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A message to my Common Security Club  fellow members:

The phrase, "Six Degrees of Separation" was coined by John Guare in a play he wrote in 1990.  The play explored the existential premise that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else in the world by a chain of no more than six acquaintances, thus, "six degrees of separation."

I must say, I had a most striking experience of this phenomenon, this kind of six degrees of separation just today at lunch.

A message to my fellow Common Security Club members:

I confess, besides catching up with work and such, I've been lost in space (cyberspace, that is), since our first meeting last weekend.  It was just too much fun to be learning all the ins and outs of the twitterverse and following the "journos" (new word for me) at the teabagasm events around the nation.  Oh, the tales I could tell, having heard all the quips and "personal" comments from behind the scenes!  Lots of fun--almost like "being there".

Which brings me to the point I wanted to communicate today.  About how we are all connected.  It's a very simple thought, one that makes common sense when you think at a meta level about all life on earth being part of one large ecological system. But it has come more into focus these days in terms of the kind of social networking we do on the internet (Facebook, Linked-In, blogging websites, Twitter, texting, etc).  

It seems to be important, though, to combine that e-socializing with the face-to-face in order to build the kind of personal connection needed for a relationship, whether that be a personal, a group, or a community kind of relationship. For example, while the recent political campaign of Barack Obama was successful in its use of the most advanced communication technology, use was also made of town halls and community organizing.  In these venues, personal, face to face connections could be made--people could interact with each other and form a sense of kinship that encouraged them to trust each other and work together for their common good.  The personal connection is a powerful component in what people can accomplish together because it goes back to the most primal instincts of human beings--that of forming close social groups.  By living and working together in social groups, people were able to survive difficult primitive conditions.

The phrase, "Six Degrees of Separation" was coined by John Guare  in a play he wrote in 1990.  The play explored the existential premise that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else in the world by a chain of no more than six acquaintances, thus, "six degrees of separation."

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In the play, 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."16] (From [Wikipedia).

I must say, I had a most striking experience of this phenomenon, this kind of six degrees of separation just today at lunch.  I met a beautiful young African American woman at Kuff's Democratic lunch bunch.  She is the "communications coordinator" for Anise Parker's Houston mayoral candidacy.  In talking with her about how her boss, Anise, would be a good mayor, I told her about our meeting to explore how a local community group might provide mutual aid and support to each other in times of economic uncertainty.  I told her how we'd talked both about forming a local currency for exchange of goods and talents that may not currently be valued in the mainstream economy.  

I told her about how we talked about the possibility that foreclosed houses or apartment buildings inside the loop in Houston could be purchased and remodeled to LEEDS standards with some of the federal stimulus money, and how this could help many people who were struggling to find affordable housing.  Moreover I told her how this conversation came about in brainstorming about how there are a rising number of aging single women (and others, of course) who would prefer living in the city where they could form relationships with others who shared their values (and she added, in affirmation, "whether they were brown, black, or white, right?"--to which I added, of course! --She had just told me how she struggled to find affordable housing as a single female when she moved to Houston from Chicago several years ago.)  And I added that, in fact, there are several women in our group that fit that characterization I described.

I also told her how we talked about our visions for renewing the city's transportation infrastructure, using federal stimulus money for building a light rail system that would cut down on the fossil fuels being used for suburban-city commuting purposes.  Of course, I told her one of Mayor White's reasons for suggesting the idea of making inner city homes desirable, affordable, and energy smart was to cut down on the number of people having to commute into the city, not only because we are using a declining supply of foreign oil, but also because we are polluting our city skies.

After she gave me the answers she thought her boss would support and initiate if elected, we continued to talk more and I found she was enthusiastic about the idea of urban intentional community.  She told me the area of town in which she lived might be an excellent starting place for exploring such community building.  She expanded upon the thought of a group buying an apartment building to buying up a whole block where everyone knew each other and "had each other's backs".

Before we said our goodbyes, she smiled really big and said she had just been smiling inside the whole time since she'd first heard my name in introductions, (Thurman), because that had been the name of some of her father's people in Illinois.  Chicago, I asked, since she'd said she moved here from there?  No, she said, her father's people came from southern Illinois.  Oh, really, I said, because my grandfather Thurman and grandmother were from that area, and had, in fact, met, swimming where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge at Cairo, Illinois.  She, looking surprised and kind of amazed, said her father's people only lived about 40 miles from there.  We both looked at each other with that kind of "knowing" look, and it was hard to break contact with each other's eyes, because we were likely telepathing (or tel-empathizing) that we were "connected" (who knows, but that we are blood relatives?).  

Six degrees of separation?

Back to the line in the play where the character says, "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."

Our group has six people...

Could we be the right six people?

See you next month to explore more!

Link: My  Facebook group for Common Security Club-Houston

Originally posted to In her own Voice on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 07:39 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting (4+ / 0-)

    Linda, my family is from southern Illinois! West Frankfort and Benton! Maybe we are related. Umm... could be! Well talk...

    "To achieve your best, get in over your head and rise to the top." - Dr. Richard Tapia Professor of Computational Mathematics, Rice University

    by psquared on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 09:04:06 PM PDT

  •  very cool. It sounds like you (4+ / 0-)

    are into local businesses.  I don't want to push a diary here, but if you click on my name, you'll see a link to a green business petition, asking Congress to support money from the budget going to green businesses and such.  Thanks.

    Sounds like you had a great time, too!

  •  So, when will you know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, In her own Voice

    if you are related?

    Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

    by borkitekt on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 05:47:58 AM PDT

    •  :-), she and I are going to have to talk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      borkitekt

      some more.  I did locate some time ago a family tree going back to Ireland in the 18th century.  I told her my grandparents said they were Irish (even with such a nordic sounding name).  Apparently the Viking types settled in northern Ireland after one of their raids!  :-)

      I think it's quite possible our ancestors intermarried in southern Illinois.  Maybe when she's beyond the election crunch here in Houston (for mayor), we can explore that more...

      Find your own voice--the personal is political.

      by In her own Voice on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 06:47:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        In her own Voice

        well, maybe we are related in a distant way too as I've lived in Texas for 20+ years and am now living in Stockholm.

        Or maybe not, but we could pretend:)

        Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

        by borkitekt on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:00:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  :-) yes, I saw in open thread you had lived here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          borkitekt

          before--but we don't have the same last name in our common ancestry, do we??

          Stockholm must be an interesting place to live--how did you end up there after so many years in TX?  Business?

          My bro in law is from Denmark and so I hear a lot about the nordic lifestyles.

          Find your own voice--the personal is political.

          by In her own Voice on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:05:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A bit of everything, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            In her own Voice

            girlfriend, architecture, school, etc.

            DK is cool, lots of neat things there and I really love Copenhagen- such a neat place.

            But, yeah, you are right, only a few of us with my last name and it originally comes from some sort of alteration of a previous German name with no Scandi relatives as far as I know. All sorts of other things though.

            But there should be a six degrees of adoption, or something like that, though, just to pick up those cool things that fate hasn't already connected us to:)

            Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

            by borkitekt on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:15:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I like that-- "six degrees of adoption" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              borkitekt

              and I think that's really the point behind the "six degrees of separation" thing.  If you check wiki on it, you will see the background of research in the field of social psychology analyzing mathmatically the phenomenon of social networking.

              Find your own voice--the personal is political.

              by In her own Voice on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:22:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, IhoV! Interesting stuff. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raines, In her own Voice

    told her how we'd talked both about forming a local currency for exchange of goods and talents that may not currently be valued in the mainstream economy

    Be interested in hearing more about your practical ideas.  We met first to talk about this in a UU community circle setting and discussed mostly philosophic ideas about how we would get over the barriers people have about asking for help, even when it is desperately needed.

    Then a different group from our church met and talked about the more practical side...offering our talents and money - tho we pretty much were trying to keep the community small (within our own church community) rather than reaching out further.  Yours has a more expansive feel - helping others outside the smaller group.

    Here is a link from UU World, a UU magazine sent to members quarterly:
    http://www.uuworld.org/...

    talking about common security clubs.  So, we are just beginning to explore the idea of this and I would really enjoy more input from others who are also looking at this.

    (((((hugs)))))

    "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

    by Pandoras Box on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 05:53:30 AM PDT

    •  thanks, PB--I knew UU was involved (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      It may have been you who turned me onto the CSC thing.  There's a UU (in the Woodlands north of Houston) and a couple of my people are members there.  I've heard they have a circle there, but I don't think it's been identified with CSC.  Once we get something going, I'd like to approach churches such as UU, our local Dems groups, businesses, and local pols--as well as some groups already active in community gardening and urban farming.

      Let's keep up with each other on this!

      Find your own voice--the personal is political.

      by In her own Voice on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 06:51:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed - my email is in my profile (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        In her own Voice

        feel free to contact me there - just be aware I don't check my gmail as often as I should.

        I am also going to subscribe to you so I am sure to catch anything else you may write! :)

        "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

        by Pandoras Box on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:04:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't figured out how that "subscribe" works (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pandoras Box

          I've been here almost two years now...:-P.  I've hit the subscribe button, but nothing ever comes to me (and I wouldn't know where to look!).

          I also don't check my suddenlink account very often (the email posted on my profile).  But if we write each other on the ones posted, then we can exchange our more common email addresses.

          Find your own voice--the personal is political.

          by In her own Voice on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 07:08:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Question...I cant get to your Facebook (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    In her own Voice

    page without logging onto Facebook - and I am not a member.  I don't really WANT to start down that path but tell me, can I create an account there without creating a personal page?  

    "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

    by Pandoras Box on Sat Apr 18, 2009 at 06:00:41 AM PDT

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