Podcasts: Invisibilia

I've only listened to a couple of these, but they're pretty interesting if you like, say, psychology. Basically this podcast focuses on how invisible things like thoughts and expectations impact our lives. Do we control them or do they control us? It's a chicken/egg dichotomy, but the cases they use to illustrate the topics are definitely thought-provoking.

For example, if (and when) you have bad thoughts . . . Does that automatically make you a bad person? Are you a dangerous individual if you are plagued by thoughts of murder and violence? Instinctively, one might answer: Yes! But the cases in the first episode of this podcast series suggest the answer is more like: Not necessarily. Of course, everyone is different. So you can't lump everyone who has ever had a malicious thought together into one whole. It's whether the person acts on the thoughts that matters, and that's an issue of a different kind.

Another episode—the one I'm currently listening to—discusses how people live up to expectations . . . Or down to them. Learned helplessness, in a sense. The episode talks about how amazed people are by a blind man who can ride a bike because "blind people can't." The argument being that if we didn't assume blind people couldn't do so many things, maybe they'd do more.

Well, and as a mother of three, I've been told again and again that kids shouldn't be coddled. That they'll reach higher if you expect more of them. Isn't that also the litany of so many of those little online quotes married to atmospheric images: self-limiting beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies? Whether you believe you can or you can't, etc.?

Anyway, there are only six episodes of this podcast for now. I don't know if they plan to do more. I'm not sure how many little bits of invisibilia they can collect to examine. I mean, on the one hand it would seem something like that should be infinite, but on the other it all starts to be kind of the same thing. Still, for as long as there are interesting case studies to cover, I'm sure they can continue to find things to say.

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