May 29: Michael Pollan on Psychedelics
Bestselling author Michael Pollan believes that you are what you eat. Throughout his career, he has studied and written about the things people put into their bodies and how that impacts their health and life, notably with the books “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” (2009) and “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” (2008). His philosophy is often condensed to: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Now he has turned his attention another class of ingested substances: psychedelic drugs. In his latest book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence,” released on May 15, Pollan brings his well-honed investigative and descriptive skills to the medical and scientific explorations around psychedelic drugs — and shares intimate stories of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences. As a self-proclaimed “square,” Pollan says that the book grew out of his reporting for a 2015 New Yorker article about psychedelic psychotherapy. “I interviewed a number of cancer patients who, in the course of a single guided session on psilocybin, had such a powerful mystical experience that their fear of death either faded or vanished altogether,” he writes.
His clear-eyed book surveys the world of psychedelics — LSD, psilocybin, Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT — their history in America and the latest research into how, in particular, LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety. Pollan also reveals his own deeply personal discoveries of the impact of tripping. “What began as a third-person journalistic inquiry ended up a first-person quest to learn what these medicines had to teach me about not only the mind but also my mind, and specifically about the nature of spiritual experience. This book has taken me places I’ve never been — indeed, places I didn’t know existed,” writes Pollan.
He’ll speak in Austin at 7 pm Tuesday, May 29, at Central Presbyterian Church, sponsored by BookPeople. Tickets are $31 and include a copy of “How to Change Your Mind.” Tickets and more info can be found here.
This is a subject near and near to the psyche of bestselling author and current Austin resident Tim Ferriss. The founder of the 4-Hour Workweek probed the science, mysteries and future of psychedelics at SXSW 2018 in a conversation with Dr. Roland R. Griffiths, a clinical pharmacologist from John Hopkins University School Of Medicine. Dr. Griffiths has been researching mood-altering compounds for more than 40 years and he and his colleagues have been leaders in the recent re-initiation of research with psychedelic drugs, which had been blocked for several decades. Ferriss and Griffiths offered details and stories that could help both novice and experienced psychonauts gain a better understanding of the applications of these incredible compounds. Listen to the audio version of their session here.
Other upcoming Austin events
May 22: 2018 Civic Priorities Forum
May 22: Capital Factory Accelerator Info Session
May 22: Q&A Session on France’s Young Enterprise Initiative
May 22: Austin on Rails
May 22: Beers and Bar Charts: How We Rely on Data & Facts
May 22: foundingAustin Issue 7 Release Party
May 22: The World Spins Series: China, Innovation and Us
May 23: MassChallenge Texas Startup Showcase
May 23: Accounting for Startups Series: Getting Paid Faster
May 23: Changemaker Chat with Ana Perez
May 23: Find Your Event’s Next Big Idea
May 24: Nonprofit Tech Club Austin
May 24: Austin Web Python Group Meet Up
May 28: Texas Crypto Meet Up
May 29: Michael Pollan Book Reading
May 31: Austin Gives Mixer
June 1–3: ATX Hack for Change
June 1–3: Dreamhack Austin
June 5: Austin Forum on Internet of Things
June 6: Austin Digital Marketing Conference
June 7–10: Startup Weekend Hackout 2018
June 19: SKU 6 Showcase Day
June 21: Central Texas LGBT-Allies Diversity Summit
June 23: Austin Ice Cream Festival
June 25: SXSW 2019 PanelPicker Speaking Application Process Begins
August 3–5: RTX Austin 2018
August 22: Snap Judgement LIVE!
If you have a creativity-focused event that you want listed in this space, then please contact hugh at sxsw dot com.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.