''I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States, a gondolier in Venice, just fill in the names. I find it extremely comforting that we're so close. I also find it like Chinese water torture, that we're so close because you have to find the right six people to make the right connection... I am bound, you are bound, to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people. ''
This dialogue is from the 1993 movie, Six Degrees of Separation. And I second this to the last word, for I know this is the living truth in the world we live in. For all you know, you might be connected to Shah Rukh Khan, Dalai Lama, Messi, Trump or even a farmer in some village in Punjab.
And I am very certain about this, allow me to explain. Probably, Shah Rukh Khan was taught by Mr. Sharma's aunt in college, while Mr. Sharma is also your friend's uncle or Virat Kohli's house is kept spick and span by Kavita Didi, and Kavita Didi is also the younger sister of your neighbour's maid or probably Trump's PA chills with your America waala NRI cousin.
The thing is, you never know! You never know how each and every human being is connected to each other. And all it takes is 6 degrees of separation to figure it out.
Yes, I know - in a world of 7 billion people, this may not seem like a plausible theory. But you're literally just six (or less) introductions away from any other person on this planet. And this is in practice not just theory.
You are one degree away from everyone you know, two degrees away from everyone they know and it goes on. With social media being a predominant part of our lives, it’s making people connect like never before, and 6 degrees of separation is inching towards being the gospel truth. So where did this theory evolve from? In 1929, a Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called “Chains”, first proposed the theory of six degree. He claimed, with the growing communication and travel, the networks would grow irrespective of the distance between two humans. He had, but little evidence to back his statement. The most celebrated theory of the world, the 6 degrees of separation, also led to formation of the first social networking site - 6 degrees.com
That was followed by many projects testing this theory.
Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist, confirmed that two strangers could be connected in six degrees through his Small World Experiment. Milgram asked the initial participants to mail a letter through friends, and then through friends of friends, to a designated stranger living in Massachusetts. He found that people, who successfully completed the task, did so with a chain of six or fewer connections. Looking at new researches, in 2011, Facebook and researchers at Cornell University computed that the average separation across 721 million people using Facebook was only 3.74. In their latest research published in February 2016, this number dropped down to 3.57, with more than 1.59 billion people active on Facebook. All thanks to the era of social media!
And guess who am I connected to? Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan! What more could a Bollywood fanatic ask for! My roommate and these actors share the same alma mater - Bombay Scottish School, Mahim. She has been taught by the same teachers and have sat in the same classrooms, as them. Two connections was all it took me to connect to Ranbir and Hrithik. And now that you know me, you too have found your connection to these renowned actors!
Indeed six (or less) connections, is all you need, to enjoy that wedding with your favourite star. Just take comfort in the fact that no matter how lonely you are feeling right now, one of your connections could be the key to putting you in touch with someone who'll change your life, in just six steps or less! Write in the comment section and share your connection story with people from across the globe. It's a small world after all. ;)
Edited By - Diya Mathew