Six degrees of separation is about connectivity. The theory is that you know A who knows B who knows C who knows D who knows E who knows F. Though at the time it was postulated at five degrees, the theory was first developed in 1929 in response to the observation that telephonic communication and faster modes of travel were shrinking the social world making distance less relevant in the structuring of our social webs. The closer we are bound together by our technology, the less constrained we are by time and distance. Crossing the ocean can be physically accomplished in a matter of hours for those with the necessary resources. Almost anyone can cross that same distance with their voice in the time it takes to establish the connection. Speed dial shortens this time to a press of one button, and if the call is answered immediately, then maybe one or two seconds have elapsed.
Six degrees of separation may or may not be an accurate theory. It is of mathematical design, tested by mathematicians at universities. It makes a good round for the internet and everyone tries to reach Kevin Bacon, which runs his name through everyone’s mind and ups his famosity meter. Now Bacon is using the concept to raise money for charities.
As we draw closer together, separation from our physical world is increasing. We have accomplished six degrees of separation from being present in the world. Here I define the world as the natural world. Earth, sky, water, time. Soil, stream, air, this moment, last moment, next moment.
Separation level one–asphalt or concrete path between our feet and the soil;
Separation level two–vehicle traffic drowns out the sounds of nature of things that live in the sky;
Separation level three–ipod music, separates us from the sounds of traffic;
Separation level four–cell phone separates us from our spatial environment by placing us with the other person in a kind of telephonic space;
Separation level five–cell phone texting separates us from the sound of another person’s voice into the more abstract and symbolic world of cyberspace;
Separation level six–cell phone with camera which interprets the visual world while we text so that we do not see directly where we are, but only through the filter of the camera lens.