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February 20, 2004

Promised Land

For millennia, people have tried to reach a spiritual promised land by fasting. Jesus did it. Buddha did it. Monks and saints and new age gurus have done it. And, for for this episode, the late David Rakoff tried it. He did a 20-day fast, to find out if it would bring him any form of enlightenment. Also, contributor Starlee Kine tells a story about getting as close to one promised land as you possibly can, without actually going in.

Prologue

Fans of movie musicals might know about something called the "I Wish" number. In many movies and Broadway shows, it's the main character's first song, in which they express the hope that will set the story in motion. Host Ira Glass explains it, and plays a few examples. (7 minutes)

Life In The Fast Lane

For millennia, people have tried to reach a spiritual promised land by fasting. Jesus did it. Buddha did it. Monks and saints and new age gurus have done it. And, for for this episode, David Rakoff tried it. He did a 20-day fast, to find out if it would bring him any form of enlightenment. David died in 2012, eight years after reporting this story. We devoted an episode to him and his stories. (25 minutes)

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