Calling culture “The Cultural Cloud” is a linguistic trick designed to do one thing – remind us that we are in control of our culture. Like our own selves, we have the ability to influence, hack, and change the ideas, values, institutions, and various memes of our society. And like the surging trend of self hacking, it’s time that hacking culture is added to the top of our society’s priority list.
Humans are social creatures. Our nervous systems are designed to connect with and download behaviors from the cultural cloud. We are constantly exchanging information and behaviors with the world around us in an effort to survive, adapt, and hopefully thrive. Unfortunately, our cloud is filled with poor institutions and value sets that degrade our hardware and software. So, while the cultural cloud is not itself a bad thing, when it’s filled with garbage, it becomes bad for us.
Sadly, many of the institutions of today are designed to target us at the deepest and most personal level in ways that exploit weaknesses in the human operating system in order to transfer wealth and power to the overseers of those institutions. An ill-tech innovation of yesteryear was exploiting the evolutionary adaptation of sugar craving. How? By cramming as much sugar as possible into foods, making them addictive and in turn driving consumption and corporate revenue – no matter the cost to the consumer. The current day corollary is social media platforms intentionally designed to exploit human psychology in order to make using their apps and platforms addictive, in turn driving attention and ultimately corporate revenue – no matter the cost to the consumer.
Similar viruses exist in nearly every institution.
Similar viruses exist throughout the cultural cloud in nearly every institution. From clickbait marketing headlines designed to Grab your Attention, to regulatory governmental agencies in cahoots with the industries they are supposed to be monitoring, to a “free market” that is responsible for one of the greatest wealth transfers from the have-nots to the haves in all of human history.
The examples are endless, but the point is simple. There is garbage in our cultural cloud and the institutions that hold it up. And as any coder will tell you – Garbage In equals Garbage Out. Or, to say it in simpler terms, when you are raised in a crummy culture, everything about you is negatively affected.
So, if you want to help yourself, it’s time to realize that we’re all in this together and we need to begin to take control of the cultural cloud. If you build platforms and institutions that screw the rest of us to make a quick profit for yourself, it’s likely you’ll be negatively impacting everyone in your community – and possibly the world. So take a stand, follow your passion, but do it in service of the greater good. We’re all in this together, and it’s going to take as many of us as possible to safeguard a successful tomorrow.