Spell Me Straight

I have been writing professionally for thirty years now. I have written endless blog posts, short stories. novels, manifestos, ransom letters, suicide notes, sexual propositions, violent threats, community complaints, essays, philosophical meanderings, pornographic invitations to come over to my home. In all this time spent writing you would think that I would have learned how to spell.

But I can’t spell. My spelling sucks. I mean the other day I spelled nut shell wrong! How simpltonian is that? No matter how hard I have tried I have a spelling block in my brain. I was beaten by the spelling bee a long time ago. I am not sure what that sentence means but I like it anyways.

A writer with an inability to spell is like a psychotherapist with a fucked up personal life. I am both of these things. A man not destined for the straight and narrow path. A continual abbreviation and a constant contradiction. I am one who will never be spelled straight. I don’t know what that sentence means but I like it anyways.

Self Authoring #2

Describe an Experience

Fault: Am frequently irritable or angry

Please write a short story (approximately 1,000 characters) about a time in your life when this fault created a situation that had a negative impact on your life.

Describe a time? This has effected my entire life! I am frequently irritable and angry. I grew up with a miserable and abusive man for a father so I caught the infectious misery virus. I had it drilled into me. Now I am always irritable and angry. Well almost always. You want me to pick a time in my life? How about pick a time when it was not an issue? Ok, well I can pick my current life situation. I am always irritable and angry now. I am consenting that my wife can have a boyfriend. I am saying she can do it but then when she sees him I get pissed off about it! It is making my current relationship very hard because I am always upset and shut down for the most part. I am always feeling betrayed and screwed over by my wife. Always angry at her for desiring this guy as much as she does. Wanting to see him every week. Wanting to have sex with him. I am mad at her about this. I am mad that she likes having sex with him so much. That she desires him as much as she does. That when they do have sex they have sex for hours and really go at it like two animals. I am just pissed off about this. Angry and irritable all the time even though I am giving her permission. Even though a part of me finds it hot and sexy. But I am pissed off that I keep getting pissed off and upset about it. I am mad at myself that I can not be cool about it. So this fault of mine is creating big problems in my life currently. It is making me feel upset and shut down everyday. It is making my experience of life very unpleasant. It is not fun being angry and shut down towards your wife most days. Feeling hurt and betrayed and isolated. But what bullshit! I am consenting! What is my problem? Oh yeah, I have this irritable and angry fault that is currently having a very negative impact on my life.


Alternative Outcome

Fault: Am frequently irritable or angry

Write a short paragraph about what you might have done differently in that situation, to minimize the effect of this fault.

An alternative outcome? Fuck. I don’t know. Get a girlfriend of my own whom I like fucking and then I might not feel so upset about things. Any ladies out there want to fuck me? But I don’t want to put in the effort. I am just too lazy I suppose. Maybe if I had a sexy girlfriend that I liked having sex with I would not feel so pissed off all the time. Maybe I just feel inadequate in this situation. Like she is having all the fun. I don’t have anyone to balance things out. What else could I do to minimize the effect of this fault? Meditate more. Take xanax. Smoke more weed. Commit myself to my own work more. Work on building up my self-esteem. Ask my wife to not see her boyfriend as much. Maybe they could just try and fuck once rather than two or three times? I don’t know. I need to do my own thing more. Make my wife aware of this fault of mine and tell her to proceed with caution. To be mindful that frequently getting irritable and/or angry is a fault of mine. What might I have done differently in this situation? Maybe not consent to her seeing her fuck buddy unless I was absolutely comfortable and ok with it. I also should not have spied on them and watched as they had highly pornographic sex in my living room (the things they did together I still can not get out of my head) and as they lay together and held each other in their arms and ran hands through hair and kissed and talk and adored each other and then fucked again. I probably did not need to see this. It hurt bad. It looked like love to me. So one thing I could do is say no more meetings with him in our home. Also I probably should have someone I can regularly talk with about this stuff.


Guidelines for general improvement

Fault: Am frequently irritable or angry

Now that you’ve thought about how you might have behaved differently in that particular situation, please think about this fault in more general terms. How could you work on improving this fault in general, so that such situations do not repeat themselves?

Oh fuck. I don’t know. I think I have touched on this already. How can I work on improving this fault in general, so that such situations do not repeat themselves in the future? Well I could ask my wife to stop fucking other men. But in truth there would just be something else I would get angry or irritable about. I like her being sexually wild. I would like to be more that way myself. I do not want to stand in her way. I do get something out of her having sex with other men. I don’t like the relationship part. I could ask her to really limit the relationship part. I could ask her to see more than one guy so she is not so fixated on just one person. Just meet up and fuck is fine but the relationship part makes me uncomfortable. So I could ask her to go easy with that but then I just appear like an insecure priss. I could be in therapy, I could meditate more, I could really work on having better control over my anger. I could really try to not shut down towards her when I feel upset. When I feel angry that she fucked him. When I feel jealous. I could really try and over power these feelings and be open and loving despite my fear and anger. I could be less caught up in my ego. I could just let things happen as they will and worry less. I could work on having better control over my mind and feelings. I could love more. I could have sex with her more. I could stop being so shut down. Open up. Make the most of things. Cut out the crap. Take advantage of the situation. Have lots of sex with her. Fuck her. Fuck other women. Abuse her. Screw her over. Make her feel worthless. Have fun! But I have this fucking fault of being frequently irritable and angry. It sucks. It causes me to shut down. So why won’t this self assessment tell me what to do about that? I can analyze the fuck out of a problem but hey tell me how to fix it fuckers!

Self Authoring #1

Fault: Pursue too many activities at the same time

Please write a short story (approximately 1,000 characters) about a time in your life when this fault created a situation that had a negative impact on your life.

I think this applies to every single period of my life. Currently it applies and has applied for as long as I can remember. I am interested in too much and as a result do not get much of anything done. How is it effecting me now? It probably overwhelms me. It causes me to just stay with the status quo. I do work that I do not really want to do for money. I am not focused on any one thing enough to be successful. I am scattered. I have opportunities now. I could do many things. But I can not commit to anything because I have too much I am interested in. so I do everything I do half ass and nothing succeeds. I just crawl along in a sense. I try to ignore this and just have fun. Distract myself. Just hang out. Get preoccupied by drama and stupid shit. Pursue various addictions. I figure that since I can’t really focus on anything and am interested in so many different things I mine as well just do nothing or little or do what I want to do when I do it. I just oscillate between so many things that I never am able to thrive at one thing. It is frustrating. Keeps me irritable. Keeps me distracted and caught up in stuff like cleaning or relationship drama or just wasting time. I just am interested in too much. Listening to music, being a novelist, blogging, being a successful meditation teacher, making experimental music, writing essays and short stories, drawing, Instagram, reading literature, running my own business. Just too much going on and I am always trying to escape this reality I think.


Fault: Pursue too many activities at the same time

Write a short paragraph about what you might have done differently in that situation, to minimize the effect of this fault.

I have not wrote about a particular situation. It is even incredibly difficult for me to stick to any kind of direction. But let me write about my current situation specifically. What could I do differently? Give things up. Focus on one thing at a time. Stop being preoccupied by bullshit. Work on becoming more emotionally stable. Make choices. Give certain things up. Focus. Make choices. Give certain things ups. Focus. Focus. Become more emotionally stable. Let go of certain things. Maybe get out of a relationship that causes me too much emotional instability. If I can not find emotional stability in this relationship to leave. To get a divorce. To get myself to a more stable place where I can focus. But I am terrified of being alone. I am terrified of missing my wife. Of letting her go. But need to get myself into a situation where I can stick to a regular routine and schedule. Where I can have less drama. To be less fearful. To do what is best for me knowing who I am rather than hoping I get better. Hoping things change. Its hard though because there are certain things I like about current situation. But shit has got to change. Can not keep going on like this.


Fault: Pursue too many activities at the same time

Now that you’ve thought about how you might have behaved differently in that particular situation, please think about this fault in more general terms. How could you work on improving this fault in general, so that such situations do not repeat themselves?

Well I think I have already spoken to this. Am I doing this exercise wrong? Am I being too general. How can I behave differently in my current situation? How can I improve on this fault in general so my current situation does not repeat itself? I need to focus. I need to select one or two interests and stick to just them. read one book at a time. Work on one project at a time. I need to have a routine that I stick to. I need to get in a relationship that helps me maintain this routine or get out of current relationship and be on my own. Need to become better at being on my own. Be less dependent. Really need to focus on just a few things. Structure my life in a way that supports my ability to focus. Eat well. Don’t drink much. Sleep well. Stay focused. Don’t know what else to say. Maybe I should also seek out help for my sex addiction. Maybe this will help me to get things under some kind of control. Things feel like a wild emotional mess right now and I really don’t like it. What else can I say? Focus, be in a relationship that supports this or leave, routine, eat well, rest, meditate……


Fat Girls Are No Fun


My wife just cleaned up and made me a bed in our backyard trailer. It is a nice space in there. Tonight I will be sleeping in the trailer because my wife is having her boyfriend over. They will have animalistic sex, two or three times in our living room, so it is best that I spend the night outside.


My 1982 Westfalia Volkswagen Camper Van has been sitting in my driveway for a week now. I know that I need to go start it and run the engine or else all sorts of things could get messed up. But I haven’t gotten to it yet. I don’t understand why I am too lazy to go start my camper van.


I am a bit to stoned to be doing psychotherapy today. But I am a professional and will get through my six clients without indication that I am stoned. I am a professional and have done my job well in many different psychological states, including complete panic. Being stoned just helps me to feel better while listening to people’s nonsense.


I just blew leaves from my backyard deck. There is something incredibly satisfying about blowing leaves from a backyard deck. The only problem is that it is dirty again within a day or two. And the blower can be agitating to ears and mind.


I have had some anxiety today but it is ok. I handled it well enough. I know it is a repercussion of drinking strong coffee. Even if I didn’t drink coffee I would probably still have the anxiety so I mine as well drink the coffee and tolerate the unpleasant side effects.


I would like to have sex with a young, beautiful woman. My wife is a young beautiful woman but I have had plenty of sex with her. I need someone new. Someone different. Someone to really get my 47-year-old blood flowing. Maybe this evening I will go to a strip club that is not far from my home. It is a nice strip club. I enjoy it inside even though the women can be relentless with regards to wanting to get money from me. I don’t mind though. It is good practice for saying no and not feeling bad about it.


I like that my wife is a slut. I give her a lot of credit and it turns me on. Women who like to have sex as much as a guy are a rare commodity and I value that. This is why I let her be free. It is something I respect. If more women where this way our world would be a happier place. She is the best sexual partner I have ever had.


I spent time in my backyard today lying on my back in the grass. I watched the branches of tress move themselves across the paper thin blue sky. A white airplane moved across the sky and through the braches. The sun kept my bare chest warm. It was a nice way to start the day.


I am not an unattractive man. In fact, for my age I am a very attractive man. I realize this even though I often feel insecure inside. When I am depressed my wife will remind me that I am the coolest guy my age around. That makes me feel better for a bit. There is no doubt that I could have sex with younger, attractive women if I tried. I just don’t try much. I prefer to just go to the strip club. But maybe I should try harder before my hair thins so much that I am no longer a desirable man.


There is a fat girl who has been pursuing me. She lives a few houses over from me and writes me pornographic letters. I think it is cute. I have nothing against fat girls. I know a lot of men really like fat girls. At the strip club I always see young men going into the back room with fat girls. There is a demand and desire for fat girls. I am just not attracted to them. I like my women thin and tight. Nicely breasted and with a firm ass. I could have sex with this fat girl tonight if I wanted but I don’t think I can. I am not that desperate just yet. Maybe down the road but I am afraid that fat girls are no fun.

Our Fractured Self

I have had this dilemma on social media. I can present myself as a person that I am not really. But I could be very successful as this person. I could make a lot of money as this person. But this person is not an authentic expression of my true self. Or I could present myself as my true self and probably damage my earning potential. Damage the person who could be very successful and make a lot of money as that person. Damage my cultural legitimacy. This is a dilemma I have each day.

When I told my friend about this she said, “This is the fundamental dilemma for us all. This is what our society does to us. It creates a fractured self where the fake self can make enough money to be able to be the real self on the weekends. We all struggle with this.

Great,” I sarcastically thought. Do I really want to play this game? Is this how I really want to spend my one life? Playing a game so I can make a lot of money to be able to comfortably be myself on the weekends? This is a real dilemma.

If America is famous for anything it is famous for this creation of the fractured self. I suppose the fractured self is a byproduct of neoliberal capitalism. The objects we buy are not the only commodities we trade in. In our late capitalist society, we must make ourselves into commodities that we can sell and trade if we want to be successful. We ourselves are the ultimate commodities and as a result we have become completely full of shit.

We do it to ourselves. We have no one to blame for this synthetic and fraudulent way of life but ourselves. We have been frozen by fear into submission. The only reason I do not present myself as the man that I actually am and want to be on social media (and in my life) is because I am terrified that I will lose cultural legitimacy and diminish myself in the professional work I do. That people will turn against me and I will end up discrediting myself. I am sure we all feel this way to some extent. But we all do it to one another.

We all enable this fractured self because it is you that is judging me and discrediting me in your mind when I present myself as the man I really am. You are the problem. Your inability to value and practice authenticity, your continual fear and fraudulence in your own life is what makes you demand the same behavior from me. This is herd mentality in a nut shell. You are the one perpetuating this herd mentality.

Personally, I would prefer to have a doctor, dentist, banker, lawyer, therapist, painter, teacher, friend and waiter who is not lying to me about who they really are. I would feel much safer and more trusting of a person who is trying hard not to be a fractured self. Fractured selves are not safe because they have commodified themselves and to commodify oneself is to diminish the quality of whatever services they are providing. When something becomes impersonal it becomes less important to a person. And when something is less important to a person they do a worse job.

The epidemic of the fractured self is what is responsible for most of the anxiety, depression and various other forms of mental illness in our society. I can’t prove this for certain but I feel it is a safe assumption. It has done it to me so I presume it has done it to you. More people take psychiatric pills in America than any country in the world! Imagine that.

When we have a fractured self we obviously don’t feel good about it even though the money is good. The job security is good. But we feel like shit. We do not feel like ourselves. We feel like a stained glass version of who we really are. We are continually terrified that we will be seen as the imposter we really are. We will be found out. Our fractured self will be exposed. It is a continual game of hide and seek that eventually makes of sick and miserable.

Who wants to spend their life in this way? Is the money and the material comforts really worth is? Is the cultural legitimacy really worth it? These are the questions I ask myself and I always think, “No way man. It is not worth it. Just take the risk and be yourself. I don’t want to be that successful person whose real self is stuck someplace deep within. You have helped a lot of people. You are good at what you do because you have suffered a lot. The key is to take a risk and carve out a nitch for yourself where you are being yourself. Trust that it will work out. And if not, I am sure that when it comes time to die you will at least feel better about how you lived your one life.

The irony is that even in writing this, I am damaging my fake self. The self that you all demand that I be.

On Escape

It is a mess out there. People cannot get along. The sky is falling. End times are here. Mountains are burning. Towns are disappearing. The air is sick. Our lives are unmanageable. Our relationships are illnesses. Our work sickening.


The internet is filled with solutions. Self-help podcasts.  Lectures on how to be better. Digitilized life coaches. Essays on self-improvement. Never before have we had so much access to information about how to improve and even liberate our lives. But little of it ever works and if it did work we don’t have the energy, time or focus to put in the amount of effort it would demand.


We are fucked up. We feel unwell inside. The pain is an oozing liquid following us everywhere we go. I presume some people are doing better than others but I would hypothesize that we are all various feet into a black hole. It is impossible to separate the individual from the mass. The terribleness that we feel is a human condition at this point in historical time. Never before has it felt worse to be human.


We can cope. We can manage. We can face our demons. We can do what we can to accept the pain and suffering we feel. But few people want to do this. We would rather escape. Besides, in this current historical climate, escape is really the most fun we can have.


So the sky is falling and we are living it up when we can. Most of the time we are suffering miserably, but when the opportunity comes for escape we seize the moment. We fuck, we drink, we read, we go on-line, we shop, we get involved in various romantic relationships, we do drugs, we work all the time, we sit and scroll on our phones. We do whatever we can to escape the miserable realities of our lives.


Give me escape or give me death.


But is escape the logical answer? Is it the correct behavior to invest a great deal of our energy and efforts into? Is there a more effective way we could be living our lives?


The problem with escape is that in order for escape to provide a person with the release a person craves, the escape must create an equal proportion of problems in a person’s life. This is why escape is always a deal with the devil.


What I mean by this is that the more problems the escape creates the better the release from pain and suffering the escape will provide. If the escape does not create many problems (such as reading fiction) the effect of the escape will be less enjoyable. This is why escape can potentially be a main self-destructive human behavior. Humans become attached or addicted to escapes that provide them with the greatest release. But these escapes also have the potential to paralyze and destroy a person’s life. To get in the way of their potential. To greatly reduce what a person could accomplish or create if that escape was not a part of their life.


But we do not want to let go of these escapes. They provide us with such a profound momentary relax or release from all the misery and pressure of our modern lives. But they also play a primary part in creating the misery of our lives. Maybe the reason why we are at a point in history where we feel so deeply miserable inside has something to do with the escapes we have chosen to deal with our lives.


Just as our technologies and architectures have evolved over time so has the natures of our escapes and addictions. Maybe escape is addiction. Maybe they are one and the same thing. Maybe when a person’s chosen form of escape creates a high degree of problems in a person’s life, they have a deleterious addiction. This is why you could say that it is always beter to chose escapes that provide a weaker form of release.


But escape is fun. The greater the release the greater the escape. Escape allows us to get rid of the paralysis of our lives for a period of time. Escape is inevitable. Without escape we would lose our minds. Or maybe we would get our lives together. We would pay our bills. We would go for that run. We would sleep at regular times. We would take care of our businesses and bodies. We would focus more on doing the little things we like. We would listen to more self-help podcasts and apply the information to our lives.


Maybe if we didn’t escape so extremely and urgently we would have less problems exhausting our lives. Maybe we would then have the energy to focus on fixing our lives rather than being exhausted by all the problems created to get greater release from our lives.


Sometimes escape makes no logical sense at all with regards to the greater harmony of our lives. But we do it anyways because it is so much fun. We crave the release. Escape at this point is nihlism in its purist form.

Bad Ideas About Love

There are good ideas and there are bad ideas. It is always this black or white.


Good ideas lead a person towards good outcomes. A well-designed chair creates comfort and class. A good book or film creates imaginative stimulation and satisfaction. A good philosophical thought creates a deeper level of meaning and understanding.


Bad ideas send a person in a backwards or downwards direction. A poorly constructed car creates multiple problems. A wrong direction in one’s life creates inner and outer turmoil. Bad music creates a dullness and stupidity in the minds of the listeners.


Good ideas and bad ideas have a profound effect upon a person’s life. The importance of being connected to good ideas is often greatly underestimated in our day-to-day lives. Many mental health problems could be avoided if the individual had more good ideas in their life. The absence of good ideas from a person’s life is often as simple as the absence of education. It requires a certain level of education to fill one’s life with good ideas. Lower levels of education cause a person to latch onto ideas perpetuated by popular culture.


Often we have to make an effort to seek out good ideas on our own.


I would go so far as to say that most of the ideas that fill our minds on a day-to-day basis, are bad ideas. Working jobs we do not like, living for money, starting businesses, signing a mortgage, having more than one dog, driving everywhere we go- these are a few bad ideas that we run into each day.


But there is one fundamental bad idea that most of us subscribe to like a religion. It is a bad idea most never question. It is a bad idea which has been conditioned into a person’s mind long before they have any idea that their mind is being conditioned. This bad idea is our idea about love.


Love has been commodified. How we think about love in relationship to another is a totalitarian and fundamentalist belief system. You could say that love is a main religion, more popular in its practice than Christianity. Ideas about love are some of the most common and destructive ideas in the world.


This idea that love is about possession is a bad idea. When we are in relationship with another person we feel terrible if we do not feel loved. “I do not feel like she loves me,” means “I do not feel like she wants to possess me and only me.” This idea about love provides us a false and totalitarian sense of belonging to one individual. If we do not feel like our partner wants to possess us (loves us), we became enraged or deeply sadness. We get frightened because we think they want to possess another.


Love as a display of ownership, love as a securing feeling of being possessed, love that implies that it is you and only you that I want to possess is a terrible idea. We do not know how to be in relationship without feeling and being possessed. If we do not feel like our partner wants to possess us and only us, we freak out. We do not feel loved. We feel alone. We think our partner will fall in love with another. The idea of love as possession is simply a bad idea. Ultimately it is an idea that creates turmoil, insecurity, depression and heartbreak.


Love as an idea that suggests letting an individual be free, supporting that individual to do whatever they want, allowing oneself to be more independent and secure within themselves and never growing dependent on another- this is love as a good idea. This idea of love allows people to not cling to or want to possess another person. It is a way of loving that allows another person to be free while trusting that this kind of love will be what brings two people closest together. Love as non-possession and independence terrifies people only because they will have to be comfortable spending more time by themselves and they will have less security with regards to having control over the individual so that they can make sure that individual does not leave them for someone else. They will have to be comfortable not controlling future outcomes.


Ultimately our common idea of love is an idea of control. How we love our partner is how we control them. This is why our popular idea of love is totalitarian. We want to possess another person so that we can keep them from leaving us for someone else in the future. Love as possession is merely a popular idea that allows us all to hold each other hostage. Love is an idea we use to psychologically manipulate each other into doing what we want them to do so that we can feel safest. This kind of love build walls around ourselves and our partners and children. No one likes being walled in.


Love as possession, love as domestication, love as being held hostage- this is a bad idea. Human beings have free will. This makes it impossible to possess another person. Any attempts to possess another human being will most likely end in catastrophe. An angry son, a cheating wife, a betrayed husband, a suicidal girlfriend, an expensive divorce, a sick wife- these are all outcomes of our bad ideas about love.

Dead Inside

We don’t like to talk about it. When people ask us how we are doing we say “fine.” We all go about our lives in denial of one foundational fact: we feel dead inside.

I wish inner deadness could be measured. It is a hard thing to prove. But I would presume that the vast majority of Americans (at the very least) feel this feeling inside. But we spend our time keeping busy. We entertain and debauch ourselves. We preoccupy ourselves with things we could really care less about. I would say we are in continual pursuit of denying the fact that we feel dead inside.

The deader inside we become, the less likely we are to feel it. The inner deadness becomes our normal.

What is it to feel dead inside? There is an emptiness and a desperation. There is a sadness that we were not able to accomplish what we wanted to do. Despite being surrounded by things we like and feel grateful for, there is little pleasure derived from these things. We are just going through the motions. Doing what needs to be done. No longer steering our ship in the direction we want it to go but instead just working to keep the ship afloat.

When we are dead inside we have surrendered. We have given up our dreams and just try and make the best of what we have. We do our work without complaint. We try not to feel down and bad all the time because this would make us feel guilty for taking advantage of the things we have.

There is a great guilt we feel when we admit that we feel dead inside. We are worried that we will be judged and we will lose what we have because we did not appreciate it.

What a terrible trap being dead inside can become. It is only a trap because once we feel dead inside there is little way out. Our energy to keep pursuing the things that mean something is used up by the energy we must expend to do the things we have to do. It is a terrible trap because we do not have the energy to work our way out. It is easier to resign oneself to their pathetic fate.

Make the best of what you have. Try and have a good time. Drink and do some things you like. Buy things that make your environment more enjoyable to be in. Even though these things never work we keep buying them because we have hope. We hope that we will eventually stop feeling dead inside. But we never do.

So we do drugs. We smoke weed. We try to stay entertained. We take care of our homes. When a person is dead inside this is the best we can do. Have fun. Drink. Stay entertained. Do your work. Try not to self-destruct.

Being or feeling dead inside is a terrible feeling. It is a quiet life of desperation.

There are so many things we could have become. So much we could have done but we were not focused enough. We did not do the hard work. Society does not want us to accomplish these goals. All of societal energy is focused on assimilating individuals into the norm. It is happening when we do not even know it is happening. Society is set up to perpetuate the status quo and if you stop fighting against it you will be pulled in. Unless you are doing work that truly inspires and awakens you, you will end up feeling dead inside. Doing things you have to do to keep your lifestyle going. But the things you have to do will not be things that define you at a deeper level. They will not be things you care much about. They will be things that you pretend to be into and ultimately or eventually this is what will wear you out.

The Fine Art of Being Cool

Being cool is as taboo to speak about as being a slut is. The moment we talk about ourselves as being cool or valuing coolness we are viewed as arrogant, pretentious and narcissistic. But nothing could be further from the truth.

I take great risk in writing about cool as a fine art. Many will see this as ridiculous and anger provoking. But the very fact that they do not understand cool as an art form gives immediate sign that they themselves are not cool. We know if we are not cool just like we know if we are immoral. The person who receives the declaration of cool as a fine art as a provocation, is a person who understands that they are not cool. Hopefully they can be helped by this essay to understand what cool really is.

What is cool? What does it mean to be cool? What is coolness? Who is cool? We can start with subcultures made up of cool people but I will not go into it here. There is much historical information about cool subcultures to be found on-line. There were the Dionysians, the Libertines, the Decadents, the Dandies, the Greasers, the Beatniks, the Krautrockers, the New Wavers, the Goths, the Punk Rockers, the Post Punks, the Grunge Rockers, the Hipsters. The list of cool subcultures goes on and on. But what does cool really mean?

I am not sure I know for certain. I suppose it is not cool to judge and define anything at all. I am sure there are many people who would have a much more thorough definition of cool than I could. Maybe this is because I am not yet cool enough. But let me try.

Cool is an attitude. It is an attitude that stands against the mediocrity and conformity of the status quo. Cool is countercultural and designed by anger, resentment and indignation against the banality of the norm. Cool is a way of creatively saying “fuck you” to normalcy, complacency, laziness and conformity. Cool is normally refined over years of dissatisfaction with the ordinariness and monotony of everyday life. This is why cool is a fine art- it takes a lot of time and practice.

Like any fine art there are gradations of quality. Some forms of cool are of a lower gradation. Other forms or manifestations of cool are of a much higher and more refined gradation. You can not necessarily explain these gradations of cool. It must be experienced. Like any form of art, you know its quality and depth when you see and hear it.

Coolness is a verb. It is a quality of being that one carries throughout their daily life. Some people are cool all the time. They practice coolness from the moment they wake up and get dressed. Other people are cool when they go out on a Friday night. It is up to the individual’s dedication to coolness to make up how cool they are. The thing about someone who is dedicated to the practice of coolness is that you know it right when you come across it. Nick Cave comes to mind. At the same time you also know when you come upon a person who is not concerned with coolness at all. Donald Trump comes to mind.

Coolness is an attitude of refinement and regulation. It is an attitude of standing against. Coolness is practiced and not automatically acquired. Coolness is visible in a person’s posture, articulations, walking style, dress, drink and food choice. The way they sit, laugh, turn their head, listen to music, read, use the bathroom and drive a car. Coolness is a measured response to chaos. Coolness is control over impulsive outbursts, stupid behavior and the pull towards sloth. Coolness is organized and designed. It is planned. Coolness is not messy and disorganized but well thought out. It is never a given. Coolness is composed, aware and cautious. Coolness is never loud, vulgar and overly excited. Nor is coolness ever hyperbolical and overly emotional. It takes effort to be cool. It takes restraint to be cool. It takes an awareness and skillful management of one’s own tendency to mindlessly give themselves over to laziness, sloppiness, emotion and reckless abandon. Few things are worse than an uncool person who wrongly assumes they are cool.

Cool takes time and patience. Like any art form it is refined and mastered over time. A person who has mastered the art of cool is the most intimidating and admirable person in the world. Don’t take my word for it. Just hang out with a person like this for a few minutes and see how you feel.

This is why cool is often met with such disdain. It is a serious threat. It yanks us out of our mediocre routines. We are afraid to think of ourselves and talk about ourselves as cool for fear of being arrogant, pretentious, conceited or narcissistic. But authentic cool is anything but these things and this is why an authentically cool person would not think of themselves as cool. There is nothing cool about arrogance, conceit, narcissism and pretension. These personality states are much more commonly found in the status quo (and most people who think of themselves as cool are really just the status quo dressed in edgy clothes) than they are found in the person who is authentically cool. This is why the masses tend to see any talk about cool as being a negative thing. They are projecting their own messed up inner state onto the thing that threatens them.

In the same way it is also taboo to speak of oneself as a slut. The slut is seen as a woman who is bad, sexually degenerate, immoral, deceitful, unethical, disease ridden and a failed human being. But often this could not be further from the truth. We are projecting our own insecurities, fears and views of promiscuous sexuality onto the woman who is more sexually liberated.

Why do we project our own insecurities and fears onto a person who threatens us? So that we can get control over them. So that we can conform them into the person whom we think they should be. So that we can make them more like us, thus eradicating the threat.

This unfortunately happens all too often with coolness. This is why there are no longer too many authentically cool people left in the world. A person who is cool has to stand against and willfully oppose this continual pull to be “just like them.” In order to resist this pull they must continually be practicing and refining their art. They must remain inspired by reading books, watching films, looking at art, reading articles and essays and listening to music made by other cool people. This can give the cool person who most often feels very alone in the world the strength, guidance and inspiration needed to carry on. Without continually seeking out these external reinforcements of cool it is too easy to become slovenly, disorganized, discouraged, lazy, fantastical and uncool. The norm is all around, continually seeking to suck us in.

Cool is a necessary thing. Without it all of our lives would grow ordinary, dumb and flat. Alternative standards would be lost and there would only be the standards of the norm. All the things that provide any real imaginative and alternative flare to our lives are often created by someone who is cool. Cool people are the very thing that keep our neighborhoods from becoming sterile and dull. The very presence of a cool person can prevent us from growing too hopeless in our complacent normalcy.

A cool person continually reminds us that there are more refined and unique ways to live life than the status quo we have had forced upon us. A cool person is a continual reminder to us of all the ways that we have given up and grown dull.

Without the cool person, most potential for new ideas, visionary inventions, radical subversions, anarchistic imaginations, and refined sensibilities would be forever lost (by the way social media is the greatest threat to the evolution of cool). This is why I refer to cool as a fine art. If art does not serve the above purpose, it just becomes yet another form of status quo entertainment. Another way to scroll through our lives rather than actually living life in a cool way.