Books et al.Neuroscience

Open minds

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Science  11 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6389, pp. 610
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat4324

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  • A Transcendental Trip to Open Minds

    Pollan's new book titled "How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence" revolves around his experiences with the drugs and their benefits. By prescribing a psychedelic called psilocybin — the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms," cancer patients were able to deal with their distress. These 'trips' take one on an inward journey, often times a sojourn that opens up the inner mind and speaks to the 'soul' of the individual. They help one gain fresh perspectives on the same old problems that he/she is facing. It is a meditative, transpersonal, inward journey to discover new truths and gain new insights. New patterns of thought get created and old patterns are broken. Basically, the individual sees 'light' instead of getting enshackled by a mental rut. The individual experiences a dissolution of the self, and this process enables his/her consciousness to merge with that of the universe for a short period of time. During this time, the individual can re-write his/her life script and experience a sort of metamorphosis. It also facilitates increased levels of openness and lowered levels of neuroticism. Thus Michael Pollan takes the reader on a spiritual journey while also examining the history of psychedelics and their possible therapeutic uses.

    Competing Interests: None declared.