Fri, 16 July 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT


Michael Pollan – The Mind-Altering Power of Plants

Exploring the culture and science of three mind-changing molecules – caffeine, morphine and mescaline – Michael Pollan is here to completely rethink our relationship with what we call ‘drugs’.

Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind transformed the conversation around the use of psychedelics in culture, law, therapy and science in the West, and inspired the Decriminalise Nature movement in the US.

Now he returns to How To Academy with a riveting personal enquiry into three molecules – morphine in the opium poppy, caffeine in coffee and tea, and mescaline produced by the peyote and San Pedro cactus: a sedative, a stimulant, and a hallucinogen that any of us might well be growing in our gardens or drinking right now.

Reviving our historic, evolved relationship with these psychoactive agents, and reckoning with the fact that what we grow, drink and eat freely, or illegally, is dependent on habit, culture, evolution and politics, Michael will help us renegotiate the reality, richness and promise of our mind’s relationship with plants. 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.

At a moment of renewed interest in their therapeutic and social benefits, while set against the opioid crisis in America engineered by the pharmaceutical industry, and paradoxical government relationships with ‘drugs’ across the world, this is a riveting and timely blend of history, science, memoir and reportage by one of our finest living investigative writers.

What would happen if caffeine disappeared from the world? Do our plants work for us, or we for them? Should psychedelics be decriminalised? Join us to discover the answers to these questions and many more in this unmissable livestream event.

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Michael Pollan

Author, Activist and Journalist

Michael Pollan is an award-winning author, activist and journalist. His international bestselling books about the way we live today – including How to Change Your Mind, In Defence of Food, and Food Rules – combine meticulous reporting with anthropology, philosophy, culture, health and natural history. Time magazine has named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world. He lives in the Bay Area of California with his wife.