In this keynote Gabor Maté, physician and author, will discuss the interlocking and mutually reinforcing dynamics of trauma and war. That the latter causes trauma is self-evident; that trauma—individual and collective—can help fuel military conflict is less apparent but also essential to understand. On the most obvious level, people who have worked through their trauma can let go of their attachments to herd thinking and chauvinistic identifications and, as a result, are less likely to be manipulated into warlike sentiments and murderous actions.
On the other hand, traumatized people are more likely to be drawn or impelled into conflictual mind states and disdain for the perceived “enemy” on the individual plane, and this is also true of communities and nations. The healing of trauma, both personally and collectively, is a step towards peace on all levels.