(welcome to ‘blanks and postage’ — author jesse jarnow’s monthly column for aquarium drunkard highlighting the heady, askew…and beyond.)
Several recent books provide counterpoints to Michael Pollan’s best-selling How To Change Your Mind. “Psychedelics for normies” in writer Alison Hussey’s memorable phrase, Pollan’s 2018 book almost instantly transformed the dialogue around the substances with its clear and direct arguments about their miraculous power to heal trauma. Only on occasion, though, does it entertain a present or future in which psychedelics might be used meaningfully outside the medical model, or acknowledge the ways that’s occurred in the past. How To Change Your Mind is a skeptical book, and draws some of its power from this, an extension of Pollan’s role as a mainstream journalist, but its tone is also an act of erasure in other ways.