Emotions Part Two

May 31, 2017
Originally published on July 31, 2017 4:37 pm

Note: In this show, we refer to a group of people who live in the Philippines. The name of the group has multiple valid English spellings, including Ifugal and Ifugao. We have opted for the former pronunciation for our story.

We'd like to thank the following musicians:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

HANNA ROSIN, HOST:

Hey, before we get started, if you haven't heard it, you should listen to Up First, the morning news podcast from NPR. When news moves fast, it's the quick morning update on what's happened and what you need to start the day. Wake up with Up First tomorrow morning by 6 a.m. Eastern time on the NPR One app and wherever you listen to podcasts.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ALIX SPIEGEL, HOST:

This is where our story about the discovery of an emotion ends...

RENATO ROSALDO: (Vocalizing).

SPIEGEL: ...With a man howling in a car in California.

ROSALDO: (Vocalizing).

SPIEGEL: ...Alone but free in a strange way.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPIEGEL: Or any way, more free than he was before he found the emotion.

ROSALDO: (Vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROSIN: Welcome to INVISIBILIA, part two of the Emotion show. I'm Hanna Rosin.

SPIEGEL: And I'm Alix Spiegel. INVISIBILIA is a show about all of the invisible forces that shape human behavior, our thoughts, our beliefs, our concepts.

ROSIN: And we have been talking a lot about emotions, more specifically how our concepts shape our emotions. If you want to fully understand what I'm talking about, go listen to part one of the episode, but it's not required. We have plenty of listening pleasure ahead, including a rom-com about throw up. But first, anthropologist Renato Rosaldo hunts down a feeling and feels the hunt.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROSIN: Alix tells the story. Abby Wendle produced.

SPIEGEL: To tell this story, we have to go back to the 1960s in the world of mid-century anthropology when Renato and his wife, Shelly, were launching their careers. At the time, they were looking for a research subject, a group of people that they could live with and learn about. And a professor that Renato knew brought up this isolated, unresearched tribe that lived in the rain forest in the Philippines. They had a beautiful name.

ROSALDO: Ilongot - it means from the forest.

SPIEGEL: Now, it wasn't exactly an accident that this tribe was unstudied and totally isolated. It was because they had what many in the West saw as an unfortunate cultural practice.

ROSALDO: They're known for their headhunting.

SPIEGEL: And what do you mean when you say that? Can you just - what do you mean they're known for that? What is their headhunting?

ROSALDO: Well, they raid, and then they'll kill somebody and cut off their heads.

SPIEGEL: In fact, one of the last researchers who had lived with them.

ROSALDO: A man named William Jones.

SPIEGEL: Though he didn't have his actual head removed by the tribe...

ROSALDO: He was killed by them.

SPIEGEL: Granted he was threatening one of their elders but still.

ROSALDO: Nobody wanted to go back.

SPIEGEL: But Renato and Shelly were undeterred. They knew headhunting was more complicated than an evil act of savagery, the caricature of it used by some to justify the colonization of the Philippines. What they wanted to do was immerse themselves in the world of the Ilongot, learn how the community saw themselves and their emotions. So in 1968, they packed up their things - mosquito nets, notebooks, a huge reel-to-reel tape recorder - and flew to a remote region of the Philippines and from there hiked uphill. They climbed dirt paths that became narrower and narrower, the lush vegetation shutting out everything familiar.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Vocalizing).

SPIEGEL: For the first couple of months, Renato says, he and his wife were total novices. They couldn't even walk through the forest without falling down. What they did have going for them was a single sentence.

ROSALDO: How do you say X in Ilongot?

SPIEGEL: And for a long time, it was just that. How do you say X in Ilongot? And they'd point to X.

ROSALDO: And so we learned like that.

SPIEGEL: But over time, as they linked these words together into chains of phrases and sentences, the complexities of the Ilongot culture took shape. And Renato began to do one of the more difficult and poetic aspects of his anthropological work - map of the territory of the tribe's emotional world.

ROSALDO: See, that's one of the difficulties with cultural translation. It doesn't map one to one onto our concepts. It overlaps and then goes into somewhat different directions.

SPIEGEL: The concept of an Ilongot elbow maps one to one with the concept of an American elbow because an elbow is an elbow is an elbow. So it's more straightforward than, for instance, Ilongot love. But Renato had a method for decoding these more nuanced concepts. First, he would ask, how do you say I love you in Ilongot?

ROSALDO: I love you would be (speaking Ilongot). I hurt for you.

SPIEGEL: And how do you guys express it?

ROSALDO: Through different ways of touching, throwing stones toward each other to attract each other's attention.

SPIEGEL: And then he'd ask, what are the parameters of this word? Where does it go? Like, when do you guys stop calling it love and start calling it something else, like friendship or lust? And while no Ilongot emotion expressed itself exactly the same or followed the precise terrain of an American one, Renato felt confident that he could do his job and translate these emotions.

ROSALDO: Oh, yes, they were familiar enough to me, yes.

SPIEGEL: All but one.

ROSALDO: Liget.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLAPPING)

SPIEGEL: Liget - the feeling that Renato came to learn was at the very core of the tribe's emotional world. But at first, he says, it really didn't seem so central. It looked like a simple feeling - more complicated than an elbow but less complicated than love. And it seemed to have what we would think of as positive connotations.

ROSALDO: When I feel liget in my heart, I'm energized. I can do lots of things.

SPIEGEL: Renato would see a young man bounding up the trail, and members of the tribe would tell him...

ROSALDO: That man is o'liget.

SPIEGEL: And he would think, yes, and scribble into his notebook words like energetic, productive, vital.

ROSALDO: He's like an energetic, productive guy. I can chop down 10 trees from the forest today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPIEGEL: But then one night, liget exploded out of that definition and launched into an emotional landscape Renato had never encountered before. It began innocently. One of the things that Renato did as an anthropologist is tape record interviews with members of whatever group he was studying. The tapes you hear in this piece are from his collection of the Ilongot. And one evening when he was sitting with the tribe, someone asked if he could play them a tape.

ROSALDO: The people were pleading with us, let us hear some of the old tapes. We'd like to hear it.

SPIEGEL: So out came the tape deck, and everybody huddled close to listen. They smiled as they heard themselves sing and talk.

(CROSSTALK)

SPIEGEL: But then, the voice of a man who had recently died began to play.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Unintelligible).

SPIEGEL: His name was Tagem. He was an elder who had been deeply loved and respected by the tribe but had died suddenly and out of turn before his older brother.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Shouting in foreign language).

ROSALDO: The room went suddenly silent and I saw men's eyes all turned red. And they said, turn off the tape. They couldn't stand it, and their faces were like masks of their ordinary faces. Their lips were curled. Their eyes were narrow and then they were talking about - that this makes our hearts feel liget.

SPIEGEL: This is what they told him.

ROSALDO: It makes us want to take a head. They were telling me this over and over. It makes us want to take a head. It makes us want to take a head. It makes us want to take a head. It makes us want to take a head. It makes us want to take a head.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSALDO: They need to take a human head and throw it. I was just stunned. I said, I've never heard this kind of feeling with this intensity in my life. I felt afraid.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPIEGEL: What was liget? Renato had thought he understood. Inside its boundaries were energetic, vital, able to chop down 10 trees, but that night, the Ilongot dragged liget into uncharted territory, into an emotional world of chaos and violence.

ROSALDO: I said there's something here I don't understand that I have to understand if I was going to know who these people were.

SPIEGEL: So he began to retrace his steps, talking to everybody in the village. From what he could piece together, liget was the communal feeling of being unmoored and out of control. Different things could bring this powerful feeling on - a death or the painful reminder of it - but then the feeling would go viral, spreading from the individual most closely affected to everyone else in the tribe. One way they expressed the feeling, Renato says, is to gather together and wail. But the primary way that liget was exorcised, the way the feeling was cleared, was through the communal act of headhunting, the detachment of a human head from its body.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPIEGEL: As Renato talked to people and gathered information on liget, he could tell there was something sterile and academic about his understanding.

ROSALDO: We were out of our depth.

SPIEGEL: He just couldn't grasp the force of liget, the way it drove men to kill. It was like he had described the color blue without ever seeing it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROSIN: When we return, Renato finally sees the color blue.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPIEGEL: After several years of living with the Ilongot, Renato and Shelly flew home to California. In the states, he continued to puzzle over liget. He spoke at academic conferences, listened again and again to his tapes, but his understanding of it still felt remote, academic. Then came the fall of 1981. Renato and Shelly had decided to explore another culture. They'd chosen the Ifugal, a different group indigenous to the rain forest of the Philippines.

ROSALDO: Ifugal is famous for it rice terraces, so you see a lot of standing water and rice growing out of the water. It's quite beautiful.

SPIEGEL: So they packed up their lives, including their two young sons - one 5 years old, the other 14 months - and moved back to the rain forest. Their first night in the forest, Renato and Shelly slept under mosquito nets, and at one point, heard terrifying howls in the darkness.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: (Howling).

SPIEGEL: The sound didn't wake up the kids, but Renato was haunted by it. So Shelly calmed him, whispering in his ear.

ROSALDO: We laid down and we talked. And we were talking about our plans, what we thought we might do and we were planning romantic dinners and escape to the beach.

SPIEGEL: The next morning, the family had planned to take a hike to another village nearby. But when they woke up, their youngest son was sick, so Renato and Shelly decided they couldn't both go. Someone had to stay behind with the boys.

ROSALDO: And so we tossed a coin to see who would stay and who would go.

SPIEGEL: Shelly won. She laced up her new hiking boots and headed out the door behind two Ifugal women, Conchita, the guide, and Conchita's cousin. And Renato laid back down with his son, rubbing his back, trying to get him to nap.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROSALDO: Then the next thing I know, I hear this...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: (Vocalizing).

ROSALDO: ...To meet terrifying silence. The village suddenly became very quiet. And then in walks the guide Conchita Cumalde. She walks in, and she says, don't panic. And then she said that Shelly had fallen.

SPIEGEL: Conchita led Renato along the trail, a sliver of hard ground barely wider than your feet. It wound between the edge of the rice terraces and a cliff. And when they arrived at the spot where Shelly fell, Renato looked down. It was a 65-foot drop to the river below.

ROSALDO: So I just kind of - and my breath was taken away, just that I knew that, oh, my God.

SPIEGEL: He started shouting at Conchita.

ROSALDO: I was saying, is Shelly alive? Is she alive? And Conchita wouldn't say. She said go down below. The men are down below. And I got down below, and I saw Shelly's body. The men were huddled around it, and I was looking at her body, and I saw a fly go in her mouth and then out. The feeling I had was just almost a cosmic heaving, expanding and contracting, expanding and contracting, expanding and contracting. But it wasn't just me. It was everything around me.

SPIEGEL: Eventually, Renato came back to himself and made clear to the men that he wanted a moment alone with his wife.

ROSALDO: I kind of motioned for them to step back, and I kissed her on the lips.

SPIEGEL: Looking back on this moment more than 30 years later, Renato still hasn't settled on the words for what he felt, but that day, crouching next to Shelly's body on the riverbank, he says the seed of an alien emotion he'd never experienced before began to grow inside him. It was muted at first, didn't fully express itself until after, after Renato had flown back to America and arranged the funeral, after his small children were fully resettled in preschool and in day care. After all that, it began to grow in him. Day by day, it would grow, but he had no place to put it, no way he could think to express it. Then one sunny California afternoon when he was driving down a highway in Palo Alto, he couldn't bear the pressure. So he pulled over on the side of the road, and this sound came roaring out of him.

ROSALDO: I, out of nowhere, just started howling. (Howling).

SPIEGEL: It wasn't liget in its fullness the way an Ilongot would experience it. It couldn't be. There were no tribe members to share it, but he felt this feeling in his body was liget. And he finally had English words for it.

ROSALDO: Like high voltage through my body.

SPIEGEL: High voltage - those are the English words that most closely approximate the feeling of liget - high voltage, an energy running through his body and out through his body through his mouth and into the world.

ROSALDO: It was like being in high voltage. Like, high voltage was flowing through my body. That's the feeling I get, and it's very powerful.

(SOUNDBITE OF HOWLING)

SPIEGEL: For several months after Shelly's death, these waves of high voltage would wash over Renato. He says he had no control over when the feeling would come to him or how long it would stay. But for a while, he was regularly hunting down a secluded place to howl.

ROSALDO: And I would just do that, like, for half an hour or an hour in the car, just park it and sit and just - because I felt like that was a place I could be as loud as I wanted without bothering anybody.

SPIEGEL: Do you think that you would have had liget if you had never seen it in the tribe?

ROSALDO: No, not to the same degree.

SPIEGEL: Because you were able to conceptualize it because you had seen it, and you had worked to understand it, then you were able to experience it?

ROSALDO: Yes, yes. It made it - instead of it being a confused morass, I had gave it form. And because it had form, I could inhabit it. I could dwell in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF HOWLING)

SPIEGEL: Renato says that he came to feel like this emotion, liget - it helped him in ways that the usual American palette of emotions written about in mainstream books about death did not help him. It was, he felt, a better way to grieve.

ROSALDO: It was a better way for me (laughter).

ROSIN: Why? Why was it better for you?

ROSALDO: Because I got a lot of release and relief from it. And if I tried to block it, if I tensed up, and I didn't breathe, and I was trying to block it and keep it out, that was terrible for me. But if I could relax, and it was on the edge of what I could tolerate, I could let the liget flow through me. Yeah, it was amazing relief. I sought it out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing, unintelligible).

ROSIN: INVISIBILIA will be right back.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPIEGEL: Welcome back to INVISIBILIA. I'm Alix Spiegel.

ROSIN: And I'm Hanna Rosin. This is part two of the emotion show.

SPIEGEL: So let's bring it home with one final story. This is about a very extreme attempt to control emotions, which, in my view, could totally be made into a rom-com. It's about this 26-year-old named Amelia Possanza who lives in New York City. Hanna tells this story. Meghan Keane - producer.

ROSIN: It was a warm spring night. Amelia was out on a date with a woman she'd met online, a chef. It was their third date, so that seemed like a good sign. But something was bothering Amelia.

AMELIA POSSANZA: We seemed to have a lot in common. But, like, no one had made a move at all, which, I think, really got in my head.

ROSIN: Was this girl into her? Was this going anywhere?

POSSANZA: And then, spur of the moment, we decided to go see "Mad Max." And we went to a showing that started at, like, midnight so we bought some, like, breakfast bacon bagels to go.

ROSIN: So with bacon bagels in hand, they settled in for "Mad Max: Fury Road."

POSSANZA: I don't know if you guys have seen the movie, but it's really intense. And it's just, like, nonstop motion the whole time.

ROSIN: On screen, Charlize Theron and her war rig was trying to outrun a ruthless warlord in a post-apocalyptic landscape. But inside Amelia's head, there was a completely different but every bit as intense drama playing out.

POSSANZA: And it's like - been a lot of dates. Nothing has happened. Like, I need to sort of force this moment.

So I'm sitting there in the movie theater, kind of like very alone with these thoughts about like...

Should I make a move? - which I do. Should I try and hold her hand? Am I going to be brave enough to do that?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MAD MAX: FURY ROAD")

CHARLIZE THERON: (As Imperator Furiosa) Want to get through this? Let's go.

ROSIN: With Furiosa-like intensity and focus, Amelia pushed her worries down, which worked fine until the movie ended. When they walked out to the quiet sidewalk, Amelia felt the chaos in her head start up again.

POSSANZA: What's the deal? I don't know how to read the signs. Am I reading the signs right?

ROSIN: The pressure was building...

POSSANZA: Is she into me? I don't know.

ROSIN: ...Overwhelming her.

POSSANZA: What is going on here? Like, can we sit down together and talk about this whole night? And, like, when I said this, what were you feeling?

ROSIN: Now, everybody knows that this relentless dissection of feelings on date three - not cool. Amelia knew it, too.

POSSANZA: You know, I wanted us to have, like, this really romantic first kiss and, like, be asked on another date.

ROSIN: But there in the back of her head, a small but increasingly urgent thought was threatening to kill her Hollywood ending.

POSSANZA: I think I'm going to throw up. Oh, no. This is not going to happen. Like, I'm in control here. Like, I don't want to throw up, so I'm not going to.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MAD MAX: FURY ROAD")

TOM HARDY: (As Max Rockatansky) Survive.

POSSANZA: And then I just sort of tipped over to a point where I was like, wow. There's no turning back.

ROSIN: Amelia threw up...

POSSANZA: Oh, my God.

ROSIN: ...Right in front of her date.

POSSANZA: Trying really hard to miss her feet.

(LAUGHTER)

POSSANZA: It's like, I don't want to throw up on you - just, like, near you or next to you.

ROSIN: Were you aiming away from the feet? Like, where were you aiming?

POSSANZA: I think just, like, straight down in front of me.

ROSIN: Oh, my God, the physics of a throw-up.

And despite her puke-splattered shoes, Amelia's date was nice about the whole thing. She offered to get Amelia water and to find her a place to sit. But Amelia understandably just wanted to go home.

Like, what's the parting conversation? Like, throw up on me again some time. Like, what are we - how...

(LAUGHTER)

ROSIN: What do you say after that?

POSSANZA: I think we did not talk about future plans at all. We, like, very chastely hugged.

ROSIN: Amelia brushed off the whole incident as a one-off thing. And then a few months later, Amelia was out with another woman. A mutual friend told them they should get to know each other because they both had an unironic love for One Direction. So they met up at a Mexican restaurant. And those same anxious questions started bubbling up in Amelia. All she wanted to do was just scream out her emotions clearly.

POSSANZA: Is this a date, or is it not? Or, like - you know, like, does this person date women? I'm not really sure. And...

ROSIN: Or is she just a lover of One Direction...

POSSANZA: Yeah.

ROSIN: ...Like me?

POSSANZA: And, like, they're all dudes (laughter).

And so we're just, like, at this nice Mexican restaurant talking probably about One Direction.

Deep breaths - look at the ceiling. Like, pretend you're somewhere else.

The food hadn't even come.

Think happy thoughts. And I was like, excuse me. And I, like, ran to the bathroom, and I threw up.

ROSIN: Sitting there on the bathroom floor, Amelia realized something.

POSSANZA: Oh, man. Like, there's a pattern here.

ROSIN: Amelia throws up on dates.

POSSANZA: This is happening. This is probably going to happen again.

ROSIN: And it did. Since then, she's thrown up at multiple Mexican restaurants, at Coney Island.

POSSANZA: In my step-grandmother's really fancy, renovated bathroom because I was about to go on a date.

ROSIN: Amelia tried treating the symptoms. She went to a nutritionist. She tried some medication.

POSSANZA: But that really didn't help.

ROSIN: So she started to look in a more psychological direction.

POSSANZA: Where did this come from?

ROSIN: And, eventually, she decided that the most likely source was her first real relationship with this woman she met in college.

POSSANZA: We dated for two and a half years. And it felt very serious. I had met her parents and spent time with her parents and vice versa. Like, we had gone on family vacations together.

ROSIN: This was her first love. And back then, Amelia made no attempt to censor herself. She talked endlessly about her feelings and endlessly asked her girlfriend to talk about her feelings and then talked about her reactions to her girlfriend's feelings and so on.

POSSANZA: What are you thinking right now? Like, what are you feeling? Or, like, that thing I said 10 minutes ago - what did you think of that?

ROSIN: The girlfriend wasn't much of an emotion dissector herself. She would tell Amelia...

POSSANZA: Be in the present moment. Like, why do we need to analyze that fight we had three weeks ago? Like, let's just move forward.

ROSIN: So Amelia just rolled with it and assumed if something was really wrong, her girlfriend would bring it up.

POSSANZA: I was, like, bopping along. Things are good. This is great. And then one day, I got a phone call that was just like, I don't love you anymore. She was emotional about it. It wasn't like in a happy, excited tone. But it was pretty abrupt. It was like, hey. And I was like, hey, what's up? And she was like, I don't love you anymore.

ROSIN: Oh.

In her intense post-breakup analysis we all do, Amelia figured out the problem, the fatal mistake she'd made that had doomed her relationship.

POSSANZA: I need to stop pestering people to talk so much about their feelings and to talk about mine and - because it annoys people.

ROSIN: Amelia resolved to keep her emotions more to herself - well, kind of.

POSSANZA: But the reality of it was, I think, I still did talk to other people about them. Or I would try and, like, divide up. You know, like, oh, I talked to this person yesterday. So, like, it's someone else's turn today. And if I, like, have the right rotation, like...

ROSIN: Yes. Yes.

POSSANZA: No one will ever know that all of these things belong to one person.

ROSIN: Oh, that sounds so familiar.

POSSANZA: (Laughter).

ROSIN: But with dates, Amelia was disciplined. And you know how that turned out.

POSSANZA: Throwing up was like all of those thoughts trying to physically come back out.

ROSIN: That's kind of an amazing mind-body connection (laughter). It's like you often think of the mind-body connection as a metaphor. But it's like - literally, like, if you don't let these thoughts out, honey...

(LAUGHTER)

POSSANZA: ...They're going to make you sick.

ROSIN: I'm going to do it for you (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROSIN: After a few months of pukey dates, Amelia got an email from an old friend. Did Amelia still live in New York? And would she like to catch up over dinner?

POSSANZA: And we had dinner. And it was, like - it was very, very wonderful. And I definitely went home and had that, like, familiar feeling of - was that a date?

ROSIN: But this time, instead of trying to push away her feelings, Amelia decided to just express them through a text message - baby steps.

POSSANZA: Yeah. Like, I think it something along the lines of - I couldn't sleep last night because I'm really into you.

ROSIN: The woman responded immediately, agreeing with Amelia that, yes, this was more than just a friends thing - and also with a joke about Zayn, formerly of One Direction.

POSSANZA: And I thought it was, like, so cute as a response. I definitely was like, I need to keep doing this honesty thing (laughter).

ROSIN: And she did do more of the honesty thing. They both did. They talked about exes and how they each felt about each other's exes. They did constant emotional check-ins about their relationship and where it was headed. Were they going on vacation next month? Were they going to move in together? And, over a year later, Amelia and her girlfriend are still together.

Were you at first like, this is such a great relief to get all of these things out not via throw up but via, like...

POSSANZA: Words? Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

POSSANZA: Yeah.

ROSIN: So problem solved - throw up conquered by honesty. The end.

Well, it turns out Amelia has a lot of feelings - so many that, even though she and her girlfriend talk about them a huge amount, the feelings still bubble up - and not always in word form.

POSSANZA: Like, ah.

ROSIN: It's rare, but it happens, particularly during stressful situations that can't be resolved right away, which has led Amelia to a whole new round of dissecting her overflow of emotions and an even bigger theory of where she developed that habit.

POSSANZA: My generation and also sort of, like, my race and class is one where we grew up with our parents saying, like, you know, we don't care what you do. We just want you to be happy - because I think in the past, there have been so many other expectations on children of what to do and who to be. And now we're in a time where parents do just say, oh, we just want you to be happy.

ROSIN: Be happy. I mean, if your parents tell you to get a job and make a certain amount of money, you know when you've achieved those things. But be happy? How are you supposed to know? It just makes you constantly question. Am I happy? How about now? Am I happy now?

POSSANZA: And then you end up sitting around, being, like, well, did I do this thing that my parents told me to do? Like, am I happy? Have I achieved it yet?

ROSIN: Do you think that part of why you're anxious might be because your parents essentially said to you the most important thing is for you to be happy?

POSSANZA: I definitely am not the person to have the final answer on that. But I can see how that question has led me to be hypersensitive, you know, to how I'm feeling and how other people are feeling.

ROSIN: Maybe it is what your parents told you. Maybe it's the culture. Maybe it's just being an anxious person to begin with. But it does seem like having happiness is your final goal - it actually moves you further away from that goal. Like, you chase it and chase it, and the chase itself trips you up and makes you less happy. Oof. You know what? Let's just take the easy way out. Blame it on the parents.

POSSANZA: (Laughter).

MEGHAN KEANE, BYLINE: Blame it on the parents. Boom - interview done. Just kidding.

ROSIN: (Laughter) Is this where all end up?

POSSANZA: Excuse me.

ROSIN: Don't throw up.

POSSANZA: I don't know if you guys can...

KEANE: (Laughter).

POSSANZA: I know. Could you hear that, like, giant burp?

ROSIN: Now that we've booted, time to rally.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THROW UP YR FEELINGS")

KNIFE MAN: (Singing) I was throwing up. Whoa. I was throwing up all of my feelings.

SPIEGEL: INVISIBILIA is hosted by me, Alix Spiegel...

ROSIN: And me, Hanna Rosin.

SPIEGEL: Our senior editor is Anne Gudenkauf. Our executive producer is Jeff Rogers. INVISIBILIA is produced by Meghan Keane, Yowei Shaw, Abby Wendle. Our show runner is Liana Simonds.

ROSIN: Our technical director is Andy Huether. We had help from Micaela Rodriguez, Jon Hamilton, Mark Memmott, Micah Ratner, Nancy Shute, Meredith Rizzo, Saidu Tejan-Thomas, Maria Paz Gutierrez, Caroline Kubzansky, Hillary McClellan (ph) and Viviane Fairbank. And our vice president of programming, Anya Grundmann.

SPIEGEL: Special thanks to Tiffany Watt Smith for pointing us to the liget story, Juliana Reyes (ph) for sharing her thoughts and Renato Rosaldo for his recordings of the Ilongot. We'd also like to thank the following musicians - Lanea S. (ph) for her song "Her Presence Is Strong Here," Myriadar for "Cart Before The Horse."

ROSIN: Chris Zabriskie for "We Were Never Meant To Live Here," Eagle Owl and Tommy Perman for letting us use a remix of "Eagleowl. Vs. Woodpigeon," Blue Dog sessions for "Chi." Used under a Creative Commons attribution license, John Luc Heffernan for his song "Upbeat" and Knifeman for the song we're closing this episode with, "Throw Up Yr Feelings." For more information on these musicians and to see the amazing, original illustrations we have for every episode this season by the fabulous Marina Muun, go to npr.org/invisibilia. And now for our moment of non-Zen.

(SOUNDBITE OF HOWLING)

ROSIN: That was like liget, the "Sesame Street" edition.

(LAUGHTER)

ROSIN: Join us next time for more...

SPIEGEL: INVISIBILIA.

ROSIN: Did you know that INVISIBILIA has a newsletter? Subscribe for all kinds of extra bonus content that you can't get anywhere else, staff-curated playlists, supplemental reading, the occasional gif - it's all there. Get it once a week during the run of Season 3. Subscribe now at npr.org/newsletter/invisibilia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.