(1) Increasingly, the social programming and conformity we see everywhere is forcing everyone into a very narrow range of behaviors and attitudes deemed "cool." By no means is this range of attitudes and behaviors fully rational, let alone the very best human reason could formulate. By no means is it appropriate for all persons in their varying life circumstances. By no means does it serve the GOOD or strive after human excellence. By no means does it generate individual or social maturation or development.
By and large, the forcing of all into FORCED COOL perpetuates and furthers almost endless material consumption. As such, it is deeply supported by corporations which must continue to accelerate consumption to survive and thrive. Were persons courageous enough to resist FORCED COOL, reject it as valueless and beneath their human dignity, then material consumption would plunge, causing many companies to go bankrupt or lose significant market value. Persons generally lack such courage so consumption driven by FORCED COOL is unlikely to slow down. Even the global warming of the Earth and the potential catastrophic consequences resulting from it to all known life is INsufficient in the face of the pull of FORCED COOL. With increasing knowledge of how human consumption behaviors are accelerating global warming, persons continue to consume in the service of the ideal of FORCED COOL. Earth be damned, cool will I be!
(2) This forcing of all into FORCED COOL consists of a certain set of behaviors, characteristics, and attitudes that one must dutifully comply in order to remain cool. These attitudes and behaviors include:
- Materially well-off in terms of income, housing situation, car, and so on. Forced cool requires one to live in an expensive trendy city like LA, Miami, SF, NYC, Chicago, or DC. To live in these cities one must usually maintain a rather high income to even rent a halfway decent apartment, let alone purchase a single family home. Forced cool does not permit one to live in a small town (e.g. Vonore, TN) with a very low cost of living. It also does not permit one to drive a very old practical car that still works but has no "curb appeal."
- Access to and ownership of the latest fashion (including body art) and technology. Forced cool does not permit one to wear whatever one wants or possess only minimal out-dated technology. The latest coolest fashions and technologies must be purchased and then discarded as soon as next year's models are released.
- Relatively attractive, physically fit, and healthy eater. Forced cool requires one to work out but not excessively, just enough to avoid being "fat" which is deemed uncool. Forced cool does not permit one to regularly eat junk or fast food; rather one must seek out expensive organic fruits and vegetables, expensive bars and restaurants, and increasingly expensive gyms, spas, and excercise classes.
- Nonjudgmental of others except those that are religious or socially conservative or otherwise committed to "values." Forced cool requires one not to judge how others are behaving or what they think. Everyone is to be respected for their uniqueness and difference. Only the deeply religious or socially conservative may be judged as "backward" and "uncool."
- Relentlessly positive, agreeable, upbeat, and nice. Forced cool requires one to relentlessly pronounce the behaviors, comments, or future plans of others as either awesome, cool, neat, fun, or nice. The mantra here is responses that begin with "how awesome" "that's so cool" "how nice." Forced cool does not permit one to be negative or pessimistic or skeptical or even realistic.
- Willing to indulge in occasional vices without becoming addicted to them.
- Disinterested in politics or the news or science.
- Doesn't really enjoy working or one's chosen career but sticks with it to make money and do fun things with the money earned.
- Disinterested in knowing how things work. Willing to pay to have things repaired, even if these repairs are the simplest ones imaginable.
(3) Beginning in the 60s the desire of persons to be "cool" was a very simple thing with few demands or requirements. One simply needed to reject money worship, incessant work, and return to Nature, the love of music and others, and appreciate the small pleasures of life. Over time, conceptions of coolness have becoming increasingly complex and burdensome, such that to be cool now is literally a full-time job and requires constant attention and projection of a certain public image and presentation. Unless one was magically born with all of the above behaviors, characteristics, and attitudes, then one usually must become inauthentic in order to attain forced cool and stay there. Being cool now requires a constant screening of what one is eating, saying, doing, earning. It requires a very high level of material consumption funded by a very high level of income to support that consumption. For those that don't have such income, FORCED COOL does often push them into debt to afford things they should go without. Because the desire to be cool has become so strong and so persistent, many do in fact choose debt rather than giving up on the dream of being cool.
(4) Here again, courage is shown to be (in modernity) much less about one's ability to fight in battle or take other physical risks and much more about resisting the pressures of herding behavior and remaining authentic to the core to the end.