Why do we humans want to be cool? How to we appear cool? Why do we consume cool products? And what does cool even mean? All these questions are very curious and the answers not clearly defined either. In the quest to understand cool we pass through the product landscape and ages. On the way you see Denim jeans, you see Coca Cola and you even see cigarettes. Why are they perceived as cool even though at least the latter one is a threat to your health? Let’s find out more about this subject.
What Does Cool Even Mean?
In aesthetics we consider Coolness to be an admired attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist. To be cool is an adaption of a social or cultural standard and usually an act that happens in demand of acceptance. In comparison you could comment another person’s first appearance into categories such as ‘not okay’, ‘okay’, and ‘cool’. So being cool is to be perceived even better than what someone would expect as normal. Cool is possibly what others would want you to be like.
We consume cool products to be perceived as cool by other people.
‘Cool’ Drives Economy
We consume what we perceive as cool because it’s that product, that allows us leech the coolness from the product and have it add to our image on how we are perceived by others. That is not the sick side effect of a capitalist society. It’s simply a behavioral pattern branded into our brains as part of the evolution. We seek recognition and acceptance from other humans and that is why we feel good to buy, own and display the latest coolest products. This is just about the same as the deal with the male peacock’s feathers.
3 Decision Forces in Your Brain
The forces working here are primarily based on instinct and evolutionary lessons our human ancestors were taught, that are still fixed in our system. Everything that keeps us alive or even remotely improves the likelihood of survival is driving us very strongly when making decisions. Our bodies can have food all the time on demand nowadays. We buy it, we make it, and we eat it. There is no reason to consume fatty things in order to stay alive in long periods without food anymore and yet we love it.
We love our routines and we love doing the same thing over and over. We love to consume what we always consumed and know. If you have a strong attachment to a particular food that your parents always bought throughout your childhood, it is very likely to you continue buying it even after you moved out. If you drink coffee every morning, you are very likely to continue with that habit as well – and why would you not?
This is supposedly a more educated decision making force. Rationality weighs the pro and contra and then makes an informed decision. If a product is equally good as another but cheaper we would usually go to buy and consume the cheaper choice.
Consumption is human.
Inside Your Brain
There is a particular part of your brain that processes social acceptance and how others perceive you. It’s called the medial prefrontal cortex and sits behind your forehead. By triggering this part of the brain companies can motivate you to buy something that you don’t need, but want in order to improve your acceptance with the group of people you want to be accepted by.
Consumption is fine and we all need to consume or we would die one way or another. We should however stay conscious of what we consume and why we do. If you are a little bit mindful on your decisions you can maybe save some money or even improve your health. In case you are interested in the subject, please check out the two books, which I’ve picked for your below. Many thanks for reading and have fun consuming.
Photo credit: Pingz Man / Howard Galicia