Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Friday and We're Feeling Better

"I feel the tears begin to form again as I try and push away the feeling of her looking down on me again."

"I simply want to feel good about the work I do and earn a salary which allows me to live."

"I feel like I'm good enough, but does she."

"I feel more sure of myself just by writing down what I want to do in my life."

"I feel as if someone has taken my bra."

The statements above were collected in the hours just before I began writing today's post by We Feel Fine, a Web site that describes itself as "an exploration of human emotion on a global scale." We Feel Fine is powered by a program that scours the world's blogs every few minutes for statements starting "I feel..." or "I am feeling..."

We Feel Fine was created in 2005 by Jonathan Harris, an extravagantly gifted young artist with a degree in computer science from Princeton, and Sep Kamvar, another artist whose day job is professor of computational mathematics at Stanford University. I first became aware of the project in 2007, when Harris's TED talk about "the Web's secret stories" was posted online. His second talk, "Jonathan Harris collects stories," is even more fascinating.

In December 2009, Harris and Kamvar packaged some of their more fascinating findings about feelings into a beautifully designed book, "We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion." One thing you will discover: when we humans write about our feelings, we are surprisingly poetic.

By the way, the most common feeling in the past 24 hours is "better." Things are looking up!

“Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy."
~ Henri Frederic Amiel

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