This one's for Lila. The Talmud suggests a person should wear a metaphorical coat with 2 pockets - in one pocket the maxim: I am as insignificant as the dust of the earth, and in the other: The entire world was created for me.
It's a way of balancing pride and humility, and while the first pocket allows you to take a philosophical view of the world and achieve perspective, the second is a reminder of the Torah view that every person is an entire universe: If you take a life, it's as if you have destroyed an entire world, and when you save a life, it's as if you have saved an entire world.
Perhaps that's why fiction is so compelling, even when it deals with only a few main characters. In reading about individuals, (fictional or otherwise), it's as if we're reading about entire worlds.