Martin Pistorius fell into a mysterious coma at the age of 12, and for more than a decade he was unable to speak or move. He was mentally aware but unable to communicate. In other words, he was trapped inside his own body.
"Mr. S" has spent years plagued by violent thoughts about stabbing strangers and murdering his wife and dog. The thoughts are so strong and the images so horrific that he pulled away from loved ones, terrified he might act on his thoughts.
You'll meet both of these men — and learn how they overcame their predicaments — in NPR's newest podcast, "Invisibilia."
The title is Latin for "all the invisible things," and throughout the weekly podcast, co-hosts Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel explore intangible forces like thoughts, ideas, beliefs and emotions that shape our behavior.
The wild world of inner thoughts
In the first show, Miller and Spiegel talk to Pistorius and "Mr. S," whose real name isn't revealed to protect his identity.
The two men may seem to have little in common, but "Invisibilia" reveals how their thoughts — and whether they choose to engage or disengage with them — have enabled them to heal.
In the pilot episode, Miller and Spiegel discuss different psychological views on thoughts and explore whether our thoughts reveal our inner desires.
In a future podcast, listeners will hear from a woman with a rare condition that makes her unable to experience fear. Scientists have studied her for decades and never revealed her identity out of concerns people would take advantage of her.
Miller and Spiegel discuss what it would be like to live without fear and if we could even survive in the world without it.
Another episode will look at how expectations affect our performance, while another will share the story of a woman who experiences everything happening to those around her as if it were happening to her.
The pilot season of "Invisibilia" will feature six hour-long episodes. You can listen to the latest episode here.
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