|In the basket or the box? Careful: one answer|
is much more empathetic than the other.
Sally and Anne were my first thoughts upon recently learning this word:
sonder (noun): the emotional realization inspired by the truth that all of the 7 billion people on this planet are living their own lives, each fraught with troubles and joys and ideas and dreams and darknesses similar yet different than mine or yours.
For me, sonder is what I think I feel when I people-watch and wonder. It's what I think I feel when I ride the subway only remotely encountering and briefly interacting with strangers, silently seeing our worlds meet and part and meet and part again. It makes me feel small. It also inspires in me a longing for all the people and culture and stories and perspectives I will never live long enough to truly understand.
I love this word.
Sonder seems to me a solid reminder of how to be human. I know where Sally will look for her marble and thus I must respect all. In other words, I cannot fully know Sally or Anne or anyone but I do know the struggle itself. We are separate yet together, different yet the same.