Six degrees

Go to these Web sites to find out how to donate to community members who have been the hardest hit by the economic downturn: Loaves & Fishes,; The Salvation Army,; St. John’s Shelter,

It’s a scary time. For most of us, the global economic meltdown has thrashed our sense of who we are and what we have, both literally and figuratively. Almost all of us are worried about job security. As layoffs mount across the country and here in the Sacramento region, we are left to wonder when it will end and where we’ll be when it does.

What separates those of us who haven’t yet suffered too terribly from those who have lost jobs or abandoned homes? Not much. The “six degrees of separation” theory holds that everybody on the planet is separated by just six other people, that there are six degrees of separation between us and everyone else. Known sometimes as the “human web,” the theory attempts to establish that we’re all more connected than we realize.

These days, it feels truer than ever. Not too many months ago, it might have taken at least a few degrees of separation to link most of us to those hardest hit by the tanking economy. But today, that’s not the case. Now every one of us has either experienced a job loss firsthand or we have family members, friends and colleagues who have suffered. Who doesn’t know someone who’s been laid off, furloughed, foreclosed on or given up on a once dreamed-of college future for a son or daughter?

It seems the wracked economy is just another reminder that we exist in a web of humanity that has us all indelibly linked, approaching zero separation.

What to do about it? We’d better take care of each other.