Facebook PixelHow do we make people intuitively aware that every person is living a life as vivid and complex as theirs?
Brainstorming
Tour
Brainstorming
Create newCreate new
EverythingEverything
ChallengesChallenges
IdeasIdeas
Challenge

How do we make people intuitively aware that every person is living a life as vivid and complex as theirs?

Image credit: Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Feb 12, 2022
Please leave the feedback on this challenge
Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

Bounty for the best solution

Provide a bounty for the best solution

Bounties attract serious brainpower to the challenge.

Currency *
Bitcoin
Who gets the Bounty *
Distribution
I came across John Koenig's, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows recently and one idea caught my attention. Being able to realize that everyone you meet or interact with has had a life so complex or troubled that you could never be able to truly understand it in its fullness. Sonder is the term for this awareness. Of course, it seems obvious but it's one of those things that are so obvious it's easy to ignore. It was so easy to ignore that no one even bothered to give it an actual word referring specifically to it.
It seems to me that if people were actively aware of this idea when interacting with others they would be kinder and more understanding. Forcing people to shift their perspective all the time stops being an option and instead you choose to understand people have their reasons for believing what they want. You can now rationalize the idea that beliefs don't have to be right only good. This opens you up to engagement with new ideas and cultures that might actually improve your life once internalized.
But how exactly do you make people understand something like that?
7
Creative contributions

Getting masked up for a day

Loading...
Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Feb 12, 2022
I thought about this issue due to the common occurrence that women don't understand or take into consideration how different men's life experiences are and vice-versa. Also because great-looking people often don't grasp that average or not good looking people have completely different life experiences.
So I thought that it could be done with a Day in One's Shoes service that would put prosthetic masks on people, make up, different clothing, and set out a 16-hour timeline with common daily tasks for them.
Example:
For instance, we would have a good looking girl get covered in zits, her face disproportioned with prosthetics, bad wig placed, baggy old clothes, and have her do her normal routine starting with commuting, seeing how harder it is to get a cab for instance. Or to gauge the different levels of service she would get at restaurants and stores. Also to show just how much strangers would be willing to help with tasks like changing a tire.
Then, at the end, be prompted with the question of what those circumstances would do to a person's viewpoint, especially multiplied over tens of thousands of days.
This can be done for economic class differences, having a rich person operate on a tight budget for a day, use public transport only, do a manual job shift... Vice-versa too, as a lot of blue-collar workers might feel a lot less animosity towards white-collar workers when confronted with the delicate skills required to do those jobs.
These contrasting switches could be powerful enough to seed the more common awareness of the phenomenon.
Other avenues for exploration of other people's lives would be able-bodied humans having to operate as handicapped for a day. Not use a limb, be restricted to a wheelchair or crutches. Because few would be willing to accept that they are blind to the experience's of others or that they differ so much, they could be facilitated by the party that feels misunderstood winning a bet of sorts. But other ways of getting people to sign up are needed.
Making it into a reality would risk bastardizing the project I believe.
Marketing it as a practice of gratitude for what you have could work in some places.
Ideas?
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Michaela D
Michaela D3 months ago
Do that at International Sonder Day. It would be hard to convince people to do something that would make them feel so awkward. Mark a specific day when everyone could do it, and it would be ok, cool even. Something like the carnival, when it's ok to be walking around like a tomato.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice3 months ago
Michaela D I think i got something here, On Sonder day. Everyone carries an item that has a story behind it. We then make it socially acceptable to ask each other about the item, even complete strangers. Since you choose who to ask, It'll be pretty fun to hear about stranger's stories you never even thought possible. It could really help everyone look at each other in a new light.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice4 months ago
Thats a very good idea. walk two moos in another's moccasins. Iv'e heard about pretty privilidge and this might just be the perfect social experiment. I also agree with you on the turning it into a reality show would bastardize it.
Do you know Leon Schuster? in 1986 he did a show called You Must Be Joking! where he pretended to be a black person for candid television. At the time apartheid was still something in the country, so I guess it would have been a great idea to sort of show the public the true nature of thier society. However it sort of devolved into comedy and I remember in 2015 the show had gathered alot of controversy despite being close to 3 decades later
Please leave the feedback on this idea

How would you measure it?

Loading...
J. Nikola
J. Nikola Feb 13, 2022
How could we measure it?
First, thank you for clearing this one for me. I met this feeling when I was a kid. My mother sent me to the doctor because of my headaches. It turned out to be that I have very deep thoughts about life and existence in general, often putting myself in other people's shoes. My mother "cured" this by making me busy with sports and skills courses all the time, not allowing me to think. But it remained in my head, along with this after-feeling of myself being a minor player of this big game of minor players. When I overcame the "what's-my-purpose" problem, it became my tool for successful socialization.
Therefore, I think empathy and understanding could be the metrics we can use to distinguish if people "got sonder". People could be asked specific questions, which would trigger the sonder if there is any. I am not sure what kind of questions would it be, but I am sure people with experience in psychology could help.
Do you have any other idea what parameters could we use to "measure" if people reached that level of consciousness and experienced sonder?
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Place reminders urging people to think about others in public places

Loading...
Michaela D
Michaela D Feb 25, 2022
What if we placed posters in public places reminding us to think about other people?
"Probably someone around you is having a harder day than yours"
"Everyone has X thousands of thoughts per day. What might they be thinking now?"
"Everyone around you has at least one complicated relationship"
"Everyone was once 20 years old"
These would be reminders that everyone around us is a thinking being, has their own problems and in the end, we are not that different.
Are there any other things you would like to be reminded of?
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Sonder evenings at cafes

Loading...
Michaela D
Michaela D Feb 26, 2022
Organize evenings with the purpose of getting people to understand each other more. You are encouraged to talk to complete strangers, ask personal questions and talk about feelings. As Contrived _voice suggested people can bring items with special stories behind them to act as discussion prompts.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice3 months ago
I'd come with a stuffed duck. No one expects a stuffed duck
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Michaela D
Michaela D3 months ago
Hahahaha I'm curious about the story you'll come up with to match your duck!
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Michaela D
Michaela D3 months ago
Miloš Stanković somehow your comment on meditation retreats and ecstatic dancing inspired this 😅
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Another metric

Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Feb 14, 2022
J. Nikola With you on that one, I think I have an idea but it's just theoretical. To be able to put yourself in another person's place , the first thing you have to do is be aware when you're too much in your own head. So I think a test on self-awareness could be a healthy first step.I had this thought once that if you could detatch from yourself and view yourself objectively it would be alot easier for you to understand the reality of other people.
I found some research on a way to measure the level of self awareness . I think those are enough. I also found this Research paper that kind of broke down the basics of how a test for self awareness works. Might be of some help.

[1]Grant A. M., Franklin J., Langford P. (2002). The Self-Reflection and Insight Scale: A new measure of private self-consciousness. Social Behavior and Personality, 30(8), 821–835. 10.2224/sbp.2002.30.8.821 [

[2]Private self-consciousness and the five-factor model of personality: distinguishing rumination from reflection. Trapnell PD, Campbell JD J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Feb; 76(2):284-304

[3]The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Brown KW, Ryan RM J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Apr; 84(4):822-48.

Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
J. Nikola
J. Nikola3 months ago
Great find! I am sure it would help define the "sonder phenotype". What I am a bit intrigued by is if these tests would actually define if the person experienced sonder or it just entered the process. As I realized, sonder is a product of directional wonder about lives, living environments, feelings, emotions, friendship circles, and everything that "the other" individual experiences. It definitely comes after a person becomes more self-aware, but since it's not about yourself, I am not sure that self-awareness tests would be enough. I would suggest finding another test that can check "else-awareness". I hope you understood what I meant.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice3 months ago
J. Nikola I got you , let me look into it
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Virtual life-mimicking video game

Loading...
Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Feb 12, 2022
I recently saw a video game that tries to show the effects of dementia in the first person. For sonder, a virtual reality video game that would make the other passersby react differently based on the stats that you get assigned. Also have different problems, situations, and possibilities because it could help ingrain the feeling. Similar to the stuff I mentioned in the mask solution.
Also, making a lot of the storylines in the style first five minutes of Up would do wonders. Have each story start by a walk around the city in first person and then just zoom into a random passerby and tell their life story.
Please leave the feedback on this idea

A reliable metric for how well you understand other people

Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Feb 15, 2022
The empathizing vs systemizing theory
J. Nikola . I found this research by Simon Baron-Cohen on his theory of autism. He attributes the inability to communicate and connect with people socially to an inability to respond to others' thoughts and emotions. Although the research was geared toward autism It sort of fits in with other groups that also display a lowered capacity toward empathy. Here's the short version.
His theory is called the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory of autism. "This cognitive theory attempts to account for two different aspects of autism disorder: the social and communication barriers and the narrow interest and attention to detail." The social communication barrier bieng a result of an inability to empathize while the attention to detail being a result of oversystemization.
With that theory in mind it was possible to break down empathy into 3 parts. The first is cognitive empathy. This means you CAN understand what others are feeling but it is not necessary for you to be moved by it. I imagine manipulative people could fall here, being able to understand your emotional state and choosing to use it to their advantage.
The second category is emotional reactivity. Do you feel sad, happy or excited based on how others are feeling? this is reactiveness and is an indication of high empathy. The third is social skills but that is sort of self explanatory, I won't bore you with the details.
Metric
For measurement you could create two bars, one representing your empathy quotient(EQ) and the other your systemizing quotient(SQ). A higher EQ/SQ ratio would be a relible measure of one's ability to empathize. Tests on this show individuals with autism would display a lower ratio while women would typically have a higher ratio compared to men. This kind of surports the extreme male brain theory of autism which is also pretty interesting.

[1]Shaw, P., Baker, D., Baron Cohen, S., Lawrence, E. J., & David, A. S. (2004). Measuring empathy: Reliability and validity of the empathy quotient. Psychological Medicine, 34(5), 911–919. doi:10.1017/S0033291703001624

[2] Baron Cohen, S., & Wheelwright, S. (2004). The empathy quotient: An investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(2), 163–175. doi:10.1023/B:JADD.0000022607.19833.

[3]Baron-Cohen, S., Richler, J., Bisarya, D., Gurunathan, N., & Wheelwright, S. (2003). The systemizing quotient: An investigation of adults with asperger syndrome or high–functioning autism, and normal sex differences. The Royal Society, 358(1430), 361–374. doi:10.1098/rstb.2002.1206

Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
J. Nikola
J. Nikola3 months ago
If sonder is about understanding the position of other people's lives relative to yours and vice versa, then yes, I think empathy could mean you experienced sonder and went a step further - have certain emotions about it. From the E-S theory you mentioned, it's clear that what we look for is cognitive empathy, since it refers to what you CAN experience, but not necessarily are moved by it. Great find!
I looked at it a bit and find the theory very interesting. I also found how the empathy quotient is calculated. It is a set of 60 "first-person "questions that the patient answers by itself . Oddly, I couldn't find how Systemising quotient is calculated, to see if it could be used for our purposes.

[1]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15162935/

Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice3 months ago
J. Nikola yeah, I couldn't find it either, but I think I have a theory. If Systemizing is the opposite of empathizing ,then wouldn't reversing the questions of the EQ test make it an SQ test?
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
J. Nikola
J. Nikola3 months ago
Contrived _voice Hehe, I am not sure. I should see the questions first. But it makes sense.
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Add your creative contribution

0 / 200

Added via the text editor

Sign up or

or

Guest sign up

* Indicates a required field

By using this platform you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

General comments

Loading...
Michaela D
Michaela D3 months ago
Contrived _voice thanks for this session! I am looking forward to reading the The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows now! It is so interesting to define notions and emotions that exist in the background.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice3 months ago
Michaela D you're welcome
Please leave the feedback on this idea