Neurons to Nirvana: Gabor Maté Interview

A wide-ranging collection of excerpts from an interview with Gabor Maté, covering addiction, ayahuasca, past experience, transitional states, Western medicine and the mind/body division, and much more besides. As always, he is very watchable and he talks sense. Well worth half an hour of anyone’s time.

Here’s an excerpt on Western medicine, which begins around 22 and a half minutes in, under the heading ‘Body and Spirit’. By deduction, the interviewer has asked him something along the lines of whether he would agree his approach to human experience is ‘revolutionary’ for an M.D.:-

‘It’s only revolutionary in the Western sense, because the Western experience in many ways represented a kind of revolution against traditional human truth. Now that opened up all kinds of new possibilities. I’m not dismissing the Western contribution. On the contrary, it’s been a necessary part of the human experience, and obviously made enormous contributions to knowledge in every way possible. But it did involve this kind of revolution against the spirit.

So it’s only revolutionary in the very narrow context of Western medicine. It’s not revolutionary at all in the context of human experience. And what Western medicine needs to do, if it is going to be truly effective, is to drop its arrogance…. my comment on my profession is that the problem with the medical profession is not that they think they know everything, it’s just that they think that what they don’t know is not worth knowing. So if they could realise that, we could hold on to the value of the Western genius, but at the same time open to the other genius present in traditional spirituality. We’d have something really powerful, and infinitely more effective than what we have right now.’

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

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