Of all the many things humans rely on plants for, surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate, calm, or completely alter the qualities of our mental experience.
In This Is Your Mind On Plants, Michael Pollan explores three very different drugs – opium, caffeine and mescaline – and throws the fundamental strangeness of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs, while consuming (or in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants, and the equally powerful taboos. In a unique blend of history, science, memoir and reportage, Pollan shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively.
In doing so, he proves that there is much more to say about these plants than simply debating their regulation, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. This ground-breaking and singular book holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds and our entanglement with the natural world.