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331 Michael Pollan: How to change your Mind

“How to Change Your Mind” explores the history, science, and therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances in transforming human consciousness.



In "How to Change Your Mind," Michael Pollan delves into the realm of psychedelic substances, their historical context, and their potential for therapeutic use. Through personal experiences, scientific research, and interviews with experts, Pollan explores the profound effects of psychedelics on consciousness, mental health, and personal growth. The book examines the therapeutic applications of substances like LSD, psilocybin, and DMT, shedding light on their potential to address conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. Pollan also delves into the cultural and societal implications of psychedelics and the revival of scientific interest in their therapeutic potential.


Title: "How to Change Your Mind"

Author: Michael Pollan

Publishing Year: 2018

Publisher: Penguin Press

Length in Hours: 13 hours and 35 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The historical and cultural context of psychedelic substances, their initial rise in popularity, subsequent prohibition, and recent resurgence in scientific research.
  2. The scientific exploration of psychedelics, including studies on their effects on the brain, the therapeutic potential for mental health disorders, and their role in enhancing creativity and personal growth.
  3. The transformative experiences and profound shifts in consciousness that individuals often encounter during psychedelic trips.
  4. The therapeutic applications of psychedelics, particularly in addressing conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.
  5. The potential impact of psychedelics on society, including the ethical considerations, legal frameworks, and challenges in integrating these substances into mainstream medicine.

5 funny quotes

  1. "If LSD is a kind of a rocket ship, a journey into inner space, then [a sensory deprivation tank] was a submarine."
  2. "I have been to the moon and back and I don't remember much."
  3. "These substances turned out to be less a door to the divine than a backstage pass to the natural."
  4. "This was a microgram army that changed the world."
  5. "They were in the kingdom of the everyday sublime, but to them, it seemed utterly commonplace."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "LSD might be described as catalytic: it might explode the psychic structures and free up the mental process for change, for creative exploration, for being able to make connections between things that you couldn't make before."
  2. "If the mind is a horse, psychedelics are like a jockey."
  3. "The sensation of ego-dissolution, which people sometimes report, is really a kind of temporary fusion of the self with the world outside."
  4. "Psychedelic experiences are notoriously hard to convey in words."
  5. "The essential characteristic of a psychedelic experience is the enduring sense that, for better or worse, one has come face-to-face with some elemental aspect of reality, something ordinarily hidden."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics with the risks associated with their use, such as psychological vulnerability and the potential for adverse reactions.
  2. Navigating the tension between the subjective nature of psychedelic experiences and the objective measurement of their effects for scientific research and medical applications.
  3. Addressing the cultural and societal stigma surrounding psychedelics and their historical association with counterculture movements, and considering their integration into mainstream medicine and society.
  4. Wrestling with the ethical implications of using psychedelics in research and therapy, including issues of informed consent, participant safety, and the responsibility of healthcare professionals.
  5. Exploring the challenges of regulatory frameworks and legal barriers that hinder research and access to psychedelics for therapeutic purposes, and the need for policy reform to facilitate their responsible use.

5 examples

  1. Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, is discussed in relation to the history and initial synthesis of the substance.
  2. Timothy Leary, a prominent advocate of LSD during the 1960s, is mentioned in the context of his role in popularizing psychedelics and their subsequent backlash.
  3. Aldous Huxley, the author of "Brave New World," is referenced for his experiments with mescaline and his influential essay "The Doors of Perception."
  4. Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), a Harvard psychologist turned spiritual teacher, is discussed for his exploration of psyched

Referenced books

  1. "The Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley
  2. "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James
  3. "DMT: The Spirit Molecule" by Rick Strassman
  4. "LSD: My Problem Child" by Albert Hofmann
  5. "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys" by James Fadiman

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"If the mind is a horse, psychedelics are like a jockey."

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