To create his map of the mind, the Dalai Lama hired Paul Ekman, a psychologist who advised on Pixar’s Inside Out, the animated film set inside a girl’s head.
Ekman surveyed 149 emotion scientists, neuroscientists and psychologists to corroborate five broad categories of emotions: anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment. He then set out to map them visually with the help of cartography and data visualization.
A series of abstract landscapes depict the emotional states offering insight into the relationships between feelings, triggers and behaviors. The graphics show emotional continents expanding and contracting in a white sea while an emotional navigator helps users avoid rocky shoals.
The Atlas of Emotions is agnostic. “If we see this research work as relying on religious belief or tradition, then it automatically becomes limited,” said the Dalai Lama.
As research and experience have shown, the collective mirrors the individual, and it’s a new era for brands and organizations to balance self-awareness and constructive action. “Ultimately, our emotion is the real troublemaker,” said the Dalai Lama. “We have to know the nature of that enemy.”
“What people need to do is to learn how to counter their various emotions,” he noted. “Distraction is just a temporary measure. The longer standing remedy is, for example, to be able to see positive qualities in something or someone you otherwise see as negative. Since there is rarely any justification for destructive emotions, people need to become more aware of the causes of their emotions and how to apply antidotes to them.”