As far as I’m concerned, there are two ingredients that make up the formula for a truly great podcast:
1) It has to tell a great story.
2) It has to make me think differently about the world.
Invisibilia is exactly that kind of podcast, and when you break it down to its basic elements (ie its two creators), it’s easy to understand why.
Co-created by Lulu Miller (formerly of Radiolab) and Alix Spiegel (formerly of This American Life), Invisibilia (which takes its name from the Latin word for, you guessed it) focuses on the invisible forces that control human behaviour – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Taking the beautiful narratives and story-telling of TAL, and weaving them amongst the awe-inspiring, you’ve-never-thought-about-this-before investigative approach of Radiolab, the resulting show is a fascinating, engaging and, at times, terrifying exploration of why and how we live our everyday lives.
In their first two official episodes the duo have tackled the concept of being ‘Fearless,’ (which included interviewing a woman with literally no fear) and ‘The Secret History Of Thoughts,’ (a particularly relatable episode for those of us that have ever experienced unwanted thoughts and don’t know how or why we’re having them).
There have also been to “bonus” eps played on their parent shows This American Life (‘Batman,’ a show about a blind man that can navigate the world using his natural instincts) and Radiolab (‘Radiolab Presents: Invisibilia,’ which takes an in depth look at the world of gender categories), and it’s obvious that Spiegel and Miller have come at this project head on and prepared, with great content and a defined narrative.
That being said, at times listening has made my head hurt (and that’s not just because Miller and Spiegel’s voices are frustratingly similar), as it truly makes you think about yourself and your interactions with other humans in a completely new light.
Ultimately, however, I’m predicting that this new podcast will not only be immensely popular, but will end up really helping a lot of people overcome fears and concerns they have with their lives and their brains. In fact, I know it will – it’s already helped me realise a thing or two.
You can subscribe to Invisibilia in itunes, or listen over at NPR.