My good friends, Linda and Bob Sanet, turned me on to The Sun. Not the celestial body in the daytime sky, but the ad-free magazine sustained by readers’ contributions. Is there anything new illuminated by The Sun? If so, it would be a challenge to the biblical view of Ecclesiastes/Kohelet who proclaimed (1:9): What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
The August issue of The Sun contains a fascinating interview with Dr. Gabor Mate. I first encountered Dr. Mate (with the accent aigu, pronounced Ma-tay) in a YouTube video in which he gives a stunning introduction to a lecture by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young. Not everyone is enamored with Dr. Mate’s theories, particularly related to Autism.
From the opening of The Sun interview:
Physician Gabor Mate was born in Nazi-occupied Hungary in 1944 to Jewish parents who were primarily concerned with simple survival. His father was interned in a forced-labor battalion, his aunt disappeared, and his maternal grandparents died in Auschwitz.
His early experiences likely influenced Dr. Mate’s theories, and after 27 years in practice as a family physician in East Vancouver, B.C., he retired to hit the lecture and interview circuit. He espouses deeply held beliefs that stress and environmental interaction combine to influence health and disease, essentially an epigenetic approach. In short, Dr. Mate sees many traits as residing on a continuum between productive and counterproductive. As one example, he differentiates between anger and rage.
“To say that we shouldn’t have anger is like saying that we shouldn’t have rain: we may not like getting wet, but without it there’s no irrigation. Healthy anger is a necessary response to a boundary invasion. It’s our way of saying: ‘You’re in my space. Get out.’ You see this behavior in animals, too. It’s not a question of should or shouldn’t; it’s a part of our makeup. The role of emotion is to keep out that which is dangerous or unhealthy and allow in that which is helpful and healing. So we have anger and revulsion, and we have love and attraction. Now, rage is always unhealthy. Rage is anger that is disproportionate to the situation. It usually arises from past experiences, not present boundary issues, and it keeps going on and on. It’s not discharged once you’ve protected your boundaries. It’s the results of frustration that’s built up for many years, like a pressure cooker that explodes. Anger that is repressed can also turn inward. People who repress their anger can actually suppress their immune system, making it turn against itself. When that happens, you’re going to get autoimmune disease. Anger and the immune system have the same purpose: to protect boundaries.”
Who knows? There may be something new under The Sun after all.