Latin for invisible things – english for perfect podcast

Blog, Podcasts

If you enjoy podcasts you should definitely sink your ears into Invisibilia.

Invisibilia (an NPR podcast) is the brain child of Lulu Miller and Alix Spielgel.

Lulu has previously worked on Radiolab and has also been a writer, wood worker (so cool) and cyclist. Alix has worked on This American Life and is also a violinist and award winning journalist.  Both Lulu and Alix have also worked on NPR’s science desk – which I hear is where Invisibilia was forged..

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(illustration courtesy of Topher McCulloch and Creative Commons)

Together they combine their wealth of experience and interests to create a podcast that describes itself as being about:

“The invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Invisibilia interweaves narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently.”

And this is true – particularly the last part.

I’ve listened to a few storytelling style podcasts and you hear some incredible stories – one moment your laughing, the next your crying. But for me, the stories sadly seem to fade and, if I’m being honest, a few days after they’re listened to I’m no longer able to recall the narratives that had only very recently seemed so vivid.

But I listened to Invisibilia’s first season over two years ago now – when I had a long drive to work by motorbike in Vietnam (blissful) – and I can still recount, and still do retell, the narratives from that first series with clarity. Yes some episodes stick more than others – but I really do think I remember the stories I do because, listening to those episodes has genuinely changed my perception of the world around me in such a significant way that, as with any significant stuctural mental shift,  you remember the seed that grew those new perceptions and ideas. Invisibilia has given me beautiful brain seeds. In this way I’ve found the experience of listening to Invisibilia weirdly familar to the feeling of studying philosophy at university.

‘We’re going to tell you a story that makes you believe something you do not currently believe’, they say, at the beginning of one episode.

In an episode called ‘the problem with the solutiton‘ the podcast completely changed my perception of mental illness and how we discuss and treat it as a society. And in ‘how to become batman‘ Invisibilia challenged and reformed my ideas of disabilities, my perception of my own capabilities and ultimately the way I treat those around me.

Alex and Lulu push and pull at the ideas of things we take for granted each day.

It’s now starting it’s third season and I couldn’t endorse it enough if you’re interested!

P.S They also play tracks at the end of the shows, and when one of those is David Byrne’s ‘Don’t Fence Me In!‘ – what more could you want?