07 June 2006

Documented emotion on the Tree of Life

for each story
in our radial ontology

and for each player in those stories

and for each emotion
experienced by those players

assign a distinct emotion-color

with similar emotions
getting similar colors

we assume that most human branches
will have experienced some shades
of every flavor of emotion

but we have almost no evidence
of who what where and when

so if an artifact survives
that 'documents' a past emotion

let us light
an appropriately colored star
at that time and place

(a dimmed cloud
if these are
as usual

with unambiguous documents
shining in pure colors
and ambiguous

and first let's map
the innovators of documentation

who purified an emotion-color
in a surviving artifact-document
for the first time

these stars will cluster strongly
around individual artistic geniuses

and cluster more weakly
across eras of more general genius

and the palette of colors
will gradually fill out
as overlooked
or taboo emotions are added

but even as more and more artifacts
documenting more emotions
more clearly

we still have to doubt
the authenticity
of each particular depiction
that claims to pertain
to a specific branch
at a specific point

for publication usually
assumes a public

the advent of photography
meant that occasional
true faces
were captured at specific
times and places

and the advent of flickr
means that dozens of these are now published
every second