What books teach about consciousness

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Michael Pollan

Change your consciousness

What the new psychedelics research teaches us about addiction, depression, fear of death and transcendence
Antje Kunstmann Verlag, Munich 2019
ISBN 9783956142888
Hardcover, 450 pages, EUR 26.00


From the American by Thomas Gunkel. Alter Your Consciousness is to explore new research on psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, which examines the 'neural correlation' of mystical and spiritual experience and the mechanisms of common mental illnesses such as depression, addiction and obsession. And a great travelogue on the history and effects of psychedelic substances. In the 1950s and 1960s, psychedelic substances were viewed by psychiatrists as a miracle drug that could be used to manipulate and treat mental illness. But when LSD and psilocybin "escaped the laboratory" and were taken over by the counterculture, they triggered moral panic and a backlash. This led to the fact that psychedelics were banned and research was stopped in the early 1970s.
Research has been going on again for ten years thanks to committed scientists, activists and psychonauts. This research changes our understanding of the relationships between the brain and consciousness. Scientists are beginning to identify the "neural correlation" of mystical and spiritual experience and to better understand the mechanisms that are effective in such widespread mental illnesses as depression, anxiety disorders, addictions and obsessions, but also in common unhappiness.

Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 16, 2019

Helmut Mayer goes on a trip with Michael Pollan. According to Mayer, the story of LSD and psilocybin that the author suggests cannot really teach anything, at best it can only represent assumptions, but Mayer finds it instructive what the US journalist writes about the emergence of hallucinogens in the 50s and 60s and what he does has to say about the more recent attempts to make them acceptable as therapeutics. According to the reviewer, Pollan conveys natural history, actors from Huxley to Leary and his own experiences with the necessary curiosity and objectivity as well as well-researched data and linguistic balance. Finally, Mayer appears legitimate as the author's advocacy of easier legal access to the substances.
Read the review at buecher.de

Review note on Deutschlandfunk Kultur, February 21, 2019

In the mind-altering drug debate and literature, there is an inevitable tendency to either glorify or demonize, Michael Lange knows. He is all the more pleased that the journalist Michael Pollan in "Change Your Consciousness" takes on this topic with unideological sobriety. The reviewer reads about the discovery of LSD by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, from Timothy Leary, who began as a Harvard researcher and ended up as a hippie guru, but also from modern scientific analyzes that the effect of LSD is less in a change in the Locating perception as the self-consciousness. Finally, Pollan even undertakes medically guided self-experiments, and even if he does not experience any enlightenment, his book Lange offers "both knowledge and reading pleasure".