Michael Pollan has a special gift for spotting subtle, tectonic shifts in our culture’s central values. Then he writes books that bring our awareness to these movements just as the subsurface geologic plates smash together, producing dizzying earthquakes in our institutions and spectacular volcanoes of ideas. Pollan didn’t create the local food movement, but his books helped bring our attention to it, catapulting the conversation to farmers markets and dinner tables everywhere and helping to make mainstream formerly fringe ideas about food, eating, and health.
In How To Change Your Mind, Pollan has turned his eye to an entirely new field of study. Fifty years after the colossal PR disaster for psychedelics that were the 1960’s, Pollan has documented the quiet efforts of a small but passionate cabal of scientists, activists, doctors, and healers to re-legitimize what had been the deeply buried but extremely promising studies in the 1950’s and early 1960’s looking at the potential of psychedelics (most specifically LSD and Psilocybin) as incredible medicines on a number of health & wellbeing frontiers. What the Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Botany of Desire, and Food Rules did for the way we think about our eating habits How to Change Your Mind is set to do for all fields of study involving end of life care, addiction, depression, and (most radically of all) questions of spirituality and meaning.
“Paradigm shift” is a phrase that has become entirely over-used, but I can think of no better words to describe what Pollan has documented. We may be seeing the beginning of a revolution in several major fields that are every bit as central to who we are as the food we choose to eat. Stop what you are doing, go get a copy of How to Change Your Mind, and strap in for a truly mind expanding read.
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan ($28.00*, Penguin Press), recommended by Underground Books, Carrollton, GA.