Help! – Radiolab



I enjoyed listening to this podcast today. I was surprised to encounter Zelda Gamson in it. She is the wife of one of my grad school professors, Bill Gamson. It’s not at all coincidental that he’s the scholar to whom I probably owe the most in getting me started in thinking systematically about social change. Here is Zelda talking about personal change, in particular, giving up smoking. The way she goes about motivating herself to do so is intimately connected with social change, which you’ll see if you listen to the podcast. (Incidentally, I have never met Zelda in person.)

It’s also interesting to hear from Olive Sachs, who appears to be a frequent guest on WYNC’s RadioLab.

I was also fascinated to hear Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the global sensation Eat, Pray Love (2006), which I also have not read. I can hear fellow yogis groaning across the internet, or more specifically yoginis, for to put words to that groan, it might be something like “it’s because he’s a guy.” Yes, I did overhear about it at the studio, and yes, it’s on my radar, but somewhat at the periphery. In any case, it was fascinating to have a peek into her creative process, because male or female, we who write or create struggle with the process.

I really like the way she was able to articulate in an interview a very poetic and spiritual view of how inspiration comes to us. If she writes anything like she verbalizes, then that moves the book closer to the center of my radar.

In any case, I do seem to prefer her model of personal change, based more upon attraction and negotiation than upon coercion, offers which the self cannot refuse. There is a dialectic of self and other at work here. For the sociologist, it is a dialectic of  self and society and for her, it is between self and higher self. These notions have not fully percolated with me yet, but I place another trail of breadcrumbs on this voyage, marking a place to which to return.


What do you do when your own worst enemy is…you? This hour, Radiolab looks for ways to gain the upper hand over those forces inside us–from unhealthy urges, to creative insights–that seem to have a mind of their own.

We meet a Cold War negotiator who, in order to quit smoking, backs himself into a tactical corner, and we visit a clinic in Russia where patients turn to a radical treatment to help fight their demons. Plus, Elizabeth Gilbert lays out strategies for doing battle with your muse.

Guests: Adam Davidson, David Eagleman, Elizabeth Gilbert, Oliver Sacks and Thomas C. Schelling

You v. You

Zelda Gamson tried for decades to stop smoking. But while one part of her wanted to quit, another part just didn’t want to let go. So, how do you win a tug-of-war with yourself? We decided to ask one of the greatest negotiators of our time for some advice. Adam …

Me, Myself, and Muse

Imagine you’re a writer, but the words won’t come. Could you bargain with creativity to get past your writer’s block? Oliver Sacks found himself in that very situation back in 1968: he was struggling to finish his first book, and got stuck. He imposed a deadline on himself that, while …

The Fear in Me?

Can fear change you for the better? Gregory Warner from Marketplace takes us to a clinic in Russia that aims to scare patients sober–with a pill called “the torpedo.” Vyacheslav Davidov, the doctor who runs the clinic, describes the treatment and makes a case for the therapeutic powers …

via Help! – Radiolab.


About Richard Hudak

I am Senior Adjunct Faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and I have been a practitioner of Anusara™ yoga. I have completed 200 hours of teacher training within its diaspora community, consistent with its philosophy and alignment principles.
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3 Responses to Help! – Radiolab

  1. Pingback: The Twelfth Post – Existential Courage | The Considered Kula

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