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PERIODIC TABLE OF THE EMOTIONS

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In the 1930s Edwin Land spilled iodine on a sheet of plastic, looked through it, and discovered how to polarize light. In 1937 he formed the Polaroid Corporation. It wasn’t the only time an accident has led to a major discovery. In 1953 while researching biocryptological compounds, E.F. Kennedy, a CIA researcher, was trying to find a link between minerals and brain chemistry when he poured powdered creamer into his coffee.

His coworkers came by later, looking for their misplaced container of powder. Dr. Kennedy had found it, and was by then up to his elbows in multi-dimensional problem solving. Rumors surfaced that on that day he had invented, or at least thought of, a gyro car that balanced on a beach ball and could sleep two.

But what he will not be known for was his finest achievement: the link between earth’s elements and human emotions. He reasoned that if a grand logic assembles everything in the universe, it should be visible to someone who knew how to see it. Given that all the known elements have predictable properties, their behaviors have a constancy. Can the same be said for human emotions?

With the help of insights produced by the mysterious powder, Dr. Kennedy identified six realms from which human emotions spring. For example, the sensation "annoyed," arises from the intellect, yet also has a physical component that could be called "irritated." Other feelings would turn out to be so intrinsic to human nature that they could be found in any culture anywhere at any point in history. For example, certain native peoples have no word for “lost,” yet all cultures have a word for “good.”

They also found that some feelings only occur in relation to a second person; for instance, a person alone on an island could never be likable or friendly. These feelings they would call Communal. Finally, some basic feelings could only be first learned by young children in school.

In all, his team came up with 714 feeling words. Of these, 103 fit neatly into the then-current Periodic Table of Elements. His work was declassified in 2003.