small & without needs works better. I see these as early & very wise choices that worked best for the dependent child and represent attempts to sooth, stay safe, & kill the pain. I agree that our society reacts to the behavior, versus societal problem, by teaching us all to fill internal needs with external phenomenon. Thank goodness for people like
    Dr. Gabor, who can see beyond the masked presentation, & relate to the needy & misunderstood addict in us all. I look forward to the second video. “

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