Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We Feel Fine ... Or Do We?

A few months ago I came across a website that I thought was interesting.  I initially learned about this experiment from a video on  Basically, two guys named Jonathan Harris & Sepandar Kamvar had an idea to harvest feelings from people all over the world.  So they created  This site is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale.

This is how it works... Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling."  When it finds such a phrase. it records the full sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.).  Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written.  All of this information is saved.  

Resulting in a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 - 20,000 new feelings per day.  Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans?  Do women feel fat more often than men?  Does rainy weather affect how we feel?  What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20's?  Which is the happiest cities in the world?  The saddest?  And so on.

"At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone.  It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what's on our blogs, what's in our hearts, what's in our minds.  WE hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life" (Josh and Kamvar).

I would encourage everyone to go on this site and simply observe the myriad of emotions documented by people all over the world.  It is truly fascinating to think about what people are going through on a daily basis.  On the other hand, it is so sad to read about how many people are hurting and crying out for someone to just listen.  There are some serious and disturbing entires that I have come across when viewing the site in the past.  For example... at this very moment...

93,390 people feel  - bad
254 - disgusting 
3,182 - dead
4,276 - fat
3,383 - stressed
31,591 - guilty 
17,988 - alone
7,273 - depressed
14,602 - lost
2,897 - ashamed 

This is just a few selections from the numerous emotions being described all over the world via blogs.  You might be wondering why I am so concerned about this... or why I even brought it up.  Well...

Often I get caught up in the Christian subculture that I am constantly surrounded by.  It is so easy to just interact with tother Christians and have friends that share the same belief system... while never reaching out to those who are hurting. has shown me that there are so many people out there who are hurting and dying inside everyday.  How often do I really listen... really try to interact with people, striving to understand what really is going on it their lives?

I Peter 3:15 says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect."  People are hungry for truth, for something real to believe in... for a Savior.  Christ died to set every one of these individuals free... free from guilt... free from anger... free from feeling lost and disgusting.  He shed Hist blood for humanity... so that in Him we can find true hope that surpasses tough days and emotional loneliness.

This has opened my eyes to be on the lookout for people who need someone to listen... someone to empathize with them.  Then... I can share the love of Christ with these hurting people. 


Anonymous said...

wow, Bobby--thanks for posting about this site. it's incredible and i'll check it often.

it's good to hear y'all are well! please tell your amazing wife that she's amazing and i miss her--

Kristen Torres-Toro :0)

Bobby said...

I will tell her for sure. She misses you too... she talks about you a lot! Hope you are doing well.