So Many Faces

There are so many simultaneous lives happening every moment.


On a day’s commute you pass by countless other people. Sometimes hundreds in rapid succession driving. Every so often you catch a brief glimpse of another’s moment, so much conveyed instantaneously in just a look.

Some smiling, some yelling at their dashboards, some staring off at nothing in particular besides road and monotonous destination. Pedestrians walking the city, people sitting at benches, sitting on their front steps, people mingling at street corners, so many people. A story behind each of their lives. A story in the midst of their lives. And a moving epilogue of a life’s long tragicomedy written in every expressionless expression.

We can’t ever know the full extent that others are fighting their battles. And there’s some background sense that nobody but the individual and perhaps a Higher Power can understand each discrete and authentic existence in effect. But I’m in one of those moods where I wonder what it would be to experience each life as it occurs, simultaneously, that I could fully empathize with each. And better understand. And how it would be, if only we could all better understand each other.

And it calls to mind a Steinbeck quote that perfectly encapsulates what I’ve felt sporadically every day of passing countless strangers.

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”


I wish I could see them all.

111 thoughts on “So Many Faces

    • I’m happy to know you connected with this post!! And I think you’re right that if we open ourselves up to it, there really are opportunities for us to see a glimpse of those countless other lives passing us by, thank you so much for the comment and have a great day!! 🙂

    • That is a very good way of looking at things as well, we can’t see into everybody but we can take the time to more properly see into somebody’s heart once a day thank you for the kind and insightful comment!! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for this thought-provoking comment, that’s a really interesting perspective, the idea that seeing them all would diminish the impact of the individual. I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like but it’s got me thinking thank you so much once again!! 🙂

  1. I can relate. In my present job I have short “face to face” time with many people from various backgrounds. Sometimes they share and sometimes they do not. But I try the best I can to let them know I am listening and willing to serve them with a smile that hopefully conveys a message: You matter and I am blessed to have met you.

    • That’s a really fantastic perspective to take towards others and I’m sure it’s much appreciated by those you interact with!! Sometimes people just need to feel like they’re being heard thank you so much for the kind comment!!

  2. This is a great post! I have often wondered what a person’s background is or what kind of problems they may be trying to work through. Often times, we think we are alone, but in reality there are countless number of people struggling with one thing or another. Of course, we must not forget the happy thoughts as well, because I’m certain that everyone has many!

    • Thank you so much!! And it’s true we shouldn’t discount the happy thoughts I’d say most people have a pre-disposition to emphasizing the negative myself included and that’s not usually accurate, and it’s true everybody is in the midst of their own struggles, it really bears repeating that we need to remember to think positive thanks so much for the insightful comment!!

  3. I wonder about this all the time. It speaks to the power of listening whenever we have the opportunity because those stories are often ready to flow. It’s also a reason for starting always from a place of compassion. Beautiful post.

    • We really do need to listen whenever we have the opportunity, and you’re right that the best place to start is from a place of compassion it is healing for the listener as well thank you so much for this beautiful perspective!! 🙂

  4. Ahh sondering, it’s such a beautiful moment when you realise every single human has an intricate web of life they’re experiencing, seperate to you, but also not so seperate at the same time. Wonderful post thank you!

    • Thank you so much for the comment and for the exposure to a new term that would have been perfect for this post!! I feel I haven’t sondered as much as others, and the full weight of the realization has been hitting me even more as of late for whatever reason. Indeed all our lives are not so separate it would seem we’re all pieces of some greater spiritual whole thank you so much once again and all the best to you!! 🙂

  5. Beautiful thoughts, Oscar! An unforgettable piece of graffiti i once found painted on a once-white box truck in the Bronx, N.Y. It read, “If only we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and pain enough to disarm all hostility and prejudice.”

    • Thank you so much!! And that’s a beautiful quote, so much conflict arises from misunderstanding and the world would be a much better place if we could all find points of commonality with each other, it’s always nice to find a seed of wisdom like that in an unexpected place thank you so much for sharing and all the best to you!!

  6. This is so true. I do think that although most of the time we are simply too caught up in our own “life webs” to truly see into that of other people, perhaps it’s also partly a defense mechanism against being emotionally overwhelmed? But still a greater degree of empathy is much needed — otherwise we risk falling into the trap of seeing others as not much more than animate objects, like those tableaus in rides at Disney World.

    • That’s a very interesting perspective there might be an element of that, we wouldn’t be able to take the emotional onslaught it would be overwhelming indeed, and it’s true we need to remember to empathize like you said otherwise people become objects and we lose our sense of the common struggle of humanity in each individual, we die a little as a result thank you so much for the thoughtful comment!! 🙂

  7. So true, makes each day a little mystery. Love the Steinbeck quote “I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” This will make today very interesting as I walk through the city, and as fate has it, it is Hong Kong – the photo of which you’ve posted as well.

    • Indeed it is Hong Kong haha I wish I could travel the world and maybe visit Hong Kong someday, such a bustling metropolis and an under-appreciated skyline, and it does add mystery to the day wondering at the lives of each person passing us by. Thank you so much for taking the time to connect and I’m happy to know you’ll wonder a bit as you roam the city today!! All the best to you!! 🙂

    • Very interesting perspective there’s an energy in the greater whole and we don’t want to lose sight of the forest obsessing over the many trees, thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful comment!!

  8. I love your writing! Wonderment and appreciation for all beings, this is where I want to dwell. In a City, the sheer number of people is exhilarating. I live in the country where nature’s magnificence is also enlivening if we truly listen.

  9. Indeed, seeing someone, experiencing someone not just having a visual snapshot of an anonymous face. When I do a portrait that is what I try to achieve. To see them, to convey a sense of self to foster a connection between the viewer and the subject of the portrait. Maybe one day I will achieve it.

    Good post, thank you for sharing. Have a great day.

    • Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment I’ve never quite had the knack for photography but it’s great to get a deeper insight like this into what goes into getting a great image!! Have a great day as well!!

  10. So true. We often go through life in such a rush that we forget to look around, so when we do it all seems so strange and out of place. Like noticing something for the first time even though it literally happens every day.
    I have so many of those moments and, to be honest, I can’t tell whether to feel overjoyed or saddened by them. It’s a bittersweet experience but one that humbles and humanizes you. If we all took a minute to think beyond our own selves and our own experiences, the world would certainly be a much better place.

    • I don’t know whether I should feel happy or sad either by those moments, but it certainly is humanizing and humbling as you’ve so eloquently said, and yes I do indeed believe the world would be a better place if we made the choice to think beyond ourselves and pondered the greater whole thank you so much for your deep and thoughtful comment!! 🙂

  11. Love this perspective. There’s so much benefit from getting “out” of ourselves and being cognizant of everything buzzing around us and of the fact that there are so many individuals like us with their own thoughts, dreams, and fears. It’s humbling!

    • It is very very humbling indeed!! Thank you so much for your kind comment, I believe it to be vital to properly empathize and it’s just amazing to think how many people there are in the world it blows my mind and I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it!!!

  12. Thank you so much for your like on my simple blog entry Oscar, I haven’t had a chance to sit and really read yet but the parts of yours I’ve skimmed have struck me as utterly lovely. Please consider yourself cordially invited to join our soon to be launched Facebook group,
    I look forward to a chance to read your existing entries tomorrow.

  13. I moved from India to the USA 5 years ago. Don’t know why, but enjoy watching all types of people from different walks of life – young and old, men, women and children, white and black, fat and thin, tall and short – God’s wonderful creation, while sitting quietly for hours on a bench at the huge Molls and Airports of America. I liked your above post very much.Don’t know why, but sometimes when I get an e-mail message from someone whom I have never met in person OR read a blog post like this, get feelings of closeness, as if I knew him. Contrary to this, I lack such feelings for some of the people with whom I live, work and interact every day. I think people come in and go away from our life for a season and reason according to Karmik Bonds of our earlier lives. As per Osho’s teaching, we need not react to happenings around us but just keep watching and let it move just like a flow of calm water moving in a stream.

    • Apologies for the late reply, I’m very happy to hear that you felt a connection with this post!! And beautiful perspective letting the happenings around us move past us as you said like a stream of water flowing, I think it’s important to take that type of approach to life everything’s transient and we can only accept that there is nothing permanent in this life and let the flow of life pass over us, thank you so much for your heart felt comment!! I wish you nothing but the best in your own life’s journey and may we continue to see the world with empathetic hearts stay blessed!! 🙂

  14. Thank you Oscar for the Like on Large Hadron Collider. I don’t spend enough time on Alixus my main site is I will update the post on Alixus to the final version asap, it’s a kind of storage in case Nextexx goes down.

  15. I love this post. It’s basically what I feel everyday and here you have expressed it in words for me and countless others to experience. Thank you.

    • Apologies for the late reply thank you so much for reading!! It’s great to hear that people enjoy posts I’ve written and getting positive feedback like this keeps me going all the best to you and thanks once again!!! 🙂

    • Apologies for the delayed reply, thank you so much for your kind comment!! It really makes me wonder sometimes, there’s just so much life in the world and that quote really resonated with me I’m happy it connected with you too 🙂

  16. This is something that’s on my mind a lot.I always wonder what the people around me are thinking,what their lives are like.It fascinates me.But when I’m leaving the place,I wonder if I will ever see them again.I wonder if our paths will ever cross.And mostly I wonder will I even remember them?

  17. Me too Oscar – I am glad for all the travelling I did when I was younger – no matter what happens in this life, no one can take the experience of travelling from your own corner of the world to explore the big, wide world away from you. What a wonderful experience to meet other people and learn their customs and embrace them and revel in the impression that you are left with. Likewise, life lessons or education, just like travel, are memories that are YOURS to keep and cherish forever … it’s like running a movie film in your head whenever you want a break from reality.

    • I really want to travel more, I traveled a whole lot last year and it was my first time actually travelling outside of the country since I was 3, but it didn’t satiate my wanderlust if anything it magnified it lmao thank you so much for the thoughtful and beautiful comment!! Each of your memories really are uniquely yours, and yours alone =D

      • Yes they are unique memories and all yours to cherish Oscar. I’ve travelled more internationally, than in the U.S. and I am a Canadian citizen, and have hardly seen any of my homeland. I’ve lived here in the U.S. for nearly 51 years. There is a lot to see …unfortunately, international travel today is so much more worrisome than when I travelled.

        • It is a shame but we can’t let fear dictate our lives! That’s awesome that you’ve gotten to travel so much I really need to explore all over internationally and here in the States I feel like there’s so much of the world I haven’t explored. I should get the opportunity to check out Vancouver at least within the next month so fingers crossed that that happens haha

          • Oh I’m envious for that Oscar – I will keep my fingers crossed for you that the trip happens ..I understand Vancouver is very beautiful … make sure you get some nice pictures to go with that experience so we can enjoy it vicariously with you. And brush up on your Canadian too! 🙂

          • I’ll do my best to get some good photos! 🙂 I just need to clear some space on my phone it feels like it all gets taken up by audiobooks nowadays haha I certainly hope the trip happens as well fingers crossed!

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