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Illustration of a ladder to the moon (Daniel Horowitz)

Moments of total, world-shaking bliss are not easy to come by. Maybe that's what makes them feel so life-altering when they strike. And so worth chasing. This hour: stories of striving, grasping, tripping, and falling for happiness, perfection, and ideals.


Aleksander Gamme, Roland Griffiths, Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht and Arika Okrent

Mr. Bliss

First: a perfect moment. On day 86 of a 3-month trek to and from the South Pole, adventurer Aleksander Gamme discovered something he'd stashed under the ice at the start of his trip. He wasn't expecting such a rush of happiness in that cold, hungry ...

Comments [40]

Crystal Bliss

You know those stunningly symmetrical, glittery snowflakes you see everywhere at a certain time of year -- hanging from streetlights, stitched on sweaters, and sprinkled all over tv? Those perfectly-etched pictures are all a big lie. Latif Nasser explains how it all began in a cold, snowy ...

Comments [15]


Can one blissful moment change your life?

Comments [70]

Comments [98]

Human from The Northwest Territory

Great episode, but also great to see many commenters chafing a bit against the Jad & Robert attitude toward entheogens as I am.

Here goes the deal, ya'll: It's not that it's artificial. It's that it allows your brain, which heretofore had been focused on survival, to connect neurons differently. It's all in your brain already; it's just that the flesh-of-the-gods (really the name for psilocybin mushrooms in the native culture of what is now western Mexico) unlocks it.

I'm glad to see that this program is at least daring to discuss this topic, but I long for the day when we can discuss it openly and without inherent derision.

Aug. 20 2017 10:11 PM
Cathy from Florida

I love your show and I particularly enjoyed todays show about Bliss as it gave me so much Bliss just listening to it!!

As a Speech-Language Patholigist I thorouoghly enjoyed hearing the history of the Bliss Symbols. I work with children who have disabities including the ability to communicate. I often use a variety of different symbol systems with the children to facilitate their communication skills. I am familiar with the bliss symbols, but had never heard the story of how they were developed. It was fascinating to hear how and why they came about, but such a sad ending for Mr. Bliss who could not truly enjoy how it helped the children and how the symbols could be easily adapted to meet their needs.

Bliss experiences as described in the remainder of the show need not be a one time experience. I experience BLISS every single day without drugs! Bliss is our true nature that we can experience each and every day through a simple and effortless technique of transcending. The Transendental Meditation technique (TM) as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and local TM teachers is a simple and effortless way to experience BLISS every day of your life. TM is easy to learn and there are hundreds of scientific research studies showing it's effectiveness in all areas of life. No need to do drugs to experience BLISS everyday of your life. For more information go to to learn more.

Aug. 20 2017 01:36 PM
Patti Ireland from Florida

One thing that wasn't touched on in the Blisshrooms segment regarding "religious experience"- Throughout history, in every culture and every continent, religions were developed and imparted to the people through prophets, shamans, and visionaries. (In some places this practice continues today). These "visions", dreams, etc. were frequently the result of the prophet, shaman or priest putting themselves into an altered state of consciousness by the use of hallucinatory plants, fasting, and other methods ( pain, self-flaggelation, etc). Given the history of the development of religions throughout history, I am surprised that anyone would be skeptical of the idea that hallucinogenic drugs can create the religious experience. Of courses it can, and does.

Aug. 20 2017 10:47 AM
Patti Ireland from Florida

One thing that wasn't touched on in the Blisshrooms segment regarding "religious experience"- Throughout history, in every culture and every continent, religions were developed and imparted to the people through prophets, shamans, and visionaries. (In some places this practice continues today). These "visions", dreams, etc. were frequently the result of the prophet, shaman or priest putting themselves into an altered state of consciousness by the use of hallucinatory plants, fasting, and other methods ( pain, self-flaggelation, etc). Given the history of the development of religions throughout history, I am surprised that anyone would be skeptical of the idea that hallucinogenic drugs can create the religious experience. Of courses it can, and does.

Aug. 20 2017 10:45 AM
Steven K from Richmond, CA

One sad aspect of the Charles Bliss story is that he invented his symbolic system as a counter to Nazi propaganda and truth twisting. Such propaganda aimed at achieving the creation of a mythical, grandiose 1,000 Year Reich.

Bliss, also, apparently had a dogmatic, grandiose vision for the global use of his symbols as a universal language; a vision he could not stray from, or allow others to stray from (how fascist of him!) His dogmatism then polluted his interactions with those teachers that used his symbols for good, and ultimately doomed his system to mediocrity. I'd certainly never heard of it before this show! Good job!

Aug. 19 2017 05:59 PM
samuel artman from nyc

I've been a seeker of truth and happiness (bliss) for 45 years. I've found the greatest wisdom in the yoga philosphy....vedanta, advaita, non-duality....check out videos on Youtube.....what yogis knew 6,000 years ago scientists are discovering today.....knowing the TRUTH and gaining infinite bliss is not only possible but inevitable!!!!!

Aug. 19 2017 01:07 PM
Michael Miller from Portland, OR

I'm a recent listener and love your shows. I'm recovering from an injury and am on modified duty at work which leaves me spending hours in a storage house processing bug traps because I'm unable to do the field work i was doing, so your shows have been my go-to.

I've recently started exploring you're archives and stumbled into this one. I loved the first two stories but was completely baffled by the way both Jad and Robert responded to the research and practical application of psychedelics for triggering bliss and for use as a treatment tool. Maybe hindsight is 20/20, but in The Fix you both seemed open to the argument that pills can aid in drug treatment, while hosting the counter argument that it's a cheat.

You both did this without really putting your bias in there and i appreciate that from a journalistic perspective. This segment you both seemed dismissive or outright against bliss being achievable through psychedelic use. Why is that? And to say you see no benefit to research and that prohibition makes sense?

From a secular, non religious perspective I'm baffled as to why one needs peak experience to be from 'sober' actions. Meditation, yoga, sweat lodges, acetic practices, intense exercise, sensory deprivation, fasting and hallucinogens are all examples of pushing the mind and body into altered states. The practices are legitimate and have been part of other cultures' methods for quite some time. Like flipping the switch in The Fix, the blissful experience is the result of chemical interactions within the body/brain.

Recent research on end-of-life patients with LSD has had promising results in how they prepare for the end. Maybe a little scientific curiosity is in order before dismissing these outright. I would love to see what you discover from the history of and ignorance towards these powerful compounds.

Regardless, thanks for your shows. I look forward to more fun.

Sep. 27 2016 10:55 PM

The segment on Charles Bliss was fascinating, but you were much too hard on him. He wasn't "stealing from crippled children"; in fact, he sold himself far short for a mere $160,000!

Unfortunately, this guy was traumatized by events in the first half of the twentieth century, and unfamiliar with -- and evidently unable to learn -- how things like this can be handled properly, a major and necessary lesson all of us have had to learn in the years since.

Why didn't he copyright his symbolic system, and license it on a per-use basis? (It worked for Bill Gates!) He could thereby have maintained control, or conversely could have amassed a small fortune (far more than $160,000) while relinquishing control to those who sought to put it to uses other than those he initially intended. Either way, he would have been in the cat-bird seat, a position from which he could happily have made that choice.

As for the segment about psychedelics, I'll let you in on a little secret. The major effect of LSD and related "entheogens" -- beyond the mumbo-jumbo and psychobabble -- is to temporarily remove (or dissolve) all figure-ground distinctions, both cognitive and perceptual. Everything else then falls in place (including all the "spiritual" effects discussed). FWIW, I once asked Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass) what he thought of this observation, and he said it seemed absolutely correct -- and no less profound for being framed in such a straightforward manner.

Jan. 03 2016 06:09 AM

Whether labeled religious or not, the psychedelic experience can be very meaningful, particularly when a person brings to it an open mind and when it takes place in an supportive setting, ideally with the help of an experienced guide. I believe that for some of us living in a materialistic (and medicated) culture, such drugs can provide a kick in the rear—enabling us to briefly see beyond some of the crasser elements of our everyday world that often distract us from simpler ways in which we might live our lives.

Thank you for thoughtful reporting about a subject that some still consider taboo.

Jan. 02 2016 05:42 PM
Tim from Amsterdam

check out my grand-uncle Frits Staal's book on mysticism. Drug induced experiences are not like regligious experiences; both drug induced and religious experiences are mystical experiences. Mystical experiences are not necessarily related to religion. (religion has three parts: doctrine, mysticism and rituals. Only the first one is specifically religious)

Jun. 04 2015 11:37 AM
Sara Roccabianca from New Haven -CT-

Bliss is working at 10:38 PM on your code in the very same cafe where you beloved husband is working too. And knowing that on your way home you are going to tell him a very cool story about Bliss.

Mar. 27 2014 10:20 PM

I love the segment on Mr. Bliss.

Though I can't help but think "What would it take to get a new language into the world?"

The only answer I can come up with is the very thing he (Mr. Bliss) was against. Understandable you don't want your creation to be altered and maybe that was the beginning of the aggravation but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about using a language as a stepping stone to another.

Why would that work? Well think of it this way: When you're growing up and learning language you generally start with an alphabet and core words that you relate to even though.. they have nothing in common with the actual object. You can't tell me the word Cat remotely resembles a cat. It's just a word we assigned to a specific kind of animal.

Now imagine if when you started to learn language that instead of teaching us a word to relate to an animal.. it was an image, a symbol. When you think about the word cat, you'd think the symbol for cat first, then the word. It's a lot like when you're learning another language. You think of the sentence in your language first then you translate it to the secondary language. This works that way too.

Eventually Bliss Symbology would be the native language of every person in the world, and we'd find translating it further is a waste of time when everyone knows this core language.

In this case: You need to start from the bottom up. Teach the children who will grow and evolve our society into adapting that.

Feb. 19 2014 11:47 AM

This was an interesting podcast. I was especially intrigued because I am a recovering alcoholic and a spiritual junky. When I first got sober my husband ( a trained catholic priest gone arye) and I would talk about not being able to have an deep spiritual experience again, without the monks brew. Since then we have found a community of seekers who practice the age old ceremony of sweat lodges. No drugs just pure bliss. We are able to create that open spiritual experience in a safe environment and take it into our daily lives. I am grateful to know that I can still be spiritually connected and stay sober at the same time.

Thanks for all your work. Happy New Year.

Dec. 31 2013 07:58 AM

Your mention of using psilocybin in test subjects quitting smoking was intriguing. I was reminded of reports I've read about groups around the world using psychedelics in helping people quit heroin. I am not aware of any true clinical studies on this, but it would seem a worthwhile one.

Dec. 28 2013 04:05 PM
Tom Goodwin from Massachusetts

Robert Krulwich- you're looking at something completely backwards. Your skepticism about how "you can pop a pill" and have a Religious Experience that is thought of as such a sacred, rare occurrence. Instead, I suggest thinking of it this way: Psychedelics (psilocybin in this case) do not make Religious Experiences. Rather, the occasional Religious Experience is the mimic of the Psychedelic Experience. And, the Psychedelic Experience should be considered an important step in one's personal humanity. Take a tip from an old tripster.

Dec. 28 2013 04:00 PM
Mike from USA

I just bought the radio lab app for my HP tabby and it crashes all of the time. I am a little disappointed. Are there any fixes.

Oct. 28 2013 06:25 PM

Another great episode!

I want to briefly comment on the framing that is used when talking about the psychedelic experience. The use of entheogens, psychoactive substances, has been part of many human cultures for thousands of years.
The type of language you use in the show to describe users of psychedelics echoes the 70's drug war propaganda. To trivialize the use of these substances in transcendent practices not only ignores our ancient shamanic traditions, but also perpetuates the status quo of a taboo on spirituality trough psychedelics.

I was especially baffled when Jab said he didn't see what was interesting about studying people on psychedelics. Substances that in minimal doses have huge effects on consiousness and the way our brains work, how is that not interesting?

I feel it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to explain to someone the amazingness of such an experience, I would recommend to anyone to try it for themselves.

Sep. 23 2013 07:52 AM

I was intrigued by the story of C. K. Bliss and his book on his book But I was slightly bothered (more like disappointed) that the hosts made him sound like he went crazy at the end. To me it was all quite an understandable reaction, while understandable, I'm not saying what he did was correct. But you always, always ask for permission before you alter someone's work. It doesn't matter if the alteration you want to make is supposed to be "good". It's just basic respect you should pay to the creator.

C. K. Bliss was perhaps an idealist who was a bit naive. But I can imagine how heart broken he was when at the moment he thought his work was finally taking the first step towards his goal, to knowing that it was all a dream. The world goes back to its original state and his book (to him) did absolutely nothing to change it.

Jul. 22 2013 05:00 PM
Eric Hamell

The segment about AMLR was ironic for me. As a child I discovered that loud thunder created a momentary tingling sensation in my scalp, but I didn't find it pleasant. Subsequently, I became part of an electric circuit with other students during a science class, but was frightened by the tingling-all-over sensation and broke the connection. Thereafter I would sometimes have nightmares terminating with that sensation, not usually from electricity but from other scary scenarios like drowning, or finding myself bouncing higher and higher and being unable to stop it. Perhaps I have a inverted form of AMLR.

Mar. 31 2013 10:49 PM

This was a great episode, and I especially enjoyed "Blisshrooms." I would like to add a bit to the discussion by bringing up two things. First--and perhaps inevitably--the story was couched in recent historical cultural references which govern how we respond to the subject. By this, I mean we have had, at least since the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, an ongoing discussion about not just which religion is 'right,' but the nature of religious belief itself: what is a religious experience? How do you rationally define something that 'feels' beyond words? Because of the powerful politics of religion, so many of these discussions begin with preconceived notions that take us down the road towards moral judgements as to the legitimacy of different forms of 'religious bliss' and the methods used to achieve them. What I emphasize here is the discussion is about the method of transcendence, because the idea of understanding what a religious experience actually is has already been dismissed as unknowable and consigned to the realm of loose metaphor. This is, I believe, a false assumption, which also leads to my second point: the story might have gone deeper by also asking from a scientific perspective the question: what is religious experience? (perhaps a subject for an entire program, I know). It is important to note that asking this question allows you to move beyond right/wrong debates and cultural metaphoric descriptions of religious experience (which is the context relied on to understand the subject in the story), and towards a context that begins with an understanding of the human mind--our neurophysiology--as the progenitor of religious experiences. In short, we are hard wired for religious experience, and nothing could be more human. In terms of the story, we get to ask not just can mushroom therapy can be effective as a drug of treatment--we also get to ask how and why the drug works with respect to neurophysiology and the manifestation of human consciousness.

Mar. 31 2013 04:19 PM
Jodi Tatoes from Directly above the center of the earth

Great job exploring bliss in these three stories. I was
especially interested in the Blissrooms episode, because of the concept of a chemically induced spiritual experience as a means to curtail addiction. The co-founder of
Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W., took LSD in the early 60's in a therapeutic setting, I believe that it was at Stanford. He felt that LSD could be used as an artificial "spiritual awakening" that is an important element of recovery in AA, if an alcoholic was having trouble experiencing the ego deflation that comes with a wider perspective. He dropped the idea, but I think given some of the experiences discussed today that he was on to something. Thanks for a great show!

Mar. 30 2013 07:31 PM
Tim Shields from the Mojave desert

Really enjoyed it but was a little frustrated by Robert Krulwich's attitude. The wordless aspect of the bliss experience, particularly that examined in the final segment, strikes me as the key. How about this- words, however wonderful they are, blind us to certain experiences and deny us certain perspectives. Bliss shuts off the words and gives us access to realms otherwise concealed. So the mushrooms, derided by Robert (though subtly) as a "shortcut" simply do what mystics have done through meditation and other disciplines: they shut off the flow of words. In the silence we see the world anew. The hosts amazement at the tobacco users escaping their lifelong addiction should give some indication of the power of the experience. It would amaze me if such an experience WASN'T long lasting.

Mar. 30 2013 07:13 PM
Peter Korn from Oakland, CA

Wonderful encountering the program on the radio today about Mr. Charles Bliss and Blissymbolics. I was involved in the 4 year European Commission-funded AEGIS project (, and one of the many things we developed is the Concept Coding Framework ( for communicating in symbols for people with disabilities like the folks with Cerebral Palsy in this program. The CCF work takes the form of an extension to Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice ( enabling people to create documents directly in symbols. The first two supported symbol systems are Blissymbolics and ARASAC symbols. We also created an Android app so people can communicate using these symbols running on Android tablets. And along the way we converted Bliss symbols and ARASAC symbols into TrueType fonts, with the hope that they can also be used in other mainstream applications (e.g. for e-mail, IM, and SMS) which in a way helps bring us back to Charles Bliss' original intention of having these symbols become a universal language!

Mar. 30 2013 05:11 PM
Chris Garvey from Amityville

Another Psychoactive Substance that Reduces Addiction:
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in a plant in a member of the Apocynaceae family known as Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga).
The use of ibogaine in treating substance use disorders in human subjects was first observed by Howard Lotsof in 1962, for which he was later awarded U.S. Patent 4,499,096 in 1985.
Ibogaine's ability to attenuate opioid withdrawal confirmed in the rat was first published by Dzoljic et al. (1988).[11] Ibogaine's use in diminishing morphine self-administration in preclinical studies was shown by Glick et al. (1991)[12] and ibogaine's capacity to reduce cocaine self-administration in the rat was shown by Cappendijk et al. in 1993.[13] Animal model support for ibogaine claims to treat alcohol dependence were established by Rezvani in 1995.[14]
From Wikipedia.

Mar. 30 2013 01:05 PM
Katie from NYC

Hey, all this talk about a divine feeling? That's a no brainier for me, I've been taught about that feeling every day of my life. That's the Holy Ghost.
"Christ promised His Apostles that the Holy Ghost would “teach you all things” (John 14:26) and “guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). He also said that the Holy Ghost “shall testify of me” (John 15:26). The Holy Ghost can inspire you with thoughts and ideas, warn you, and comfort you in times of sorrow. You may have already felt His influence at times in your life. That influence includes “love, joy, [and] peace” (Galatians 5:22)."

I understand that religious input is looked down upon in public internet forums, but I thought my personal belief was very relevant here.



Mar. 25 2013 01:20 PM

This episode, especially the introduction is just so sublimely put together that, its almost irrevocably engaging.. It really does capture that feeling that we've all felt of either extreme happiness or extreme relief that somehow morphs into extreme happiness. The interview, the questions that were asked and that final introduction by Jad and Robert is just.. completely excellent. It really stopped me cold, at my place of employment no less.

Its becoming clear to me that this has to be some of the most engaging pieces of radio that.. to be honest.. I've really ever heard.
I'm genuinely hooked on RadioLab..

Mar. 20 2013 09:52 PM
Justin Kimes from Indianapolis

Hey Brenna, I'm not sure if you've released an update for the crashing issue yet or not but tell whoever writes your software that the issue is irrespective of connection to wifi or not. Its crashed for me consistently when connected to wifi, connected to 3G, or if I even download an episode and store it on my phone, it will still crash. I write software and wouldn't guess its connectivity related unless its still trying to connect to a network even when listening to a local file. I love the radio shows you guys do but I just couldn't deal with the app crashing as much as it did, a total nuisance.

Mar. 06 2013 05:24 PM
thom from san francisco

I quit smoking cigarettes after an lsd experience. I told myself that after the trip I wouldn't smoke anymore...and I didn't.
It's been years.

Mar. 04 2013 02:40 PM
LeighBee from Bloomington, IN

I feel like this week's article in the New York Times magazine is a perfect addendum to this story. There is a bliss point and it has been engineered into a double pack of cheetos:

Feb. 20 2013 02:38 PM
John Potter from Louisville, KY

Your section on Gamme shouting with joy upon finding his food stash prompted me to think about sports.

If you can't remember the last time you shouted because you were blissful you shouted you're not a serious sports fan (unless you're a Cubs fan) and haven't been to the race track in a while.

After listening to your program I it occurred to me that one of the draws of sport's spectatorship might be that the viewer is given permission to, nay expected to, experience and express bliss, albeit a short-lived and a watered-down version if compared to that of Mr. Gamme.

Feb. 08 2013 09:26 PM
Nathan from Syracuse, NY

My friends and I have moments like these quite often. We do a lot of caving and anytime we're in a cave and come across things like huge rooms or passages, beautiful formations, or big vertical drops we have moments of whooping and howling with joy. We also have the same type of things sometimes when we're up to our necks in 45 degree water, climbing up soaking waterfalls or flat out belly crawling in sloppy mud.

Feb. 06 2013 06:05 PM

RADIOLAB/BLISS: Reminds me of universal semantics Internet research-work from Sir Tim Berners-Lee...

Jan. 29 2013 08:41 PM
Steve Rosalik from Tucson

I really enjoyed the show, but I was a little disappointed when hearing how comprehensive the examination of bliss would be at the outset, that it only looked at one kind of bliss: Hedonic or "stimulus-driven" bliss, that is to say, the show only focused on bliss that arose in the human mind from exposure to particular kinds of stimuli. The kind of bliss the show did not explore was eudaimonic bliss. Although there are various definitions of eudaimonia, the one I'm referencing is the one that Dr. B. Alan Wallace uses which is the bliss that arises out of a very balanced and virtuous mental and emotional life. Although the science is new and emerging, investigation into this kind of bliss is what I found lacking in this program, making it broad and eclectic, yet still fairly one-sided.

If you have any interest, you can find a discussion of eudaimonia and how it relates to the emerging field of contemplative science here:

Also, anything related to the Shamatha Project that's being done through the University of California, Davis, with Dr. Clifford Saron is worth investigating. See also Dr. Richard Davidson's Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. The kind of research that these people are doing is really "the bliss that lasts"---a phrase that was uttered in this show, but never really explored.

Thank you, nonetheless, for the enjoyable program.

Best regards,

Steve Rosalik

Jan. 28 2013 05:16 PM
David from Je n'en soit point certain

A Julie:

I have no intention to
create something of an (comment dire?) argument, but the verb tense "du subjuntive" expresses doubt, as it does as well in all romance languages, as well as most Indo-Euorpean counterparts. An example would be (as opposed to is) that "tu penses que soit serait correct" in opposition to "tu pense qu'il est correct."

This is a miniscule point, and if it would be possible, je suis toujours a votre service,


Jan. 27 2013 09:23 AM

This is my favorite episode, it was just so beautifully produced and enlightened me with something that has such a great meaning, but is not talked about much.

Jan. 26 2013 10:45 AM

Very interesting podcast. The narrator described the Bliss language as being the only one to indicate when an opinion is being used, however that is not true. The French language does this as well, by using the subjunctive verb tense to indicate an opinion.

Jan. 18 2013 11:04 AM
JenniHa from Annapolis, Maryland

I love Radiolab and have listened for years, but I have an issue with this episode: Jad kept referring to taking mushrooms as "taking a pill". Mushrooms don't come in "pill" form, they're fungi that are made from the earth. Continually it seemed that "taking drugs" or "taking a pill" was made to be a debasing experience because, I'm sure the underlying though carried over in their logic that "drugs are bad". Clearly, from your guests, drugs aren't all bad and have a distinct ability to enhance our consciousness and thus our human experience. Many of your listeners have taken or do take drugs, and it seems as though you're speaking to them like they're worth less because of it.

Jan. 17 2013 03:50 PM

Could I please get the track name at 5:30? Great show as always :0)

Jan. 15 2013 10:09 PM
Jeanne from Chicago

This episode had a deep effect on me and now I can't stop thinking about bliss, what it really is, and about the search I think we all go through. I wrote a blog post about it here:

Of course, much of what I wrote is about the Cheese Doodles Guy. That clip of him screaming with joy is really something to behold.

Jan. 15 2013 12:44 PM
Melina from Denver

While I did enjoy this episode, I felt that a large area was overlooked. The topic of meditation and enlightenment was not addressed. While the the experience of the psilocybin can have very similar affects on the mind, an external source is relied upon for this experience whereas meditation is working with what you already have. In addition to this, although the experience with psilocybin might be remembered for the rest of one's life, it is an impermanent state of mind. Once enlightenment is attained, it is a lasting state of being.

Jan. 12 2013 03:38 PM
Sarah D from Cambridge, MA

Please post the music credits! I love the sitar song after Mr. Bliss and would like more from that artist...

Jan. 11 2013 10:14 PM
Bobbie Jo Curley from Maui

Really loved the Bliss show; thanks so much!

Jan. 10 2013 02:09 AM

Do these hour long episodes have air dates anywhere on the web page?

Jan. 07 2013 06:43 PM
Ryan from NYC

It freaks me out how much Mike Young sounds like Bryan Cranston, especially with the subject.

Jan. 06 2013 10:07 PM

My friend and I, who both use Doggcatcher, have been unable to download the last 3 episodes. His brother uses iTunes and is also experiencing difficulties. We listen to a lot of podcasts, and RadioLab is the only one not working properly. We miss you!

Jan. 06 2013 11:01 AM
Steve from Rochester NY

Loved this episode. Really enjoyed the segment on psilocybin studies. In September of 2007 I was traveling the west coast when I met up with a hometown friend in Portland Oregon. He asked me if I wanted to accompany him and a friend of his to camp on the beach for the weekend. His friend happened to be carrying a large quantity of mushrooms and sold me an ounce for very cheap. The two set up their tent and I decided I'd set mine up later. We sat down by a fire on the sand and began to relax. I started to consume the mushrooms, planning to only eat a little. Next thing you know I had eaten a large amount and my friends went to bed. Needless to say I zoned out. I came to, when the Pacific's tide reached the fire and myself, and began to get me wet. At this point it had started misting and I was too out of it to set my tent up. I had enough sense not to enter my friends' tent soaked and covered in sand, but not enough to really get out of the rain and I ended up placing a tarp in the depression of a dune and laid down in fetal position. The rain continued to fall and collect in the tarp. I was laying, body half submerged and half exposed to the elements. I had consumed so much psylocybin however, that even this couldn't draw me from my trip for more than periodical brief moments where I would realize my state and fear hypothermia. The main theme of my trip regardless of my state, was of family and love and I can remember groaning with joy from the blissful thoughts that were pouring over me and running through my mind. When I finally came to in the morning, my friends were shaking me out of my stupor and I was soaked and covered in sand. What was amazing (and I am not exaggerating at all) was that I had never felt more refreshed and never had such a positive outlook in my entire life. I am not proud of the state that I had allowed myself to get in to, but I can honestly say that this was and probably always will be the number one most spiritual and influential moment in my life, short of the birth of my son. I believe that even though I was exposed to such elements, those of which could have been life threatening, the fact that for that evening I existed deep inside my mind, amongst the warmest thoughts possible, I came to, so well rested and positive. It really gave me a new perspective of love and how the mind and human body work. It honestly changed my life in a very positive manner.

Jan. 05 2013 01:09 PM
TR from Clay City Kentucky

Kentucky here. The first comment that I see is from Kentucky out of all the people in the world. Surprise. Wow. Near Lexington here.

Jan. 03 2013 10:27 PM
Bo from Kentucky

Perhaps a story on the history of 'magic mushrooms' from an anthropological perspective would be beneficial to listeners in respect to how these mental fruits of nature have helped humanity carve its evolutionary path since humans became human. Naturally occurring Psychedelics have been present in nearly every indigenous culture known to modern history and integral in the development of the human brain since before the dawn of history. Many contemporaries believe psychedelics could very well provide salvation from the evolutionary predicament we find humanity to be in. I thought your story provided a rather square, stately, dismissive, and limited, perspective on these so called 'drugs'. Perhaps mention Terrance McKenna?

p.s.- how about some shows on Jaque Fresco? Concentrations of Power in Industry, Government, and Banking,?!?!?! or about living among the largest mass extinction in 65 million years!!!!

Jan. 03 2013 10:00 PM

Hey everybody -- just wanted to confirm that we fixed the looping issue some of you experienced while trying to stream the podcast last week. It should be smooth-sailing now.

For those of you having trouble listening in the Radiolab app -- try making sure you're connected to wifi first (that will help if you're having bandwidth or buffering issues). We're working on an update to address the crashing issues we're seeing, but in the meantime, it might help to connect to wifi when you're streaming (or downloading shows to your phone for offline listening). More soon.

Jan. 03 2013 07:23 PM
qwester from 60202

Life changing by clearing a path into the future. Each story is a source of strength in its own way. Rather like finding a box of long lost tools. Now I can do what has been needed for so long to be done. In some way all of Bliss is like acid itself must be for some although I have never tried it nor will I. Astonishing!

Jan. 03 2013 05:48 PM

@christopher: It's track 3 on Sigur Ross' untitled albumn

Jan. 01 2013 06:03 PM
Dave from Anchorage

There was a deleted scene from the film Avatar that was very, very similar to the last story in "Bliss." Check this out:

You can see the scene on the Avatar blu ray disc. It's a trip.

Dec. 31 2012 03:51 PM
Jared from BR

Here you go:

Dec. 31 2012 12:29 PM

does anyone know where I can find the video of the Norwegian finding his food?

Dec. 31 2012 11:39 AM
nickneachtain from mostrim

43m 50 sec - "this germans" ?

Dec. 31 2012 07:05 AM
christopher from Los Angeles, CA

Does anyone know the piece of ethereal music at the end of the snowflake section? Or is that a Jad original?

Dec. 30 2012 03:15 PM
Emanuela from Northern California

I just started listening to you guys about a month ago and I am utterly hooked. Today, during the bliss episode about a minute in, I stopped being able to stream your shows on my laptop. Please don't make me listen to Pandora. I was making breakfast and dying to hear what Aleksander Gamme had to teach about Bliss...

Dec. 30 2012 10:57 AM
Tom from Grand Rapids, MI

I only listen on mobile, it restarts the ad at the begining both in the app and if I open it in Safari.

Dec. 30 2012 09:13 AM
Ershad from Iran, Tehran

Hey Radiolab Guys,

I really wish I could own and use a credit card so as to support you guys. but due to political issues and widespread boycotts I cannot.

This episode is awesome! so impressive. so touching.

You're just great, guys.
Keep moving.

Dec. 30 2012 02:44 AM

Educational entertainment at its best! Thank you Radiolab. I tried to tune out your request for funds in the beginning, but after listening to this, it reminded me how much I absolutely enjoy your program and how empty our media choices would be without you. So, as requested, I've become a monthly donor so you can count on me for your future shows. Happy New Year!

Dec. 29 2012 09:24 PM
Averil from New Zealand

I also can't get this to play past the 4 minute mark on the app or via the website. Please re-upload, can't wait to hear the rest of the episode!

Dec. 29 2012 04:15 AM

When will an update be posted for the Radio Lab iPhone app? I paid $2.99 and have been unable to listen to any podcasts...

Dec. 27 2012 01:52 PM
Jackie from New Hope, PA

I loved this show, especially the first story about the hiker who found the food. I thought of the show again after I watched this video of a man who is also just purely happy.

Dec. 27 2012 09:14 AM
Sally from Buffalo, NY

Thanks for the amazing new episide. I'm so proud to be a contributing member now! Keep up the great work. Happy New Year!

Dec. 26 2012 12:36 PM

The next time someone is going to scream piercingly loud in any segment- let alone the very first one- could you please warn those of us who listen with headphones to turn the volume down? I'm glad Alex found his forgotten stash of cheese doodles, but I'm not sure sharing that moment vicariously through radio was really worth the damage incurred to my eardrums.

Dec. 23 2012 04:41 PM
Danger Deadnettlez from Plankey Norte

Was this episode written and released at this time Dec 18, 2012 to highlight the work of Terrance McKenna and his brother Dennis McKenna about their work with these bliss medicines?

Dec. 22 2012 08:41 PM


Dec. 22 2012 03:48 PM

Tried downloading and listening straight from the website, but still stops a few minutes in and stars over. It's like that Star Trek Next Generation episode, but it never changes...

Dec. 22 2012 01:05 AM
Sean from Seattle

Great show (!) so far, but won't download on iphone podcast app. Stream jumps back to the fundraising section. Won't play through. No problem with older episodes.

Dec. 21 2012 10:32 PM
GABA from sometime

"pardon the pun " hihihihi

it's silly equalising it with religious experience. and the drugs are not the only critical faculty :D
and yeah, pretty hard to define.

Dec. 21 2012 05:54 PM
Eduardo Cervantes

Outstanding episode!

Dec. 21 2012 04:27 PM
Nooney from Mystic, CT

Radio Lab is just the best!

Dec. 21 2012 04:03 PM
Alex from Atlanta

With religion, you know that someone has to be wrong. Most are mutually exclusive, so the vast majority of religious people are having experiences that are based on lies, if you believe yours is the one true way. With psychedelics, there is no doctrine to embrace, no faith to declare, it's just you and the drug and the limitless possibilities of where your mind can take you.

Dec. 21 2012 11:06 AM

Why don't all you guys just stream it off the site? There's no jumping around or cut offs

Dec. 21 2012 11:05 AM
Dustin Patrick

I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the rest of this episode.... About 5 minutes in, it plays y'all's fundraising add then repeats the process from the beginning like a broken record.... Just thought y'all should know!

Dec. 21 2012 03:35 AM
Hilary from California

Hmm I am playing this at 11:30 pm on Dec 20 and it is cutting in and out and jumping around still

Dec. 21 2012 02:33 AM
ClearlyHazed from Denver

How do you spell the professional adventurer Alex's last name?

Dec. 20 2012 10:16 PM
Jeremy Kitten from Jonestown.

Imagine every part of your being concentrating on a single issue. Not just your rational mind, but your emotional mind as well. Everything you have is concentrated on a single over powering thought. It might be God. It might be stop smoking. It might be changing your career.

That's what it's like. Plus it's like a command overriding your entire brain. An over powering urge to do something with your life. To do something positive. It's not what happens to everyone, but many.

Dec. 20 2012 07:26 PM
Sabe from US

Awful short short. Cuts off in mid-sentence in itunes. Most abrupt end to a radiolab.

Dec. 20 2012 05:46 PM
Yvette from TX

Still no luck. 5ish min at a time.

Dec. 20 2012 04:20 PM

All right! We got to the bottom of our tech difficulties -- thanks for bearing with us, and our new podcast Bliss should be good to go. If you run into troubles downloading or streaming any of our audio, let us know. Thanks!

Dec. 20 2012 10:58 AM
Ken LYman from Misery

You're being punished for such a long fundraiser pitch.

Dec. 20 2012 08:35 AM
kommunic8 from melbourne

I have been trying to listen from stitcher (doesn't load up at all) and from the app (could listen to first 8 minute only). Looking forward to listening the rest. Oh, at least now I know it's not just me!

Dec. 19 2012 05:18 PM
Ryan from Wisconsin

I downloaded it just now, took a moment to get started but after it did there were no problems. Listened to the beginning and end after it finished.

Dec. 19 2012 03:59 PM
Marina from Brazil

I had to try 3 or 4 times (using the radiolab app) but eventually it worked... Only by streaming, however. couldn't download it.

Dec. 19 2012 02:06 PM
Bob from South Carolina

Don't know about streaming, but downloaded the program this morning and it seems perfectly fine. Very interesting episode as well.

Dec. 19 2012 01:59 PM
mike from harrisburg, pa

I hope i haven't just missed it, but i would love to hear the music used in your shows listed. What was the song with the hip hop style beats and the sitar after the mr. bliss section?

Dec. 19 2012 01:33 PM

Hey everybody, we're wrestling with some tech difficulties this morning -- we're aware of the weirdness with the podcast audio, and are working with our streaming provider to fix it...hope to have a solution soon, and will keep you posted. Thanks!

Dec. 19 2012 10:55 AM
Mike Schill from Omaha, nE

Weird edit at 33:59, in case you want to pinpoint what the possible complaints might be. Good podcast!

Dec. 19 2012 10:06 AM
Barry Bounous from Provo, Utah

The first 8 minutes of Bliss were great. Love to hear the rest. (Itunes download).

Dec. 19 2012 09:26 AM
Toe Knee from Italy

I have had the above mentioned problem, where the stream quits at about 15minutes or so. I tried:

- Apple iTunes Podcast
- Stitcher
- Radiolab iOS App

All with same result.

Dec. 19 2012 08:37 AM
bob minder

my podcast ended with the word ephemeral.

was that post-modern literary art or was my podcast cut short?

heard this from anyone else? how can i get the rest?

thanks for such good good stuff!

bob minder

Dec. 19 2012 07:57 AM

Thanks guys. I think after all the sadness in the world's events(esp Sandy Hook) everyone needed something that would give us a boost. I think we all needed to be reminded that there is still joy in the world.

Dec. 19 2012 02:50 AM
Dav from Denver

I don't know what you guys are talking about, I streamed it fine. NOT! Come on, Radiolab, I am more excited than ever to hear this episode, and for some reason I can't!

Dec. 19 2012 02:23 AM
Max from Sacramento

C'mon, Radiolab, you guys work with *the best* people in technology in and around NYC. Now, is it that hard to upload a podcast? The proof is there in the Podcast(r) directory in iTunes: there are scores of prepubescent nerds playing their little casual games who have uploaded their latest ~2 GB installment of pointless casual "gaming" *FLAWLESSLY*, while the great and mighty Radiolab struggled to upload a measly ~67 MB file. Please, Radiolab, help me and your other loyal listeners successfully and - if you'll pardon the pun - blissfully enjoy the "Bliss" podcast.

Your ever-grateful fan,
Max from Sacramento

Dec. 19 2012 02:03 AM
DC from Bmore

Has anyone successfully streamed this episode yet? I'm getting all of these described problems. Download speed is on average 4.4 KB/s. Can't listen to an hour long stream if it takes four hours to download. Whats goin on here? Excited and Anxious to hear new ep.

Dec. 19 2012 01:49 AM
Evan from Alfalfa, OR

There is a problem with this podcast everywhere I try to listen. It either won't load or it does and skips constantly. I tried your website, iTunes and the NPR site.

Dec. 19 2012 01:34 AM
Chuck from United States

There may be a problem with this podcast. I attempted to hear it on Stitcher. There were constant interruptions due to buffering problems. I then attempted the same thru ITunes and had the same problem. I THEN attempted to hear it thru your website and continued to have the problem.


Chuck SAnders

Dec. 19 2012 12:56 AM

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