06 March 2013

Degrees of Separation

They say that there are an average of 6 degrees of separation between any individual on the planet. 

In fact, in looking for a photo, I discovered that social scientist Stanley Milgram (of the infamous Obedience to Authority experiment) tested this theory as well, in what he called the small world theory. He found that between any individual and some other random individual, there is an average of 5 people in between. Hence, the 6 degrees of separation. 

In the NGO world though, even though it is a world that spans the globe, it is much smaller. 

Some might argue it is too small. 
A few weeks ago a logistician friend of mine in Ireland had to conduct a logs induction for 2 people he had never met before - never even heard of. A man and a woman who were being deployed to 2 separate countries shortly after that. Indeed, the man and the woman being inducted had not met, nor heard of each other either. 

So the scene is set - 3 complete strangers sitting in a room together talking about logistics.

Now, this friend of mine is very chatty, so of course he started talking with these 2 about their past experience, where they had been, where they are going, what they will do there... 

And it is in this process that he discovers that they all have one thing in common. 


(ok, and my old housemate in Haiti too - so 2 things in common)

Yes, sitting in that room were 3 people who had never met nor had any knowledge of the other peoples' existence, yet all 3 of them were acquainted (professionally or otherwise) to me. 

6 degrees of separation? 

Try 2...

(oh, and apparently they all had a great laugh about it then, and then my loggie friend and I had a great laugh about it afterwards)

And that's not the first time that has happened...nor will it be the last...

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