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By (March 6, 2009) ()

Q: Select an emotion. Observe and describe what triggered the emotion for you. Reverse Engineer the trigger for a different emotional outcome.

Lately, I’ve been pursuing through the public entries listed on futureme.org. Futureme is a website that allows users to write letters to themselves which are delivered via e-mail at a later date. Of the 734,076 letters written, about 15% of them have been designated as ‘public’. That means anyone can read them.

Initially I was amused by the kinds of things people choose to write to themselves. Common themes included work, relationships, school, etc. All the obvious stuff. With each reading, I was able to read a snapshot of an individual’s person’s life at a particular moment in time.  Simple curiosity acted as the trigger for amusement.

I continued to read letters. One after another… Though my time would have been better spent sleeping, I continued to read more letters. By now I’ve read more than 1000 letters.

Though after reading that many letters, I started to form conclusions… Conclusions about everything. But most importantly I discovered:

People are screwed up. Majorly.

Eventually, simple curiosity was no longer the trigger. Instead, I began thinking more about the ontology of themes woven in these narratives. The emotional response was no longer amusement but something more serious. Each letter is unique; but often speak of: fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, happiness, hope, love, disgust, embarrassment, shame, guilt or pride.

March 6, 2009

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