the birth of the cool

What is it to be cool? In one sense it means a certain acceptability, as in saying, “That’s cool,” but there seems to be another meaning, as in “He/She is sooo coool!” So how does one become cool, and is there a cool thing that is highest in the genus?

Is being cool a virtue?


Popular culture cracks me up…

The concept of coolness is full of irrationalities, as most other popular cultures. However, the humanity and intuitivity involved in them are much greater than those in philosophy.

Cool is basically being different. Sometimes, being different is considered as weird, sometimes - cool. This is of course a very brief analysis, but the best I can do so far.

I fell asleep in a lecture last week, I heard students say: cool or somthing like that… Popular culture cracks me up.

Hmm…But the different is usually unacceptable. I think if you were to do something strange in front of a “cool” person – like philosophise – it might challenge his self-assurance.

Yeah, ain’t it great to be out of the Cave?

Some of my first posts in the forums were about the hardship of being a philosopher. That might be a issue that’ll last for a life time, that moight also be a very significant and telling issue indeed…

Being different doesn’t mean being unacceptable at all. Attraction is fundamentally based on differences; same as repulsion of course. So attractive difference is defined popularly as coolness; replusive difference is defined as weird. Just to refine my previous thought a little.

Is “coolness” just words and semiotics, or inherent psychological sensations? I mean, without the term itself could, say, a primitive culture without such advanced language still experience “coolness,” that is, is “coolness” an inherent feeling or is it an etymological contingency…a stringent of words and nothing more.

Could a cave man feel cool? Is it a psychological state or is it the vague concept formed when defining “cool” linguistically. How complex are the associations involved in the “cool” meaning and concept? Reduced to a few grunts I wouldn’t expect one could say much about it, or give a decent explaination about anything for that matter, though I could picture Lothar strutting through the village feeling “cool” for whatever reason.

Is there a “cool” feeling and/or “meaning” outside of a semiotic expression? If so, what would that entail, because I think this conjecture, in narrowing down what “cool” might be, is a decent place to start.

no, having virtue is cool, or at least it should be encouraged as being cool. Here in the UK there was an article in the Metro yesterday to encourage people to shun the use of cocaine in the same way they did South African wine during apartheid. Cocaine is so fashionable in this country that even the ‘uncool’ are doing it. Actually the real issue is at the source where 80% of the cocaine used locally comes from Columbia where like 50,000 people have died in the drug wars in the last while - that’s bloody outrageous - consious cocaine abuse!!! How bizarre. I say hear hear, viva virtue. VIVA!

it’s simple. if you’re hot, you’re cool.

why not?
what would u feel like if u have been discovered the fire?
or the weel?

coolness is actually kind of simple. its easier to understand when you see a blatant example of the opposite. when somebody desperately cares about how everyone else thinks about him, you can easily notice if you are paying attention. the things they decide to say are self promoting, their responses are focused more on displaying their hopefully large amount of knowledge than on actually helping the person they are responding to. just look for someone who looks even dorkier than you, and pay close attention to how much he wants everyone to love him, and youll know exactly what im talking about. a very clear sign that somebody is not cool, when they laugh, they look around to make sure other people are laughing.

coolness is the opposite of that. if you relax and dont care what anybody thinks about you, that is what i have come to refer to as cool.

Hi Future Man,

There may be a little more to it in the cultural sense. Someone who achieves a few apparent perfections, maybe in achievements, style, clothing and stuff, but doesn’t seem to make an effort about it is often thought to be cool. But, of course they did have to make an effort, and so the ultimate in coolness is impossible. This is why it is sought after so much by uncool people.

But, to be admired by uncool people is ultimately uncool, which brings us back to the paradox. But of course, if you didn’t care whether you were admired or not then that would be cool, but effortlessness is only cool if there is some achievement attached to it, otherwise nobody (or everybody) would be cool and coolness is almost always regarded as a rare and desirable attribute, recognised by other cool people. So you do have to achieve something, even if it’s just a look,or a mien.

One fairly sure thing about coolness, is that once everyone is doing it, then it’s no longer cool.

In this sense I wonder if the following (high profile) people were cool or uncool?

Michael Jackson
George Bush
Brad Pitt
Albert Camus
Bill Clinton
John Malkovitch
Johny Depp

??? The mind boggles.

Cheers, freethinker :sunglasses:

yeah. when i see a girl all dressed up, i figure that she might be cool, but usually id prefer the girl with home made clothes. but when its a guy all dressed up in expensive bs, i pity them. its like a sign attached to their head that says “please look at my body, not my… uh… head… thing… that… does school things”

i guess what most people call cool, id call vein and shallow. and what id call cool intimidates and is unfamiliar to most people. if youre intelligence is such that your conversations will never rise above a certain ‘what did i do today’ level, and this level corresponds to those people who love clothes, this system works great. especially since we can all look down upon and enslave the gammas.

most of us here are at least a little smart, and thats an achievement by itself. basically, we have something that other people dont and if they become friends with us, they may benefit as a result. if youre not smart, then youll have to be pretty, and you can provide your prettiness to people who want to be surrounded by it. if you know that other people know that you have these things, and you dont ever try to make them know, then you are as cool as you can be.

if you have neither a brain or prettiness, then its time to settle for somebody who is equal or more of a loser than you are. youll never be real close friends with somebody who is completely better than you in every way. if you are, you are most likely being used or they are tolerating an unspoken obligation resulting from an unusually long friendship. in either case, youll never be cool if you know that they are better than you. you have to know that you are better than everybody, thats how to be cool.

michael jackson- i cant imagine anybody trying harder than this guy. he is probably the biggest dork known to man.

Gosh Future Man, that was a quick reply! Were you poised over the keyboard waiting to strike?

I agree about the ‘girl clothes’ thing. I once fancied a girl because of her look and it turned out she had borrowed the stuff from a friend and didn’t even realise how good she looked. Next day she was a wardrobe disaster; nice personality though.

Man clothes? I lost few girls through that one. I remember one lovely girl saying to me, “You’re alright from the neck up.” I quickly got rid of the business suit after that one.

I guess it’s down to what really matters, and in the final analysis, I wanted the girls.

A conversation in our philosophy common room once tickled me. Two 1st yr female undergraduates were discussing the relative merits of a red or blue Ferrari. I left them to it, although I do happen to know the 0-60 times of the said model. Aaaah, the life of a scholar, the pleasures of aesthetic contemplation.

Cheers, freethinker. :sunglasses:

I’m with you on this one. I have carried a few obligations of this type and the relief at finally ending them is so good.

Aristotle gives us a good lead here, when he says that friendships need to be based on quite close equality for them to endure and be real. I don’t think that this equality needs to be in every area of our lives. but there needs to be a good amount of common ground between friends and NO envy.

I have been envied, and it always ended with someone being hurt.

The problem with intelligence is that everyone doesn’t have it, or at least intelligence of the same kind.


Cheers, freethinker :sunglasses:

Credit where credit is due. For it was Jazz that brought the cool.

Relaxed is part of being cool. And it is not just that you don’t care what other people think of you, it is more that you never WORRY about what other people think of you.

Cool looks relaxed because cool has total confidence. Quiet confidence is cool.

No matter what happens the cool can handle it. No matter how intense things get, the cool never breaks a sweat. Its that attitude quiet confidence that draws everyone’s attention. The cool is never loud and proud.

The cool is the ultimate power, without struggle, effort or work it accomplishes everything.

“it’s simple. if you’re hot, you’re cool.”

I believe this is what many many people say cool for.

“dont’t care about what others think”

A much fewer people I belive, say cool for this.

I have to join this discussion because it’s sad how the concept of cool is often leading my life, or maybe i think it is more than it really is. Nonetheless, being cool to me has always been like the highest achievement. That’s probably why I’ll never be cool, because I keep trying to become cool. But it’s cool not to be cool. I’m pathetic, aren’t I. But then again, it’s cool, in my mind, to be pathetic, to think negative. I guess it gets to the point where your definition of cool becomes so subjective that your small things, or whatever, that you think are making you cool, actually no ones noticing, or they laugh, one because you are such a loser for trying so hard to be cool. And 2, because maybe by pretending to be stupid, or uncool, actually looks uncool and stupid. Like wearing a dirty shirt. Sometimes I think that’s cool. Other people laugh hysterically because I think this because they know I’m a loser, and 2 that a dirty shirt is just well… dirty.

But then again, it’s cool to be a loser.

ive found that cool people can wear any kinds of clothes. overly stylish or dirty like i and d prefer. i believe the true coolness only appears during conversations. the same principle applies, do you try to be cool or not; do you care what others think about what you said or not. its completely possible for somebody who is vein and shallow when it comes to clothes to be totally cool when it comes to talking about what they think. if they care what you think about what they think, they are a dork and everybody will subconciously respect them much less. if they are ultimately confident that whatever they say is right and anybody who disagrees is a moron, then at least the girls will totally fall over themselves for him.

i have a friend who is a funny example of this. he is physically exactly what girls want. and this completely created his ultimate confidence long ago. he also did too much mushrooms, so he loves philosophy, but hes not so great at talking about it. he often makes me laugh with his silliness and ive given up correcting him. but he says the most ridiculous, contradictory, plainly wrong things with as much confidence as anything i say. thats why hes cool, even though hes totally wrong, he acts like hes totally right until he finds out otherwise, in which case he admits he was wrong and changes what he said. if he was constantly trying to make sure that whatever he said was right, he would become a dork.

that is exactly how you become cool, i swear. if you care what other people think about what you say, you talk differently. people subconsciously notice. ive noticed people talking dorkily like this and ive noticed everyone respect him much less, and then when i brought this topic up after he left, nobody had noticed exactly why he was such a dork except me, and yet they had all subconsciously stopped respecting him. im telling you dorks, i know tons of you are reading this, this may be the most important paragraph youll ever read.

I love this topic. I kind of agree with the thing that being cool is being “different” though, because sounding dorky can be cool. And caring about what people think to the extent that you are weirdly anxious or something might be cool, cuz it’s different or whatever.

I almost feel like I have friends here. :slight_smile: