Since we were all born into one environment or another, I suppose the environment came first. However, rather than to launch into the neverending "Nature versus Nurture" or more aptly, the "Nature and Nurture" thingy, lets look at something closer to my own environment by quoting an old friend, Mr. Jeffrey Chee.
If there was anything I learned from Jeffery, it must be in these words from him, "Cheah, we must always be consciously aware of our own environment! Being merely aware is not enough."
The operative word is of course, "consciously" and this sort of opens up a different awareness. It implies choice; we should choose to know more rather than feel we know enough.
Sentient beings though we may be, it appears that not everyone is continuously consciously aware of their environment. Some people are totally clueless; we see it in the disposition of certain people we know. These are the ones who are mostly out of sync in their view on situations and their actions, reactions or inaction reflect their sorry state of mind.
In most cases, it is a matter of degree. The fortunate ones can switch on and off at will and the unfortunate ones forget to use it. To the born idiots or retards, it makes no difference and does not matter. They probably do not realize they are in an environment anyway.
This brings me to what most of us are: the "self-creations".
We were all born into environments that began moulding us from day one. Attitude and thence outlook or perception took shape.
As we grew older we began to define ourselves within our own environments - thereby "creating ourselves"; the notion of who are and who we aren't, what we can and what we can't. Each individual has and is aware of his own environment or rather a notion of his environment.
Personally, I like to equate it to being encased in a huge "invisible bubble"; feeding off it and creating it at the same time. The comfort zone afforded by being in a "coccoon".
Interaction with others becomes a matter of colliding or merging bubbles depending on each individual's notion of his own bubble.
The pertinent question becomes not whether there is a bubble but rather whether we can choose to consciously perceive ours and others' bubble.
And perhaps the best example of all.....