Human culture is the body of values, rules, behaviors, and artifacts that are characteristic to the way a given human society interacts amongst itself and with its societal and natural environment.
The main conceptual characteristics of cultures are:
- They have values that define what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable.
- They have rules as well as means of rewarding and punishing the successful application of rules respectively the violation of rules.
- They have behavioral pattern, by which individuals and groups typically interact and express themselves. Behavioral pattern are influenced by values and rules.
- They have a self-conception that is maintained by visible iterative behavioral pattern as well as by narratives, memes, and artifacts.
Culture is an iteratively ongoing, emergent, self-referential, self-stabilizing, and transformative process: it is a collective pattern that emerges from individual and collective expressions, and at the same time shapes in self-reference the individual and collective interaction and expression. While the collective pattern is stabilized by each emergence being dominated by the preceding emergence, culture over time is not invariantly determined by the same circular process. It is constantly influenced and transformed over time by countless events and incidents outside that loop – and by the creativity coming from its individuals and groups.