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How To Change Your Mind

By APHAman following x   2018 Jun 18, 7:33am 862 views   11 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/books/review/michael-pollan-how-to-change-your-mind.html


Michael Pollan has long been concerned with the moral dilemmas of everyday life. “Second Nature,” his first book, was ostensibly about gardening, but really about ways to overcome our alienation from the natural world. “A Place of My Own,” his second, chronicled the “radically unhandy” Pollan’s construction of his writing studio. “The Botany of Desire,” his third and possibly greatest book, put him back in the garden, though in a more global state of mind. He then went on to write four searching books that wrestled, in one way or another, with the ethics of eating, one of which contained Pollan’s now widely shared haiku: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Unlike many best-selling nonfiction writers, Pollan doesn’t write self-help books that cross-dress as narrative nonfiction. He’s entirely too skeptical for that. At the same time, though, he’s an often relentlessly sunny, affirmative writer. “In Defense of Food,” Pollan’s most polemical book, despairs of American eating habits, yet concludes with the dainty recommendation to eat local as often as possible. Pollan’s literary persona has a rare, almost Thoreauvian affect: the lovable scold.


With “How to Change Your Mind,” Pollan remains concerned with what we put into our bodies, but we’re not talking about arugula. At various points, our author ingests LSD, psilocybin and the crystallized venom of a Sonoran Desert toad. He writes, often remarkably, about what he experienced under the influence of these drugs. (The book comes fronted with a publisher’s disclaimer that nothing contained within is “intended to encourage you to break the law.” Whatever, Dad.) Before starting the book, Pollan, now in his early 60s, had never tried psychedelics, referring to himself as “less a child of the psychedelic 1960s than of the moral panic that psychedelics provoked.” But when he discovered that clinical interest had been revived in what some boosters are now calling entheogens (from the Greek for “the divine within”), he had to know: How did this happen, and what do these remarkable substances actually do to us?
1   APHAman   ignore (8)   2018 Jun 18, 7:33am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Where Pollan truly shines is in his exploration of the mysticism and spirituality of psychedelic experiences. Many LSD or psilocybin trips — even good trips — begin with an ordeal that can feel scarily similar to dissolving, or even dying. What appears to be happening, in a neurological sense, is that the part of the brain that governs the ego and most values coherence — the default mode network, it’s called — drops away. An older, more primitive part of the brain emerges, one that’s analogous to a child’s mind, in which feelings of individuality are fuzzier and a capacity for awe and wonder is stronger. As one developmental psychologist tells Pollan, “Babies and children are basically tripping all the time.”
2   APHAman   ignore (8)   2018 Jun 18, 7:34am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

You don’t necessarily need drugs to enter this strange, egoless realm of consciousness: Near-death experiences, meditation and fasting can get you there, too. But psychedelics get you there quickly, while greatly intensifying concomitant feelings of oneness with … whatever it is the quieting of our default mode network puts us in contact with. Some may call it God, and others the cosmos, but even atheists come out of psychedelic therapy changed by the experience. “You go deep enough or far out enough in consciousness,” one researcher tells Pollan, “and you will bump into the sacred.”

All of which suggests that the Buddhist ideal of ego suppression is grounded in neurochemical reality, for the brains of experienced meditators and people undergoing a psychedelic trip display striking commonalities. The more connected we feel to what’s around us, and the less we obsess about ourselves, the happier we are likely to be.

Happiness, it turns out, is not that profound, but then it doesn’t have to be. Pollan describes one intellectual — a professor of philosophy — coming out of his first trip during a clinical trial and summing it up with three timeless words: “Love conquers all.” And here’s how a smoker explained his decision to ditch nicotine after a particularly potent trip: “Because I found it irrelevant.”

In the most moving section of the book, Pollan describes a dying cancer patient named Patrick Mettes, who sat up during his psychedelic treatment and said, “Everyone deserves to have this experience.” Mettes’s widow later described to Pollan the scene at her husband’s deathbed: “He was consoling me.” A 2016 study showed that 80 percent of cancer patients responded positively to psychedelic treatment — and the more intense their trip, the more positive and long-lasting the benefits. “If it gives them peace,” one psychedelic researcher tells Pollan, “I don’t care if it’s real or an illusion.”

Human consciousness is one of the greatest puzzles of existence, and will likely remain so, no matter what psychedelic enthusiasts might promise. In that sense, it probably doesn’t matter whether the doorway to heaven is in the dirt, among the fungi, or whether psychedelic visions are merely the churn of a poisoned brain. That’s the problem with psychedelics. They’re hard to talk about without sounding like an aspiring guru or credulous dolt. Michael Pollan, somehow predictably, does the impossible: He makes losing your mind sound like the sanest thing a person could do.
3   HEYYOU   ignore (21)   2018 Jun 18, 8:34am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

When one realizes that they have done something stupid,they should try not to do it again,or,do the same thing over again.
Sounds like a good reason to consider changing one's mind.

Aphroman says
merely the churn of a poisoned brain.

Like that!

Now I know what's wrong with the Two Parties.
4   APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   ignore (35)   2018 Jun 18, 8:43am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

If you're not shooting DISEASED! INVADERS! in the FACE!, you can't ever understand happiness.

Who is this ASSHOLE! ?
5   rocketjoe79   ignore (0)   2018 Jun 18, 3:30pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Doesn't this mean we have just connected with the subconscious? Loose, uncontrolled base urges from the hindbrain. Monsters from the Id. I thought the conscious mind allowed us to separate fact from fictions, like religion and god. These things require "faith": Unprovable concepts that are "beyond understanding." I wish my mind weren't wired this way, but I can't take things on faith. To me, God is simply a construct. If we allow these faith-based concepts to come to the fore, they can become a belief system, unsupported by facts. AKA a cult.

Thanks, I'll take rational thought. Hard pass on whoo-hoo spiritual experiences.
6   Patrick   ignore (1)   2018 Jun 18, 8:08pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The line between objective and subjective is not very clear.

Everything is an arrangement of forms which come and go - and they even come out of the mind and go back into the mind.

Take three sticks and make them into a triangle. Is there a triangle? It was a thought, now it is "real".

Scatter the sticks. Is there a triangle? Now it's just a memory.

You just happened to think about, form, and name an arrangement of things. And then destroy it.
7   marcus   ignore (5)   2018 Jun 18, 8:26pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
Scatter the sticks. Is there a triangle? Now it's just a memory.

You just happened to think about, form, and name an arrangement of things. And then destroy it.


Chuang Tsu ?
8   APHAman   ignore (8)   2018 Jun 18, 8:51pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

rocketjoe79 says
Doesn't this mean we have just connected with the subconscious? Loose, uncontrolled base urges from the hindbrain. Monsters from the Id. I thought the conscious mind allowed us to separate fact from fictions, like religion and god. These things require "faith": Unprovable concepts that are "beyond understanding." I wish my mind weren't wired this way, but I can't take things on faith. To me, God is simply a construct. If we allow these faith-based concepts to come to the fore, they can become a belief system, unsupported by facts. AKA a cult.

Thanks, I'll take rational thought. Hard pass on whoo-hoo spiritual experiences.


The greatest form of mind control is clef censorship of ideas.

The United States of America is supposed to be the great Capitalist marketplace of ideas. Healthcare is literally killing us all and is the greatest anchor around our collective economic necks. I couldn’t imagine anything in greater need of competition right now. So let one thousand flowers bloom. Cannabis flowers. Mushroom caps, wherever we might find cure, health and wellness. Let Freedom, and Science, reign.
10   Ceffer   ignore (1)   2018 Sep 4, 11:15pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

At least he didn't chronicle the hidden messages he found by stirring his feces, or make videos of himself rolling his boogers and eating them.
11   Quigley   ignore (0)   2018 Sep 5, 4:58am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Consciousness can be a terrible burden to bear. Which is why many if not most people resort to mind altering substances from time to time to deal with the pain of existence as a thinking self-aware creature. Whether it’s to switch it all off with alcohol or weed, or it’s to switch to a trippier sort of plane with shrooms, the mind sometimes needs an escape from itself. If it can’t find such an escape, and the pressures of life are especially strong, it may retreat behind the doors of madness.

Is this ideal? No. But the ideal is tough, requiring a sort of mental discipline which is lacking in most people. You must become a fully integrated person, one with intention and personal morality and deed. You must become one with yourself and all that is around you. The oneness. Holy. Tao.

Or just smoke some weed.




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