Six Degrees of Separation

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Years ago, the theory of Six Degrees of Separation was floated; a movie was even made about it. It purports that we are all six introductions away from meeting everyone else in the world. Over the years, I have thought about this theory a lot. For decades, I lived in a small town in a rural part of our state. There was not a lot of ethnic diversity in our town and so I wondered how this theory could be true? So, I decided to put it to the test.

I have a friend whose brother is married to the sister of a well known actor. Okay, that makes me four degrees out from meeting him. I have another friend whose husband was a politician. They traveled back to Washington D.C. and met several well known politicians. So that would make me three degrees out from meeting some of those people. But what about people living in Inner Mongolia? How many people would I have to meet in order to meet some of them? Or what about people living in the interior of China? How many people would I have to meet in order to get to know some of them? 

As I said, I have thought about this theory a lot and I don’t believe it is true. What is true however, is that even if we haven’t met those living on the other side of the world, we are still connected to them in many ways. We are not six degrees away from being connected to them. We are connected to them in a primary first degree way because we are all human beings.

For example, we all have the same basic physical needs. We have the desire for our families to be well and thrive. We have the same emotional need to be loved and well taken care of. We all desire to live in safety and be protected from harm. We are all similar in many ways despite our cultural differences. 

When we think of those on the other side of the world, we need to see ourselves as having a connection to them. We should care about them regardless of the country they live in or the government that is ruling over them. We should not dismiss them because they have a different skin color, ethnicity or religion. We are all just people and we are more alike than we are different from each other. When we see that they are in need, it shouldn’t take six introductions for us to reach out and help them, it should only take one.