“I have come to believe that behind the entire epidemic of chronic afflictions, mental and physical, that beset our current moment, something is amiss in our culture itself, generating both the rash of ailments we are suffering and crucially, the ideological blind spots that keep us ignorant of the connections that bind our health to our social-emotional lives. Chronic illness is not a glitch, it is a consequence of how we live.” Gabor Maté, MD
We are exploring some of the ideas presented in Gabor’s most comprehensive book yet about the world we live in. This is part of what we will inquire into.
Toxic culture: the entire context of social structures, belief systems, assumptions, and values that surround us and necessarily pervade every aspect of our lives. Our culture is now unsuitable for us, and dangerous to our existence.
Our concept of well being must move from the individual to the global. By its very nature, our social and economic culture generates chronic stressors that undermine well-being with increasing force over the past several decades. Mental health disorders have become the largest health challenge of the 21st century. Young people are experiencing hopelessness and a sense of betrayal and abandonment by governments and adults.
“What passes for normal is neither healthy nor natural. My core intention is to offer a new way of seeing and talking about these phenomena, so we might more swiftly find their much-needed remedies.”
Our skewed idea of normality is the biggest impediment to fostering a healthier world and keeping us from acting on what we already know.
Illness is an expected consequence of abnormal, unnatural circumstances. Our ailing bodies and minds are not expressions of individual pathology, but as living alarms of where society has gone askew.
Our health systems actively ignore what science has already established. We cannot be separated into separate organs and systems, or into minds and bodies. We are an integrated mindbody whole.
My aim here is to offer a fresh perspective that brings a new vision of normal that nurtures the best in who we are. Once we resolve to see clearly how things are, the process of healing, returning to wholeness, can begin.”
Health and illness are an expression of an entire life lived that cannot be understood in isolation – it arises from a web of circumstances, relationships, events and experiences.
What are some of the elements in the web of your personal life?
What events and experiences contributed to where you find yourself now?
Are the circumstances of your personal life normal and common? What are the systems that have the greatest impact on your life and health?
We are looking at this through a system perspective, of the water we swim in, of what is so entrenched that is hard to clearly see it let alone believe we can change it. On Sunday, we’ll look at health and illness through the lens of financial systems.
Is our current financial system fair? Can you imagine another system?
The richest 1% gained $6.5 trillion in wealth in 2021. In the 1950’s, many US households could manage financially on one income but that is less possible now.
In your personal life, what is the impact of global financial trends concentrating $ in the 1%. In what ways has your life been harder or easier?
How does your financial position affect your self esteem and sense of worthiness?
How do your finances affect your physical and mental health? How does your income and assets affect the care you receive?
“I look forward to connecting with my chosen family every week in Lynn’s Sunday community class. We reflect and share with people we can trust to listen. It feels safe to share who I am.” Sunday class participant