The Wheeler Centre
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High Notes: Michael Pollan on the New Science of Psychedelics
For years, Michael Pollan's books have changed minds.
Pollan’s books, like The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – and Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, the latter now also a successful Netflix series – have strongly influenced contemporary ideas about agriculture, nature, nutrition and ethics. He's sparked debates on genetically modified organisms, and even on the definition of 'food' … and he's done it with charm, imagination and gusto, bringing serious scientific heft and optimism to all his work.
Pollan’s latest investigation is more explicitly concerned than ever with changing minds. This time, he’s turned his attention to psychedelic drugs; their history and their potential. Pollan wants us to look beyond the myriad misconceptions and clichés to understand the groundbreaking new science around hallucinogens. In How To Change Your Mind, he discovers how they can help us learn more about human consciousness – as well as the benefits they may offer in the treatment of many illnesses.
A reviewer for the New York Times wrote that ‘[Pollan] makes losing your mind sound like the sanest thing a person could do’. Listen in as this icon of science journalism joins Christine Kenneally for a conversation about his most personal work yet.
For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs and architecture. He is the author of the bestsellers In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, which was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award for best food writing, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Christine Kenneally is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times, Slate, Time, New Scientist, Scientific American, the Monthly, BuzzFeed and other publications. She writes about identity, culture, and science, and her stories have covered death in 20th century orphanages, brain surgery, emergency communications, and animal thought.