Biocultural history determines how culture arises from biomes.
Think of how foods are associated with cultures: how sushi makes you think of Japan. Sushi, and the refined culinary aesthetic that surrounds it, arise from the perpetual symbiosis of Japanese people with their maritime biomes. Imagine what would happen if they were denied access to those biomes: their culture would be radically transformed, integral parts of it simply vanishing (like the margaritaville-culture of the BP-ed Gulf Coast.)
Grasp this, and you’re on your way to thinking bioculturally. You’ve begun to appreciate how cultural difference is (in part) environmentally based. Heck, you already know there’s a difference between for instance New York City and Sante Fe, between the way their “natives” speak and relate to each other, and the kinds of foods, shelter and clothing that characterize them. You might even relish those differences—and celebrate cultural and gustatory diversity! (Who wants to eat/drink—think—the same thing every night? Besides your mac&cheez 4 year-old, that is.)
The next step is harder; it’s 4 steps actually.
#1 is to become environmentally literate; to take time to perceive and recognize the biomes human cultures arise from (especially your own).
#2 is to realize that a major legacy of the Industrial Revolution is “cultural universalism”—the ideological dogma that all humans want to be “western” “modern” “technologically advanced” etc.
#3 is to realize that 225 years of “cultural universalism” has produced McDonaldworld (and Blackwater in Afghanistan).
#4 is—via the previous steps—to resist the McDonaldization/Blackwaterification of your own consciousness.
Sushi connects the Japanese, and even us, to the sea. What does a fastfood burger connect us to—and is it something you would choose to be connected to if you have the choice?
You have the choice. Human cultures come and go. The earth abides forever.
There is a “you” that you already are, vaster and more fascinating than you have ever learned at the conveyor-belt schools of your past: your biocultural self.
Think of it this way, if you will, for “thou art that”:
Our bodies are (constituted by) the environment. Though we have been conditioned to think that the environment is “out there,” we are the environment. The environment is our body.
You are air. (Go ahead, try to stop breathing.) You are water. (Your latest blink proved it.) You are solar energy. (Your skin a red coal in the celestial fire; don’t you love the sun on your skin?) You are earth. (Human from humus).
If the environment is our body, there is no such thing as the “environment”; it’s a superfluous entity. There is only body, mine, yours, nested in other bodies, and other bodies nested in ours.
The goal of biocultural history is self-consciousness: “Thou art that”