The Realization That Everyone Has A Story


sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. From “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” (http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/) Narrated, written, directed, edited and coined by John Koenig. ….. “Sonder. You are the main character-the protagonist-the star at the center of your own unfolding story.

  • Dusty Memoli (338) November 24, 2014

    [Sonder] From Reddit
    Q: What fact do you accept intellectually, but still feels “wrong” to you?

    A: That everyone else around me has a life just a complex as mine, but to me they are just classmates, friends or strangers walking by on the street.

    I am frequently blown away by this. Particularly when I look up at a plane flying by overhead, and I think that there are so many people up there with complex emotional lives and their only impact on me is that they briefly existed in a plane miles above me and I will never even know them.

    I think about this when I’m driving down the highway a lot. Like, if it’s a good 2 hour drive, just think about all the cars you pass, or the cars that pass you. Every single one of those cars has their own destination to go to, and they have their own plans to do once they get to there.

    • Martijn Schirp (112,780)A November 24, 2014

      Can you imagine the lives all the previous generation of (proto-)human beings? How weird for them everything must have been? How many complex ideas, thoughts, languages, perception, religions have vanished forever?

      • Eric (1,819)M November 24, 2014

        Reminds me of Alan Watts speaking of nothingness. Eventually, everything we’ve thought, loved, felt, experienced, believed in, whatever, will be gone; it will all be nothing. Some might find this scary, that they and everyone they know will die, along with the current value systems and others in place today…but what is more peaceful than nothing? Nothing I suppose.. ;)

    • JonH (1,139)C November 24, 2014

      It’s one of the most insane emotions you can feel, that first realization that your mom and dad are just normal people, once children like you were. The larger, more diffuse realization that your friends also are like you, they go home and think, ponder, cry and laugh when you’re not there. The extent of this branches over through all countries and homes – suddenly the world becomes not some distant thing to visit, but a world housing a billion universes, a billion realities, a billion perspectives.
      It’s mind blowing on a scale that the mind can’t even blow!

      • ChrisPonzi (6) November 25, 2014

        I think about this all the time as well, and even taking it into the reverse direction when you think about all the trillions of molecules and their subdivisions that make up our own bodies working in a synergistic symphony to act as the breathing art house that contains these narratives. It’s paradoxical because we feel loneliness so often, and understandably because we can only live life through our own narrative, and yet, we are all seemingly interwoven in one great storyline, making appearances on the cosmic page as words, punctuations, sentences or just typos . . . but somehow this chaos produces an ever-evolving story, and the more we can collaborative and authentically connect with others, the more we can merge our perspectives and narratives, perhaps we will feel less lonely as we recognize and become one unified great writer. Just a thought, if anyone cares to expand :)

  • Eric (1,819)M November 24, 2014

    That was beautiful, thanks.

    It’s weird, I feel as if collectively people experience these sort of feelings around the same time. My brother and I were both talking about having this profound, mind-boggling realization that everyone in the world has their own little universe, own little story, along with our own, creating what we call the human experience. I then go on the internet a few days later and see it on Reddit and a bunch of people talking about how they have been thinking the same way lately.. Coincidence, maybe. But whatever it is, it’s pretty incredible.

  • dingtwist (1) November 25, 2014

    I love this video.

  • existhigh (0) November 25, 2014

    Wow, this video makes me feel very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I have always thought, though, while in traffic, how every car represents basically a Life. All the different boxes of Lives, that are just as complex as my own. Very, very cool and thought-provoking video though.