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How do we deal with personal and societal trauma and pain in this moment of war, political polarization, increasing violence, domestic terror, and despair? Experts say we must look at the root causes of our pain, and yet the US is in the grip of a battle over exactly that — with efforts to ban books, censor news, cancel truth-tellers and hide history. How do we come together and overcome what the US surgeon general says is loneliness on an “epidemic” scale, when our society and culture work to separate us and tell us to heal alone? Today’s guests have experienced personal trauma and turned it into fuel for making social change. V, formerly known as Eve Ensler, is the co-founder of One Billion Rising and V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. Her latest book, “Reckoning”, is out in paperback this month. Dr. Gabor Maté, a Holocaust survivor, is a retired physician and author of several groundbreaking books on healing personal and collective pain. His latest, written with his son Daniel Maté is “The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture”. What are the things making people feel desperate, broken and afraid? And what can we do to help one another look at what feels unbearable with a view to changing it? All that, plus V lays out the plans for V-Day on February 14, where this year’s theme is Rise for Freedom, and a commentary from Laura on the power of feelings and the teachings of the late great queer author/activist Amber Hollibaugh.

“If you don’t want to look at the history of what happened to the Indigenous people in this country, it is where you must look. If you are afraid to look at what happened to African Americans in the 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow, and that is where you must look.” – V (formerly Eve Ensler)

“. . . Loneliness is not an accident . . . It’s an outcome of economic and political decisions made at the top over the last several decades. The loneliness epidemic is not simply an individual, or even communal human problem. It’s a manifestation of what I call a toxic culture.” – Dr. Gabor Maté


  • Gabor Maté: Physician (retired), Public Speaker & Bestselling Author, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture
  • V (formerly Eve Ensler): Playwright, Activist, Author, Founder V-Day & One Billion Rising

Portions of this interview are featured in our episode, “Looking at the Unbearable with Dr. Gabor Maté & V (formerly Eve Ensler)“.

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