sonder

1 minute read

TLDR : I learnt a new word.


Sonder : the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own

I’ve heard this word a few times.

Everyone has an internal life as complex and rich as yours.

You take this for granted. Often when you superficially interact with people, you don’t assume that they have a complex internal world full of insecurities, conflicts, joy, sadness, excitement etc. All the range of human experience.

Especially if it is someone you run into once in a while. The cashier behind the till or the person sitting on the bus.

We often hide it anyways. It’s internal - invisible. Language is often a thin medium to express a rich internal world (you can improve but it requires practice)

Why is this useful to even think about?

It facilitates greater empathy. You and the person you are looking are at base level - the same. You’ve experienced the same emotions, sensations. Been through great joy and sadness.

You can also interpret the actions of others in a more favourable light - As David Foster Wallace mentioned in his famous speech- you can assign intention to other people.You realise that everyone is a model you create in your head.

So understand that everyone you interact with is kind of a philosopher/explorer - with profound thoughts, experiences, emotions - sailing an ocean of possible futures.

There is a lot to learn from everyone you interact with (about yourself especially).


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