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Watch > Episode > Michael Pollan - How To Change Your Mind With Psychedelics

Michael Pollan - How To Change Your Mind With Psychedelics


#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Michael Pollan is an award winning author, activist and journalist, named by Time magazine as one of the hundred most influential people in the world. For 25 years, he has been writing about the intersection of nature and culture, selling millions of copies with his best-sellers “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, “In Defence of Food” and “Cooked”, which is now a successful Netflix series. Pollan’s new book “How to Change Your Mind”, dives deep into the world of psychedelics, through meetings with shamans, magic mushroom hunts, and using yourself as a guinea-pig, he takes the readers on a journey to the frontiers of the human mind.

Born on February 6, 1955, in Long Island, New York, Michael Pollan developed an early interest in nature and the environment. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Bennington College and later pursued a Master’s in English from Columbia University. Despite his initial focus on literature, Pollan’s career took a pivotal turn as he transitioned into writing about the intersection of ecology, agriculture, and culture.

In 2006, Michael Pollan gained widespread recognition with the publication of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.” This groundbreaking book explores the complexities of our modern food system, tracing the origins of the ingredients in various meals and shedding light on the environmental, ethical, and health implications of our food choices.

The book became a bestseller and a seminal work that inspired a reevaluation of the way we think about food. Pollan’s investigative approach and narrative storytelling brought attention to the industrialisation of agriculture, the impact of corn in the American diet, and the importance of making informed and conscious food choices.

Following the success of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Michael Pollan continued to shape the discourse on food with his book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” published in 2008, where he distils his philosophy into a simple mantra: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This succinct guidance emphasises the importance of consuming real, whole foods and adopting a plant-centric diet for optimal health.

“In Defense of Food” challenges prevailing dietary advice, questioning the reliability of nutritional science, and urging readers to return to a more natural and traditional way of eating. Pollan’s insights have resonated with a broad audience seeking clarity in an era of conflicting dietary recommendations.

Michael Pollan’s impact extends beyond his best-known books. He has authored several other influential works, including “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” a collection of straightforward guidelines for healthy eating. Pollan’s ability to simplify complex topics into accessible and practical advice has made him a trusted source for individuals navigating the complexities of nutrition and diet.

Pollan has also contributed to numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and Harper’s Magazine, further establishing his reputation as a thought leader in the field of food and agriculture.

In addition to his writing, Michael Pollan has been actively involved in advocating for sustainable and healthy food systems. He has participated in documentaries, lectures, and public events, sharing his expertise and encouraging individuals to become more informed and conscientious consumers.

Pollan’s advocacy extends to promoting the benefits of sustainable and regenerative agriculture. His emphasis on the importance of understanding where our food comes from and the impact of our choices on the environment has contributed to a growing awareness of the need for a more sustainable and equitable food system.

Michael Pollan’s influential body of work has transformed the way we think about food, nutrition, and the global food system. Through his insightful writings, Pollan has empowered individuals to make informed and conscientious choices about what they eat, emphasising the connection between our diets, the environment, and overall well-being. As a leading voice in the movement for a healthier and more sustainable food future, Michael Pollan continues to inspire and educate, leaving a lasting legacy in the fields of nutrition, agriculture, and public health.


00:00 | Trailer
03:58 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode
06:41 | Brian’s introduction
07:19 | Getting to know the diverse community of people in London interested in research into psychedelics
09:02 | London Real’s virtual introduction into ayahuasca for Michael
12:28 | Why Michael decided to have his own ayahuasca experience despite cautionary voices
18:53 | Guidance before psychedelic experience, influence of music during and integration afterwards
26:40 | Having a bad or challenging trip
28:15 | Make intelligent decisions about set and setting
30:00 | Legalisation for medicinal use but not recreational
33:20 | America’s legalisation for medical marijuana is not the path being taken for psilocybin
36:35 | The use of psilocybin for the dying
45:10 | How Michael came to understand what deep spiritual connections are
50:55 | The ego is not what we think it is; how he is incorporating what he has learnt into his daily practise
55:51 | The effect on society of the use of psychedelics
1:02:11 | The investigative elements he brings together to get a whole picture in How to Change Your Mind
1:03:16 | Surprising reaction to his book: he thinks we are in an inflection point now
1:09:30 | Did he consider the big pharmaceutical companies reaction to his book
1:14:40 | Why Michael thinks people like his writing
1:18:40 | How he writes
1:25:11 | Great writers he admires
1:27:26 | What scares Michael
1:29:06 | What we would be surprised to learn about Michael
1:31:00 | Two big concerns that keep Michael awake at night
1:35:01 | Phone call to the twenty-year old Michael
1:36:54 | Success secrets
1:37:37 | Brian’s summing up.


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