It’s a theory and they have tried to prove the theory. But the experiment still goes on. The theory is very simple and its called “Six Degree of Separation” and it saysSix degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.
It simply means that, you and any person in the world can be connected to each other through just 6 or less people. It’s a wonderful concept and too complex to be true and yet it has almost been proved. So you and someone living as far away as in the Artic circle or someone who lives in the Thar dessert or someone living in a village in japan could know each other through 6 people. That person may be a good or a bad person. It really does not matter. But you know each other through just 6 or less people.
Take the case of the CEO of my company. I have a manager who reports to his manager and so on and I did some quick calculation to find that there are less than 6 people between me and the CEO. So indirectly the CEO knows me and I know him.
Everybody is connected. The world is getting smaller. The technology factor is there but still we do need people to connect.
A few days back, Ranjana was searching for a book which is available in Mumbai. I got in touch with a friend, Sudha in Mumbai and then she got in touch with someone else she knows. We haven’t got the book yet but a person who is coming back from Mumbai may get the book back. The only people I know here is Sudha and Ranjana but I don’t know the people they tried to get the work done. Infact Ranjana and Sudha don’t know each other but if you look at it they still know each other through me.
Its amazing the way things are working. You help your friend who is helping another friend who infact is helping another friend. Seems confusing but sometimes we are doing things for people you don’t even know and even though you don’t know them, you connect.
During the last five years of my present company, the first two years were spent speaking to an engineer in another location. His name was Ravi and although we worked for the same company, in the same city and the same department we actually met after 2 years in person. Whenever we use to talk, we use to talk like we have been working for many years together. He would tell me his problems, his frustration etc just like he has been my friends for many years. We had never met in two years nor had I seen him, but if I needed to get something done from his office, he was always the link. Things that would have taken a long trail of correspondence would be done with the least possible delay.
I am not talking about how to get favors here, but remember how many times you have asked for a friend for something who knew another person who could do it for you. Knowingly and unknowingly we help people who we don’t know at all.
Few years later during a departmental training, I met some of Ravi’s colleague. Although I had never met them or spoken to any of them, they knew me well. Here Ravi was the common link/factor or whatever you may call him. We all connected.
Its been more than a year since I came to live with Vijay and family. Today, we can sit, talk, laugh eat, play together. They are like a second family to me. God know, how will I handle when my project gets over and I have to go back. But looking back, I feel we knew each other from years, not directly of course but through someone else and if I calculate correctly there may be not more than 6 people between us. What if we had never made that connection?
It gives a total new meaning to the word “Strangers”. Are people strangers because we don’t know their names, where they live or profession etc because if you look at it closely, everybody on the planet is separated by only six other people. Six degree of separation between us and everyone else on the planet.
The next time you see a stranger, chances are he/she just might know you.