Hello, again, Class !
I see that everyone is back today, no one’s playing hookey 🙂 (Did I mention that missing a class will automatically subtract a letter grade from your final grade? I didn’t ?? Well, now you know….) Anyway, feel free to help yourself to coffee while we discuss the homework that I’m certain each of you completed!
Your assignment was to draw a correlation between the two philosophers mentioned in Part I: Frigyes Karinthy and Marcus Aurelius.
(Just as an aside, how would you like it if your Mom had named you “Frigyes”? I mean, c’mon ! Would you be “Frig,” for short ? How awful is that ?!? Geeze !)
So … did you find a correlation? Here’s my correlation:
First of all, it was kind of a trick question on my part. I have nothing that demonstrates a direct correlation between the two philosophies. However ! I first became aware of The Six Degrees of Separation years ago when what they call “direct marketing” and (a less flattering term) — “pyramid schemes” — were first becoming very popular.
The KH’s ex accepted (unbeknownst to me) an invitation for us to attend a meeting to discuss the ways in which we could make TONS of money with NO effort from the company that was making this ludicrous pitch. [So that this company that still is in business (but claims to have made revolutionary changes in their operation) doesn’t sue me, I shan’t disclose their real name, other than to say it starts with the letters “Am.”]
At the meeting (two hours + of incessant drivel), they introduced Karinthy’s philosophy. But without attributing it to Karinthy. They called it your “circle of friends,” and they tried to extract names of your friends from you by handing out charts on which you would list these friends on a pre-printed circular drawing that had little bubbles on the spokes of a wheel.
Aside from the fact that I knew what the Am People were up to … the explanation did make sense, in parts. They were trying to explain how easy sales of their product would be to your “circle of friends,” because it would be so simple to create that circle, thereby creating your very own automatic base of customers who would automatically begin scarfing up your products.
Each of these friend-customers would want to join you in making instant millions of dollars by creating their own little friendship circles. They would become your “down line” in your little pyramid scheme. (Of course, little information was given about Am’s products or about their desirability or their sales-worthiness…. Ah, the KH has been into skepticism for so long!)
BUT, all that aside, I do, to this day, believe that there is something to the Six Degrees theory. So do others ! Did any of you click the link “Six Degrees” in the second paragraph about Karinthy? If you did, you would find a treasure-trove of studies that have been done over the years investigating various correlations of degrees of separation.
There have been studies within various fields of mathematics, science and psychology. At least several studies seem to have demonstrated that Karinthy was within tenths of a degree of being absolutely correct about there being no more than six degrees of separation between contacts. Within the field of social media, Kevin Bacon launched SixDegrees.org during 2007, with the goal of linking like-minded individuals in philanthropic endeavors. Linked-in, Twitter and Facebook all use variations of degrees of separation to encourage participation in their brands of connectivity.
Now, how does that relate to you? To me? To anyone? How does that relate to Marcus Aurelius? Are you ready to go to drop-add and drop this class because the KH is making no sense at all? Let’s take a 10-minute break, and I’ll wrap it all up for you 🙂
The KH’s Philosophy 101, Class of 2011
Yesterday, at the end of my regular chemo session, I was in discussion with two of the chemo nurses. We were discussing support groups (which I don’t like/won’t attend because I feel that they are, for the most part, “downers,” as opposed to being as helpful as they are touted to be. ) In walked Dr. T., an Oncologist, who promptly joined our conversation.
Within minutes, having discerned our topic of conversation, he left, saying he’d “be right back.” Moments later, he returned with a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” from which he copied the Meditation in Part I of this post for each of us.
Was it a coincidence that Dr. T. appeared when he did? That he joined our conversation? That he had ready access to a printed copy of writings thousands of years old that support the very basis of my conversation with the nurses (and my own philosophy) of living within the moment … and not, as in some support groups, lamenting the past or fearing the future ? Is Dr. T.’s arrival empirical proof of Karinthy’s theory ?
Or … did Dr. T. just show up because (a) his office is there at the hospital or (b) he was going to show up anyway to do something else ? And what of the fact that I had never laid eyes on him, despite me being there at least weekly at different times of the day over a period of four months.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, Dear Reader, as I upload a little Twilight Zone music into your MP3 player 🙂 Just don’t be surprised when persons who are strangers to you enter your life unbeckoned yet seem to have a definite reason for being there.
How many degrees separate you from them? And you from me?