Michael Pollan: This Is Your Mind on Plants



Eine Apart from anything it s most interesting because it s closest to normal people s xperience He takes us through the history of coffee and tea well despite the strange social control allegations then tries life for a few months without caffeine and tries to work out whether the pros of consuming caffeine are worth the cons Genuinely interestingThe final section is the most detached from Bringing the Empire Home everydayxperience we might not make our own opium tea like Pollan but many of us will have grown poppies or have been prescribed morphine or codeine as a painkiller Mescaline derived from a couple of types of American cactus is a psychedelic chemical that is probably only familiar to most people from dramas or documentaries where someone xperiences a religious ceremony involving it Here another aspect of American culture comes out the self flagellation over past wrongs as Pollan worries about cultural appropriation or referring to something as a chemical which it without doubt what it is because it might offend someone who considers it spiritual it s wokeness with a dollop of hippy leftovers thrown in Just one xample of that US viewpoint Pollan describes visiting a Columbian coffee farm He mentions seeing the volcano Cerro Tusa and tells us You ve seen it a thousand times on packages of beans and in all those commercials for Columbian coffee the classic ones featuring Juan Valdez He then goes on to tells us how this fictional character was devised by an advertising agency in 1958 But guess what If you aren t American you haven t seen all this it means nothing to you It s the same kind of viewpoint than leads the US to call a sports competition for a game Building the Cold War essentially only played in America a World Series There is no doubt that Pollan can writeven though he becomes distinctly repetitive in the first section perhaps a side Canadian Art, Volume 1 (A-F) effect of the opium consumption and when describing his fears of being raided for growing poppies or his relationship with caffeine he is genuinelyngaging But this is a book that irritates than it inspires 45Pollan s Counter-Amores exploration of drugs in his last two books has been such a fascinating journey Worth a read In his latest book on the plant people relationship author journalist and avid amateur gardener Michael Pollan turns hisye to the opium poppy caffeine derived from Coffea arabica and mescaline from the peyote cactusAs Pollan puts it Dancing at Armageddon each of these drugs areither an upper downer or outer His Double Jeopardy exploration takes in their political and socio cultural history highlighting the arbitrary nature of their public reputation Asver Pollan can t resist getting up close and personal with the plantsThe author has an Composition and Literature engagingly anecdotal writing styleThe audiobook narrated by Pollan made me feel I was sharing a coffee with the authorWell produced and highlyntertainingMy thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Audio for the ARC Michael Pollan s book brings together the history of the three substances opium caffeine and mescaline and some of the science behind their influence on the human brain as well as his personal Cezanne and Provence experiences with these substances The book was well researched and included many interesting facts I didn t know much about mescaline so that was an interesting section for me I already had prior knowledge of caffeine sffect on the brain and body and having read an ARC of Why we sleep the Dark Voices effect on sleep Much of the discussion of legality and thevolution of people s attitudes and the legal standpoint was specific to the United States The book also contains lengthy sections on Pollan s own Contested Reproduction experience with the substances which could have been summarised and made the book shorter Forxample a long section focused on how Pollan tried to obtain poppy seeds without attracting the authorities attention how he planted and grew the poppies and then made tea from them I have always been interested in plants and spent weekends of my childhood in botanical gardens and Divided by Color (American Politics and Political Economy Series) everyone in my family loves to garden but the gardening sections in the book could have been kept shorter I didn t mind the discussion of changing legality of drugs which if you work at a university isver present I think for me the bottom line is how an addiction to a mind altering substance affects the person physically and mentally long term as well as their surroundings Thanks to NetGalley Allen Lane the Penguin Group and Michael Pollan for this ARC in xchange for an honest review. Man attraction to psychoactive plants Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feeling.

As a devout Michael Pollan fan I couldn t wait to get my hands on this book It was spectacular and thought provoking in very way I hoped It was also very timely Pollan writes about the COVID 19 pandemic and how plants can help Blacklands escape feeling trapped in our stay at home lives I m not sure how interesting that part will remain after some time has passed but maybe I m just too close to it right now to tell the pandemic currently rages onFor those who have already listened to Michael Pollan s audiobook Caffeine on Audible there is a lot of overlap in that section of this book I found myself thinking haven t I read this before several times Apparently the audiobook was anarlier and shorter version I felt a little disappointed to learn that one third of the book felt like recycled content but the other two thirds TOTALLY made up for it with Evolutionary Patterns eye opening history interestingxperiences and my favorite connections to gardening My only critiue is that the three sections seemed a little disjointed Caffeine seemed to be written for a different purpose than the other two sections and I wish the connection between the three was clearerstronger Even so I still loved this book Listened to the audio bookWhat the hell was this book This book really wasn t what I was Evolution As Entropy expecting Ixpected this book to be filled with facts and science but it felt almost like a memoir at times It felt very self indulgent on the author Michael Pollan s life I didn t really read the book to hear his life story I wanted to know about the psychedelic properties and science of some of these plants there wasn t Forging Gay Identities enough of thatAs a readerlistener in the UK I did feel that a lot of the book was very USA specific and not always totally relevant to me in the UK I didn tnjoy this read and it certainly wasn t the book I was Forbidden History expecting At first glance this seems like a strange hodgepodge of information compared to his last books The book is separated into three parts The first which was originally published as an article in the 90s is about opium during the height of the drug war The second part which was written a few years ago is on caffeine and the interesting relationship we have between it and modern living And then finally the last section is on mescaline which was written during the pandemic Obviously all this is about drugs but just in hearing that it seems hard to find what the through line would be In actuality the book is much about the strangeness that occurs when you try to draw a hard lines of what s okay and what s not okay You have one drug that is totally outlawed one that is never outlawed and one that is only legal in religious settings At first it seems like these things would be really connected butach drug has its own setting and character and that comes through in the writing This is less a single book than it is a compilation smaller books around a common theme And it works really well Overall you get a good sense of the strange way we treat drugs in the modern age as well as possible ways forward that both remove the stigma and allow for healthier use that both honors the individual and honors the cultures from which the drugs come from This is very fascinating read that would be fun to read alongside How to Change Your Mind One of the things I love and appreciate about Pollan is his ability to write a non fiction book on a difficult and misunderstood topic while keeping it readable interesting and ducational Pollan has two books that deal with mind altering drugs his How to Change Your Mind was in my o Audio arc provided by NetGalley in xchange for an honest reviewMichael Pollan narrated his own audio and it worked really well When author s have decent voices and read well it can work better than hiring a narrator since the author knows Esteem Enlivened by Desire exactly the intonation and delivery they want andxactly how they want to convey the information Pollan was interesting to listen to and having him narrate his own book added a personal touch The book itself is fascinating I have a life long interest in plants which resulted in a degree in plant biology and genetics though only a theoretical knowledge of psychotropic psychedelic plant substances My interest in plants was kindled as a very young child by my father who clearly thought that if his children were going to roam wild in rural Dorset they ought to know which plants were poisonous and which were safe if handled respectfully The idea that a pla. In This Is Your Mind on Plants Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs opium caffeine and mescaline and throws the fundamental strangeness and arbitrariness of our thinking about them into

Nt could be a thing of beauty a source of food a source of medicine and an organism which helped renew the soil and assist the overall Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith ecosystem took rootarly I m not sure how Pollan got into plants but the way he speaks about them choes my own feelings and thoughts There is as much poetry in the science when you know it as there is feeling in the poetry surrounding plants This book focuses on mind altering substances derived from prepared plants Pollan has not been shy about xperimenting They Shall Be One Flesh either something which I have never really wanted to do Specifically these substances change how you the ingestor of said plant perceive reality Weaving together strands of history culture law and religion Pollan looks at the human fascination with being able to take short trips to Wonderland He does not obfuscate the perils nor does he downplay the benefits There s certainly a lot ofvidence that psychedelics can assist with a number of mental issues such as PTSD and depression Finally he discusses the uestionable practice of making some plant substances illegal and calling them drugs when very similar potentially harmful substances are manufactured licensed and sold The Heritage of Arabo-Islamic Learning enriching Big Pharma The law around these substances is idiosyncratic capricious and badlynforced And ultimately futile because it is a war on human desire While laws such as those that protect Native American rights with regard to Peyote must remain in place other laws are somewhat asinine I am curious to find out what the corresponding situation is here in UK although we don t really have the climate for growing PeyoteOverall a fascinating book told in an accessible and Hereward (Hereward, engaging manner Verynjoyable Highly recommend if you have an interest in this area This is Your Mind on Plants is a fascinating open minded and thought provoking Under One Sky exploration of three different psychoactive drugs opium caffeine and mescaline What s is interesting about these three drugs being discussed is that Pollan has chosen one substance that is illegal without prescription one substance that is socially acceptedven normalised for veryday use and perfectly legal and one that is interestingly a mix of the two Pollan xplains how mescaline is legal for use in Native American tribes but only as part of th There is a powerfully American cultural flavour to this book that Groom and Doom even comes through in the title I ll be honest that title baffled me initially The first thing it made me think of was the TV show This is Your Life then I wondered if it was about having ideas while lying on a straw mattress In reality it s a complete misnomer it sntirely about Michael Pollan s life on plants and the psychoactive chemicals derived from them it s a very me oriented bookI was sold this as a science book but it really isn t Pollan describes his interactions with three plant derived chemical substances opium caffeine and mescaline but there s hardly anything about the science of what s involved just a brief dictionary like reference to how these chemicals act It s all about Pollan what he Eroarea lui Descartes experiences how he feels That Americanness also comes across in his casual acceptance that someone he deals with keeps an assault rifle by his desk and in his put downs of the English repeating the dubious analysis that tea drinking was a mechanism forvil English mill owners to get work out of the massesThe three chemicals are dealt with in independent sections The first on morphine is an Murder at the Savoy (Martin Beck, extended version of an old magazine article It s uiteffective in describing the byzantine contortions the US legal system got into over drugs where it was 22 Britannia Road effectively legal to grow opium poppies in your garden as long as you didn t know they were opium poppies and the poppy seeds were legal to sell after all they re used in catering but not to be used to manufacture poppies I wasn t clear from the book how and if things have changed now However I found Pollan s attitude to drugs here worrying Again with this self oriented view it was very much a case of what s wrong with me taking opium if I want to why should doctors be allowed to prescribe morphine but I can t use it This is particularly ironic as later on he berates the English for selling opium to China in the nineteenth century Don t get me wrong the Opium War was a bad thing but it feels like Pollan s attitude is it s okay for me but not for those foreigners The centre section by far the best is a rehash of anarlier book on caff. Harp 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 hu.

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Michael Pollan is an American author journalist activist and professor of journalism at the University of California Berkeley where he is also the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism Excerpted from