JoyBubbles and Imaginary Friends

WNYC RadioLab has done an amazing podcast concerning “JoyBubbles” (AKA: Joe Engressia Jr., 1949 – 2007 ):  A boy born blind, abused by Catholic nuns but who climbed out of the damage using an amazing skill to find success in life.  BUT, and here is the rub, in the end he rejects his success to return to a higher priority — his inner life and to again embrace childhood.

JoyBubble’s story starts at the 48 minute mark on this podcast.  The last few seconds of the podcast is JoyBubbles speaking the following:

“Yeah, there is help. If you’d like an imaginary friend, a bunch of them come that are just looking for someone to love and play with and talk to. And, so all you have to do is any quiet day, just get quiet and ask for one. Know that the kind you like will come and they will be with you as long as you want them and as long as you need them. For a lifetime and beyond.”

Wow!  How powerful imaginary friends.  How important our childhoods.  And how mysterious our inner life.    This is a peek into the religious mind, without the theology.  Studying the extremes helps us to understand the working parameters of what we consider normal.

See my other posts on invisible friends:



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

8 responses to “JoyBubbles and Imaginary Friends

  1. Wow, what a great show! It reminds me of “This American Life” on NPR.

    But specific to the content, I think you make a great point about this being a peek into the religious mind. Imaginary friends can be very comforting.

  2. @ The Wise Fool,
    That was an amazing story, wasn’t it?
    I must say that I am starting to put little value to your comments since you and I sound like we think so much alike! 😉
    Work a little harder to disagree, will ya. I hate echo chambers.

    Agreeing with you, I think many non-religious folks misunderstand the power of invisible friends. In fact, while we may think we don’t have such friends, I think the nature of mind is such that we inevitably do — though for many they are enemies because they don’t know how to nurture friends.

    Meanwhile, you might enjoy those links to my other posts I provided.

  3. OK, I guess I’ll stop stroking your ego now, and tell you what I really think! 😉

    Hailing from way back, I disagree with the way you pee. Trying to time flushing the toilet with the end of your yellow stream is just silly. So there!

    Seriously though, I just checked out those four posts. Congrats on the Adventure Race, by the way! My favorite of the four was about your son’s teddy bear.

    Most of my fantasy play was toy centered, and most of those toys were cartoon centered, so I ended up essentially making up my own episodes when I played. (Except at school, when pencils, pens, and erasers became my toys.) I think I transitioned away from playing when learning actually became interesting, but I am sure video games played a role in the demise of imaginative playtime too. But as I’ve gotten older, I feel I am missing out by not still having imaginative. I don’t have my own kids, so I will often invite fantasy play with my nieces and nephews when I’m in town, and always have a great time with it!

  4. @ The Wise Fool,
    If you didn’t like the peeing, wait till I put up my post about showering !
    Yeah, imagination is great.

  5. That is really cool. Thanks for posting it. I adored my imaginary friends. While I am perpetually annoyed with everyday adults “embracing their inner child”, I do think an imaginary friend would be great to have. I suppose adults grab onto other things like collections and good luck symbols. Or maybe celebrities.

    My neighbor’s daughter told me about hers. I said oh, I had an imaginary friend once! The little girl then said, what happened to her? Not being a kid person, I made the mistake of just making up an answer without thinking. I said oh, she moved out of state. The girl got the saddest look! The dad laughed and said, don’t worry, there was no good answer to that question. 😉

  6. exrelayman

    Thanks for the steer. Fascinating person, that JoyBubbles, and uplifting to see he lifted himself up from severe adversity to some level of Joy.

  7. Ben

    Reblogged this on Village Idiot and commented:
    Somewhere in this blog post and the attached podcast is the secret to the universe.

  8. @ exrelayman: glad you enjoyed

    @ Ben: I am sure the pod cast contains some of the secrets to the universe — but there are many. The illusion that there is ONE secret or ONE meaning is pervasive.

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