National Geographic survey

Thanks to a referral by my dear friend Tim, I just got finished with an anonymous online survey called, “In Your Face,” by National Geographic. It prompted me to view a series of faces and specify what emotion the individual was feeling. After I was done, the survey compared my answers to those of a policeman in the USA. Needless to say, I was better than a cop at determining a person’s state of mind by their facial expression. Scary. Next, I was prompted to describe the greatest fear, anger, sadness, and joy that could ever be felt by a human. For your amusement, I’ve listed my answers below.

I have felt fear so deep and intense that I thought I had lost my mind. Which, in fact, I had. This is extremely difficult to put into words, as I was on an LSD experience. I was with a couple of close friends, along the shores of Lake Superior. I was making drip castles with sand by the lake, and feeling like I was about six years old, having a merry time. Suddenly, my friend came up to me and said something like, “You’d better get away, because I might really hurt you.” His voice had changed, and his eyes rolled back in his head, and he was shaking and convulsing. It seemed like he was possessed, and my reaction to this new stimulus was ampliefied by the LSD. I remember feeling like time had stopped, and my heart along with it. The child-like innocence I had felt just minutes earlier had disappeared. I felt threatened. My whole world was about to end. I didn’t feel safe. My quickening pulse reminded me that, no, my heart had never actually stopped, but was beating faster. I felt like a young child who was about to get abducted. By aliens, no less. Although, the LSD was very powerful, I somehow managed to stammer out his name, at which point he stopped and said, “What?” He then proceeded to pretend that nothing had ever happened, which terrified me even more. Needless to say, it was difficult for me to enjoy the rest of the experience. I couldn’t be sure if it was some practical joke. Later, in the car, I thought I heard him say to me in a low voice, “Yes, slave, I am your master.” I spent months dwelling on the event, and slowly drove a wedge between myself and my friends, family and my sanity. That was in 1992. Although I’ve felt fear at various junctures of my life, that event somehow ranks the highest as far as intensity. And on closer analysis of the fear, I realize that the fear was that of a child who had somehow been robbed of his/her innocence.

Moral of the story: the fear that children feel far surpasses that of what adults may ever experience.
Moral of the story 2: if you’re going to do LSD, make sure you trust the people implicitly.


The most intense anger is one that is unstoppable, and continues rebirthing itself. It sees no boundaries, and will lead one to violent physical action and/or extremely harsh speech. One loses oneself completely, and emerges feeling completely spent.


Sadness can be so great that one cries all the time; never seeing sunshine when the sun is out; never seeing friends when they are sitting next to you, holding you; never knowing how to make the sadness stop. Tears will not suffice. Anger only clouds the sadness, and doesn’t make it go away.

The greatest joy will lead one to peals of laughter, to tears, and to insurmountable heights of spirit.

Take the survey

Posted: March 13th, 2005
Categories: culture
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