Michael Pollan’s foray into psychedelics. The book is stellar; I both think & hope it’ll spark a cultural revolution where the FDA reschedules psychedelics, leading to an overhaul of the mental health industry and the personal-exploration-of-consciousness industry.
Pollan approaches the subject from a completely novice perspective, but fully immerses himself in the trip. If you’re at all interested in psychedelics, the medical study of consciousness, the personal study of consciousness, or mental health, strongly consider reading this.
“What I am struggling to describe here is what I think of as my default mode of consciousness. It works well enough, certainly gets the job done, but what if it isn’t the only, or necessarily the best, way to go through life? The premise of psychedelic research is that this special group of molecules can give us access to other modes of consciousness that might offer us specific benefits, whether therapeutic, spiritual, or creative. Psychedelics are certainly not the only door to these other forms of consciousness – and I explore some non-pharmacological alternatives in these pages – but they do seem to be one of the easier knobs to take hold of and turn.”
I wrote an essay drawing from this book, specifically from Pollan’s psychedelic experience with the smoked venom of a Sonoran Desert Toad. I published it with The Side View, you can read it here.