From number one New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan, a radical challenge to how we think about drugs, and an exploration into the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants—and the equally powerful taboos
Of all the things humans rely on plants for, surely the most curious is our use of them to alter consciousness. Take caffeine: People around the world rely on it to sharpen their minds. But we don’t usually think of caffeine as a drug because its daily use is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from an opium poppy a federal crime?
In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs—opium, caffeine, and mescaline—and throws the fundamental strangeness of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring the cultures around these drugs while consuming (or trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then fence that universal desire with laws and customs?
In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan shows that when we take these plants into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost twenty-five years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.
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