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The Oxford English Dictionary has a definition for over 170,000 words that are currently in use. Each of these words, some more often than others, we use to communicate thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions and so much more on a daily basis. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compilation of invented words, created by John Koenig, that take language to an even more profound level.

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When you really think about it the human experience can be quite the profound thing to behold. To think that we each inhabit a body, live in a small part of this massive world and have the ability to create both individually and collectively is quite the realization. That being the case, it can be pretty easy to get fully caught up in our own life, especially since it is the only one that we are consistently a part of and play the starring role in. This video reminds us of the very cool fact that in addition to playing the lead in our own life story we also play the supporting, recurring, day player and even background role in the lives of thousands of others.

This video narrated, written, directed, edited and coined by John Koenig introduces us to one word that will give you an even greater appreciation for the world that we live in and the life that you live.

Sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
(The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)

Aside from this realization, in my opinion being flat out cool to think of, it’s also a great reminder of the respect that each and everyone of us on this planet deserves. Just as our own life can become so overwhelming at times, so can the life of the person you shared a bus ride with and played nothing more than a background role in. Let’s all keep this in mind when we interact or even just find ourselves inclined to pass judgment upon others. We can never know the full story of everyone we meet, but we can know that their life story is just as real and challenging as ours can be at times, and they therefore deserve the same level of respect that we all like to receive.

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The next time you find yourself out in a busy place or crowded area remind yourself of the primary message that this video delivered. To stop for a moment and think that you unknowingly but simultaneously are playing a role in the lives of everyone currently around you can be quite the thing to realize and appreciate.


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