Michael Pollan

NOTE: Due to the anticipated large turnout, seating for the public will be limited. Doors open at 4:30 PM – seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. A book signing will follow his talk.

Through his several books on the growth, preparation and consumption of food, Michael Pollan has shown us the way toward food enlightenment. Now with his 8th book, he is leading us on another enlightened journey, one that holds the promise of peace of mind for millions suffering from serious mental disorders such as PTSD.

On Feb. 21, Pollan will give an Assembly Series presentation on “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence,” the same title as his book. The event will begin at 5:30PM in Graham Chapel.

The promise of psychedelic drugs for use in neurological therapies is not new. After its discovery by a chemist in the 1930s, researchers were eager to experiment with the then-legal drug. But its close association with the “loose morality” of the Sixties turned the tide against it, and LSD, along with other psychedelics that had been used for centuries in non-Western cultures to expand consciousness, were outlawed in the extreme, as they still are today.

But the tide is beginning to turn. Pollan profiles scientists who are now pairing its use with brain imaging technologies to expand understanding of the mind-brain connection. The promise these hallucinogenic drugs hold today is nothing short of a revolution in mental healthcare.

One a more personal level, Pollan also shares his own experimentation (under close professional supervision) with mind-altering drugs, and describes their transcendental and life-changing abilities.

As with many of his earlier works, “How to Change Your Mind” is also a New York Times best seller. Pollan’s books related to food include “Food Rules,” “In Defense of Food,” “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and “Cooked” which shares the same name as his 2016 Netflix series. He writes for The New York Times Magazine as well as other publications.

In addition, Pollan teaches journalism at the University of California-Berkeley. In 2010 he was included in Time magazine’s One Hundred Most Influential People in the World.