Trial and Error

Firsthand, empirical knowledge is a way of knowing we modern humans have gotten away from. The atomic number of carbon, the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro, how ant colonies work–these are things most of us never figure out ourselves. And fortunately, we don’t have to. Yet, on that tricky matter of how to be a human, how to live well, what to do with ourselves, we are left all alone. There’s no blueprint, no roadmap. We have to figure it out ourselves. Today on our show, three stories of people doing just that–making mistakes to learn how to live. First, a graduate student comes to a professor with a problem involving men. How does she solve it? Trial and error. Next, a story about a drastic case of trial and error, trepanation, the drilling of a hole in the skull. Last, the story of one man who spent fifteen years trying to believe something he just didn’t know if he could believe. Who succeeds? Who fails? And was it worth it?

Host: Charlie Mintz

Producers: Charlie Mintz, Xandra Clark, Will Rogers

Featuring: Professor John Krumboltz, Pankaj Tandon, Galen Menzel

Release Date: 23 May 2011



Story 1: Jagged, White Bone

When he was young, John Krumboltz wanted to be a doctor. When he was a little older, he wanted to be a baseball player. But life had other plans for him: compound fractures and curveballs.

Producer: Charlie Mintz



Story 2: What is Wrong with Men?

More from Professor Krumboltz. He tells a story that illustrates his practice of counseling–getting people to take action that will enable them to feel better. It’s a story about making mistakes, trying something new, and shiny red sports cars.



Story 3: Hole in the Skull

People do all kinds of things to make themselves feel better. But few do anything as drastic as having a hole drilled in their skull. This is the story of someone who did exactly that.

Producers: Galen Menzel and Will Rogers



Story 4: The Belief Experiment

What happens when you treat religion like an experiment? The hypothesis: practice and belief will result in transcendence. What happens when you start to doubt that hypothesis?

Producer: Xandra Clark

Featuring: Pankaj Tandon