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January 16, 2020 / Congau


Certain things are generally considered interesting, worthwhile, attractive and pleasing by a large group of people at the same time. It is popular and trendy from a broad perspective and for the individual it simply appears to be likable. That is probably what we mean when we use that informal but indispensable word “cool”.

“Cool” is a curious merger of personal and popular taste. You wouldn’t normally call something cool if you knew you were the only person in the world who liked it, and neither would you if everyone else approved of it but not you.

However, even if this is the definition of “cool”, it remains forever impossible to explain what makes something cool. Why is it that at a certain period and in a certain place something becomes so attractive that even critically minded individuals embrace it along with the general masses? Why is it that we follow the trends not just out of convenient submission but because we positively approve of it?

One may try to look for a rational answer to this question, but it would be in vain. One may search for material and socio-economic reasons to explain why it would be rational to adopt a trend and even employ quasi Darwinian hypotheses to argue that a certain mode of behavior is necessary for survival. But such attempts are generally useless, for normally no particular advantage can be found as to why something becomes a fashion.

That being said, everything in the world has a cause and nothing comes from nothing. Our perception of what is cool is subject to waves of influence that always reach us when we live in a society and notice what is going on around us. As long as we refuse to live in isolation, we must accept the tyranny of coolness, but hopefully we don’t have to totally submit to it. Critical thinking is difficult but give it a try though it’s not so cool.

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