A degree of separation is a measure of social distance between people. First degree is the closest. Vedas say that the earth (vasudha) is a family (kutumba) meaning thereby that we are all connected to one another. Hinduism posits that the individual self (soul) is not only connected to everything else in the universe, it is identical to the supreme soul Paramatma or Brahman. This implies there is a universal social connectivity and that connectivity is unity.
There is a theory called Six Degrees of Separation which was proposed by Frigyes Karinthy in the year 1929. The theory says that each of us is just 6 introductions away from any other person on our planet. Any two strangers are on an average distanced by precisely 6.6 degrees of separation. You are one degree away from everyone you know, two degrees away from everyone they know and so on….. so that, by method of induction, a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of 6.6 number of steps. After checking 30 billion electronic messages among 180 million people in various countries, Microsoft researchers say that the theory stands up in a world of 7 billion people.
The concept of ‘Degree of Separation’ was popularized by John Guare in his 1990 play named “Six Degrees of Separation”. The play was later turned into a film. Since, everyone on this planet is separated by only 6 other people, you have to find the right six people to make the right connection. One algorithm found an average of 3.43 between two random Twitter users. Two persons are linked if they are co-authors of an article. A 2007 publication in The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist suggest mean linkages of 2.5 between certain types of authors.
By DR. SACHIDANAND DAS