A psychedelic renaissance has been underway over the past couple of decades that has been slowly bringing these substances – which, it must be remembered, have been used by human cultures since the dawn of history – back into the light from the ‘dark ages’ of the 1970s, when they were almost universally criminalized and demonized.
Much of the thanks for that must surely go to MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and the few scientists out there willing to venture into the ‘forbidden zone’ of psychedelic research who have been testing their therapeutic potentials. And in recent years a major voice bringing psychedelics into everyday conversations again has been best-selling author Michael Pollan, on the back of his 2018 book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.
Pollan has preached the virtues of these shamanic tools to huge audiences over the years since, from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. And this week on July 12, his message will reach a potential audience of hundreds of millions when a four-part documentary series based on his book is released on Netflix. Here’s the trailer and blurb for How to Change Your Mind:
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and New York Times best-selling author Michael Pollan present this documentary series event in four parts, each focused on a different mind-altering substance: LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline. With Pollan as our guide, we journey to the frontiers of the new psychedelic renaissance – and look back at almost-forgotten historical context – to explore the potential of these substances to heal and change minds as well as culture. How to Change Your Mind is directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Alison Ellwood and two-time Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Lucy Walker.
The trailer looks great, with a positive message and first-hand testimony from those that have seen a benefit from psychedelic therapy. Let’s hope it changes some minds!