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Michael Pollan in Conversation With Dave Miller / TICKETED EVENT
July 27 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm$28
From Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and How to Change Your Mind, comes a radical challenge to how we think about drugs, and an exploration into the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants — and the equally powerful taboos. Of all the things humans rely on plants for — sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber — surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime? In This Is Your Mind on Plants (Penguin Press), 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 sharp 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 human 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 feelings? In his unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively — as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, 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. Pollan’s groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world. Pollan will be joined in conversation by Dave Miller, host of OPB’s Think Out Loud.
Please note: Tickets for this event are $28 (before service charges) and include admission, as well as one paperback copy of This Is Your Mind on Plants. Books distributed at event.