The Paradox of being “Cool”.
In ancient times, (by ‘Ancient’ I mean before the advent of the internet in every household), being ‘Cool’, or in grammatically correct English, being ‘Admirable’ meant for a person to be an example for the rest of the larger society to follow suit. And of course there were rebels (like me) who would ask one too many questions and be made a fool off or despised by society. But the ‘cool’ people did have a charm about themselves. They conducted themselves very well . They were fairly knowledgeable. Fought for what they believed in. They were respectful and respected. And they, almost, always never broke a sweat under pressure. In short, being ‘cool’ was the definition of setting a trend.
Fast forward to the internet era. Do you see where I am getting to? If you cannot, why don’t you try picturing the coolest person you know? Next, if you are able to picture that person, think of them for a minute and try figuring out what makes them so cool?
If your answer was a person who fits the introductory passage then that person is probably called a hippie or a weirdo, and is one of the few who took the best from the past.
If your answer was a person who highly trendy, internet savvy, “modern” intellectual, who fights for equality with a selfie stick who completely rejects the past, we are talking.
In retrospect, one thing that lies in common with many of us will be that the ‘cool’ lot are a tad bit narcissistic. Collateral damage, basically. Self-appreciation in moderation has not harmed. But the ‘cool’ lot with the internet. Now that is some point at which many see as a flaw with evolution.
You see, the flaw here is that the narcissism is not a tad bit but way overboard. And the purpose of being or trying to be cool is not an ultimatum to be a good person to oneself and society at large. Rather a mind numbing craving for attention and attraction of the opposite sex by the dozen. And if you do not conform, you are literally alienated by a mere gaze.
I am not ashamed to admit that I also did try being that ‘cool dude’ and miserably failed. And I am truly ecstatic for failing.
So like Professor X made the Powerpuff Girls with sugar, spice and everything nice, you too can make yourself the ‘cool’ person with some investment. Probably a kidney but it’s worth it, I guess. So here is what you will need: latest clothes, gadgets accessories and lifestyles as seen in the advertisements, magazines and marketing campaigns, a dictionary of insults and humiliations that pass of sarcasm along with superficial knowledge on almost every trending topic, a playlist with all the latest songs, and an account on every site that is trending and has a comments section. Et voila, you are now officially ‘cool’.
There were a lot of cringes and flashes of a humiliating past that happened as I wrote that paragraph. And this is what I beg to ask: of all the things that one could be with all the information one has, humanity chose to become a set of electronic signals that would gain them attention competitively. Is that what we as a species have boiled down to? Boy, did we fuck up somewhere.
No, I am not asking all of you to become a “Don Corleone” like person. Everyone has a right like and be what they want to. But being a nimwit and yet confident at the same time? The internet calls that being stupid. And yet the internet glorifies this stupid, by insulting the other kinds. This is the essential flaw, which people do not see. There is almost always someone who is going to talk ill of one despite how much of an internet stud one might be. The standard rule here is: “If you don’t follow or if you do but with a difference, you are worthy of nothing but insult”. There is no in between like learning or understand information or any sort of activity which the brain could use.
So where did we go wrong? I don’t know. It is very easy to point fingers at capitalism or a conspiracy theory where an elite group controls the flow of information. But what I can tell you is that we have something that the previous generation lacked. And we have that in abundance. So instead of being an individual competitive, we could be a human collective. With our resources and talents pooled and channeled the right way the various ‘Utopian’ times, that people dream about, are not far from reality. All we have to do is disprove that paradox of being cool, and become what humans essentially are: intelligent.