How a Tree is an Essential Metaphor of Culture for Teenagers to Contemplate

Annemarie Berukoff
7 min readSep 23, 2020


How is technology changing the way we make sense of our place, of our culture and of understanding ourselves?

Just as we’re losing diversity of plant and animal species due to the environmental crisis, so too are we losing the diversity and range of our minds due to changes in our cognitive environment. Preface to The Stars in Our Pockets by Howard Alexrod

Culture is everywhere, that is the first fact. Human beings are bound by culture which can be described as the ordinary processes by which a given society observes, trains, tests and finds meanings to its true purposes.

Every culture is in active development through contact, experience, education, discovery and active debate or communication.

Culture can also be segmented for closer interpretation. It creates SOCIAL MORES which are the codes of behavior that are important to establish manners, customs and habits and add moral significance. SOCIAL NORMS or conventions are created by like-minded people to participate in groups.

Culture can create MEMES which are ideas, symbols, behaviors, styles or even phenomena that can spread from person to person becoming self-redirecting and even mutating through selective pressures.

Who would disagree that our modern-day technology has drastically changed our culture in its directions, observations and meanings? Every adult, teenager and child are facing changes. Old rules for many are deleted; new rules by a few are imposed and spread on viral streaming.

Who is concerned about the obvious pressures of social media disproportionately affect teenagers, especially girls? Where did this subculture come from to be perfect with a perfect body, to act perfectly to have the perfect group of friends? If you miss the perfection standard, then you face depression, self-loathing and bullying; sadly, not in only your own room but on worldwide media exposure.

So, let’s imagine in a creative sense, that our culture can be symbolized by a magnificent tree deeply rooted with a sturdy trunk of common values and a crown displaying branches of society’s rules. Our ideas, words and images shine and shimmer as silvery leaves as we experience changes…



Annemarie Berukoff

Retired teacher — Affiliate Marketer, Big Picture Wisdom, author 4 e-books: social media teens, eco-fiction ecology