Sonder – Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

When I was a child I was fascinated with the term doppelgänger and the idea of a paranormal twin living somewhere. The term also describes seeing a glimpse of oneself in in peripheral vision. When I was about 12, I spent so much time trying to catch things at the corner of my eye that one of my teachers was so concerned at this peculiar eye twitch I had developed they recommended an eye check up. Anyway I digress …

Later in life, at university when I tackled the works of people like Hegel, Immanuel Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger (all in translation) I decided that German language definitely described what it was to be human in a different way to English.

Today this was re-enforced when I discovered a new word Sonder in blog titled a Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows written by John Koenig.

sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own

This video on YouTube captures the idea of this “obscure sorrow” so perfectly that I just had to do more than “like” it on face book and share it here.

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4 Responses to Sonder – Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

  1. Lesley Walker says:

    This really hit a nerve with me. All the time Iwas growing up I had ‘double’. even my brothers and later,my husband thought she was me. I’ve always thought that I had a twin that I never knew

  2. Kate Crombie says:

    Thanks for sharing such an amazing video. It’s a reminder of how little yet how much we matter in the scheme of things.

  3. Val Edwards says:

    Thank you for this, Sharon. I watched the video and sat for a few moments in silence, flicking through the beads of memory and found a few cherished moments that had been lost for decades. Looking back now, I see the episodes in a different perspective. One thing I remembered was part of a poem I wished I had written, in a women’s magazine… Just a line…. ” gnats stitched the air in some wild fantasy of dance….” – which brought me back to your Love of Stitching sampler….. Lovely!

  4. allie aller says:

    I remember once a long time ago I was waiting with my brother for someone to arrive at O;Hare. We were early; flights of people streamed past us in the terminal. My brother whispered in my ear, “Now imagine that we are here to meet each and every one of them”. For a moment, everyone’s story was my story. It was thrilling…………and, you do have to admire those Germans! Thanks for the post, Sharon.