Six degrees of separation

“Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.”

Several studies, such as Milgram’s small world experiment, have been conducted to empirically measure this connectedness. The phrase “six degrees of separation” is often used as a synonym for the idea of the “small world” phenomenon.

American playwright John Guare wrote a play in 1990 and later released a film in 1993 that popularized it.

The play ruminates upon the idea that any two individuals are connected by at most five others.

As one of the characters states:”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 A) extremely comforting that we’re so close, and B) 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 to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people.”


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