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Sonder

This evening, I am feeling sonder. Sonder is, according to [the dictionary of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own”1.

As I look out at all the houses I can see across the valley, and think of the people and families that live behind the windows, each with their own stories. Their own plans, hopes and worries. Then I remember that I am looking at a small village, not even a single council ward. The number of people around is vastly larger than I can comprehend.

It is easy to think ‘government should just do XYZ’. Sure it may work in your instance. It may work for your family and friends. But when you actually start to consider all these people, the policy that seemed so simple before starts to break down. Edge cases sound unrealistic and rare, until you have so many people that the edge cases occur, and occur frequently. Then you need to work out what you are going to do about it.

Notes

  1. I did have to spend a good 5 minutes looking the name up
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