The human environment

Meme theory is pretty cool, huh?  The idea that ideas are like genes, and group together into larger idea-creatures in the environment of the collective space of human consciousnesses. I find more and more as I learn more about the world as it exists today that it's easier to wrap my head around the issues of the world, of corporations, governments and the internet, by imagining humans as the environment in which things take place, rather than the agents acting in an environment.

It's fun, and helpful, to think of complex ideas like the Occupy movement tapping into the natural resources of their environment -- reserves of anxiety and passion buried not-too-deep under the surface of the American human landscape.

And it makes understanding corporations easier.  Terms like "Human Resources" only really make sense if you assume that a corporation thinks humans are a collective environment from which resources can be mined.  Resources like labor, creativity, money and attention.

I think my favorite thing about looking at it this way is that humans aren't locked into a solitary state.  We can transcend the layers of metaphorical environment.  That's what artists do -- they tap into the human resources of love and passion and beauty, to interact with the memetic environment humans carry with them.

I think this view also highlights an important absence in the current conventional understanding of the human environment:  it absolutely requires acknowledging the relevance of human emotions.  It's one thing to think of a corporation as a free-market entity that will push towards some poorly defined "greatest possible good," it's quite another to notice that to do so it cultivates fear and anxiety to strip-mine money from the environment of its 'consumers.'  (I hate that word, Consumer, by the way, and I'll talk about that in a post soon.)