CoolRight – The Root of All Evil

What the fruitcup is CoolRight?

CoolRight is an uncreative compound word I just created to convey the survival-instinct-like urge that motivates you to act with the goal of being cool or right. The reason I’ve linked the two into one concept is I think they really are the same thing.

"Self-Portrait, Probably Drunk" on Kodak Gold 200 35mm film.
“Self-Portrait, Probably Drunk” on Kodak Gold 200 35mm film.

Being “cool” is like being right where social values are concerned and being “right” is like being cool in an ideological sense.

The “Cool” part probably doesn’t need to be explained. We’ve all done things to try to be cool: wearing Uggs, breaking the budget to get the pretty new iPhone, posing like some dumbass “rockstar” for pictures that will definitely go on Facebook for everyone to see (that’s me), picking up new language nuggets like “Chyea brah!” or “I literally can’t even. Like, I cannot,” etc.

I’m talking adaptation here, in a sense. Maybe more like self-distortion.

In my experience, it starts with observation and judgment. In observing the social landscape, you judge where you want to make camp – with whom you want to associate. Then more observation and judgment – what are the valued memes and motifs of this camp and how do I show myself as valuable via those ideals? And then, of course, you begin to mold yourself to fit into the group. This is achieved by adjusting your dress and speech patterns, picking up new interests and hobbies, and, if it goes real deep, modifying your beliefs and values.

This obviously sucks.

At the end of this process you are not fully you. The results fall along a continuum, but you end up somewhere between saying things you don’t believe and full-blown playing the douche character from every high school movie.

Now on to the “Right” part of CoolRight. This is where we all become even douchier douches.

The urge to be right gets heavy because it inspires extreme hubris and vitriol. This is where all our favorite evangelistic preachy preacher types come from, as well as pissy fanboys (think of the humans who can regurgitate the rhetoric of their favorite politicians and almost start crying as soon as you question any of it), and the I-told-you-so types.

This is some supremely pompous shit. The desire to be right plays out more like the desire to be on the winning team. When this desire is really in full swing, you don’t care about spreading truth or anything like that (even if you say you do), you really just want people to think you’re better, you know more than them. You’re smart, they’re dumb. You win, they lose.

The unfortunate thing is that this petty shit can turn us into absolute, raging fucking psychos.

You ever heard of terrorism? That’s the desire to be right.
You ever heard of “The War on Terror?” Same thing.

Those obsessive evangelical religious types – i.e. Westboro Baptist?
Got any friends who are so adamantly atheist that they proclaim anyone with an inkling of spirituality to be retarded?

It’s a turd battle. Peeps just hucking turds at each other for whatever cause they choose, so they can feel the high of waving a flag.

Alright, now we need to roll it back real quick.
The way I’ve conveyed this CoolRight business thus far is that “Cool” is anti-self while “Right” is anti-other. That’s wrong. Both are both.

The desire to be cool motivates you to distort yourself, so it is definitely anti-self, but it also harms others. For one, the friends you make with your fudged characteristics now have an imaginary friend. It’s you, but it’s not. And if the whole social web is based on these hologram personalities, it’s worthless.
Coolness can also lead to bullying and other such idiocy, which is more apparently anti-other. The desire to be cool is just the more juvenile part of this equation. Its effects are seen as mostly superficial and understood to be meaningless.

The desire to be right, however, begets attitudes that make everything seem so much more serious. It’s the “adult” cool. When someone wants to be in the right, they can assume such a graveness about it that the situation can indeed become grave (war, hate crimes, etc.). For this reason, “Right” feels definitively anti-other.

The truth is, this mode of addressing the world is equally damaging to the self. Think of all the self-deception required to tell yourself that you are absolutely, without a doubt, correct and without fault. Think of all the loathing you must summon and harbor to give yourself the tenacity to preach your views and to fight and condemn all those who are “wrong.”
It’s madness.

And there you have it. That’s CoolRight and why it’s such a shit-party. It’s the ego in psycho-pants. I would do a separate paragraph to explicitly deal with why this is “the root of all evil,” but that should be pretty obvious.

I’m going to end this here mind dump with a challenge: take up meditation.

Not like stereotypical white robes and pretzel-legs meditation. Just take some time every day (twenty minutes does the trick for me) to close your eyes and look at yourself. You don’t want to really think about yourself – you can do that afterward – you just want to see who you are. A quick google search will hook you up with plenty of ways to go about meditating, but the general idea is to concentrate on your breathing, find a state of relaxation where you are still awake, and be aware of your thoughts without becoming attached to them. Just be. Observe your person.

I’m no guru so I won’t act like I know all about meditation or what you should feel, but this simple break from the world works for me. It gives me insight as to how I do the CoolRight and get all douchey, but more importantly, it helps me totally ignore all that and find some genuine me. And the less I worry about that game, the less it seems to surround me.

What are your thoughts?