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This is your mind on plants

Join Michael Pollan in conversation with Jules Evans to discuss psychoactive plants from coffee to opium

An opium poppy
Louise Joly via wikimedia commons

Event description

Humans have changed their consciousness with plants for millennia; from the legally and socially acceptable consumption of coffee and tea to plants that are criminalised, such as the opium poppy. In Michael Pollan's new book, 'This is your mind on plants' the renowned science writer asks: Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings?

Join Michael in conversation with writer and philosopher Jules Evans as they discuss these plants from several angles and contexts, and shine a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively—as a drug, whether licit or illicit. Michael will argue that by putting these plants into our bodies and letting them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can.


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About the speakers

For more than thirty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds. Pollan is the author of eight books, six of which have been New York Times bestsellers; three of them (including his latest, How to Change Your Mind) were immediate #1 New York Times bestsellers. 

Jules Evans is a practical philosopher. He researches ideas from different eras and cultures, then tries them out in life, and interviews others to see how ideas have helped or harmed them.

From Stoicism to CBT, from Aristotle to ayahuasca, Jules searches for the best wisdom to help people suffer less and flourish more.


The live stream will go live at 6.55pm, and the introduction will begin at 7.00pm. If you register but miss the live stream, the video will be available to you via the same link for up to a week after the event date.

The Royal Institution is part of the Amazon Affiliate Programme and book links on this page are affiliate links, which means it won't cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link. All proceeds help support the charitable work of the Ri. Affiliate disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate The Royal Institution earns from qualifying purchases.