You are a FooL for trying to be CooL And CooL for being a FooL

July 1, 2009

Fooly Cooly

In his recent post ghostlightning mentioned the difference between childish and childlike, which intrigued me a great deal because that just happened to be the central concept behind my third year design project. In my research of Transactional Analysis, it is said that we each have three different egos; parent, adult and child. This child ego can be further subdivided into Rebellious Child, Natural Child and Little Professor. Rebellious Child is the part that makes us ‘childish’ by being unreasonable, disobedient, immature, etc. Natural Child is the part that enables us to have fun, find wonder and amazement in little things, while Little Professor is what makes us creative, intuitive and imaginative. In my observation, we all start gradually losing sight of our precious Natural Child and Little Professor as we age towards ‘adulthood’. In many ways our society works to suppress these qualities, which may help us function for the greater good, but very depressing nonetheless. Maybe we can find ways, whether through words, silver screen, or spaces, to not only provide stimulating experience for children, but also to offer a journey for adults, to first feel like being young adults, then adolescents, then children, for they will find their inner child once again, to be amazed, to have fun, and to exercise creativity and imagination.


But where does one exactly draw a line between childish and childlike? Certainly this is a subjective notion. While I find Avatar: The Last Airbender wonderfully imaginative, I am sure there are others who don’t share my view. In any case, is it wrong to enjoy something childish? Like ghostlightning said, isn’t it enough to admit K-On!‘s silliness and enjoy what you can get out of it? Must we all wear fake thick eyebrows, pretend to like spicy currys and sour drinks, just so that we can convince ourselves that we are mature? What I find more beautiful is to enjoy what you are doing and not pretend to be what you don’t like. Like Ninamori in Fooly Cooly who jumped over that hurdle of adolescence by being honest with her feelings and like Naota who learned to simply have a blast with riding vespa with Haruko. It is truly childish and foolish to pretend to be ‘adult’. To enjoy things you like, content to being a fool, that is what makes you childlike, mature and cool.


“Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
On Three Ways of Writing for Children” ~ C.S. Lewis (1952)


14 Responses to “You are a FooL for trying to be CooL And CooL for being a FooL”

  1. ghostlightning Says:

    Very interesting quote there. The FLCL references are lost on me since truly did not enjoy the show after four tries, but I get what you’re saying.

    Yotsuba however, will wear your fake bushy eyebrows, try her darned best to enjoy your spicy curry, and have a grand time spitting it all out on your lap as her fake eyebrows fall into the sauce. All the while trying to learn all the big words like ‘methodology’ and ‘professor.’


    This too, is awesome.

  2. animekritik Says:

    That’s a huge lesson: be who you are, don’t be ashamed of it. It’s a tough to follow, though.

    Who came up with that Transactional Analysis system? I’ve never heard of it.

  3. gaguri Says:


    You don’t like FLCL? I’m so disappointed ghostlightning.

    However I too love Yotsuba ^_^/


    You are right. It’s easy to say but tough to follow. That’s why I am still hiding my geeky hobby to my RL buddies x_X

    I don’t remember exactly who, but I think it was one of Jean Piaget or Eric Berne from my memory. I didn’t study too deep into it because that wasn’t my area of interest, I only needed some kind of academic background to validate my conceptual ideas (and as inspirations).

  4. coburn Says:

    As a semi-pro at segregating anime from real life this struck a chord with me, especially the difficulty of living with one’s own foolishness.

    I tend to think that sometimes the challenge is getting to grips with admiring other people’s foolery, because presumably the trick is to avoid denying that one is a bit of a silly bugger, and it’s hard to start that if you can’t think of a world full of cool fools.

    I’m always a touch uneasy when encountering classifications like childlike/ish, or your own Professor/Rebel/Natural Child. Still, in the end I can only conclude that these divisions can serve a practical purpose. Then, maybe what makes FLCL great is that it forces us to find that answer for ourselves, to discover the divisions semi-consciously while watching rather than presenting them academically.

  5. gaguri Says:

    Yea, the trick is to avoid denial, but sometimes doing that will cost you a lot. Or maybe it won’t, just that you think it will. In any case, I’m not about to walk around with anime T-shirts and start singing row row fight da powa x_X

    And that is exactly what I love about FLCL. It never tells you what is what, it’s all about expressions, examplary of the phrase “show, don’t tell”.

  6. ghostlightning Says:

    Not for lack of trying. FOUR times I watched it, (dropped thrice) and I finally got through it. Looked great, sounded awesome, just never connected. I’m disappointed, since I was expecting to be touched by awesomeness or something.

  7. TheBigN Says:

    ghostlightning: It took me about four times watching the whole thing to get what FLCL was about. And it isn’t that hard to get when you think about it a bit (reading these posts from digitalboy might help).

    As to the topic at hand, I think it’s one reason why I admire characters that are still easily in tough with their Natural Child and Little Professor portions of their child ego. Because they serve as a reminder that life is life, and it doesn’t have to be as serious business as we make it.

  8. Kitsune Says:

    To enjoy things you like, content to being a fool,
    That is what makes you childlike, mature and cool.

    Nice poetry đŸ™‚

    Indeed, that’s a simple truth some people miss.

  9. muhootsaver Says:

    Interesting quote. And FLCL is a great series to relate to. Many series depict the process of a boy becoming an adult but FLCL really gets it right. Its’ impact changed my habit of watching anime itself. One of my all time fav. It’s also quite unique as even in the end, Noata was still in the process of becoming an adult.

    *p.s: I think my fav episode(well, other than the last one) was where Naota gets all cocky. That was so realistic.

  10. ghostlightning Says:


    Thanks. I was using these posts by digi as a guide as well, to check for the stuff I’m missing.

    Let me be clear, I do see the work put into FLCL. I think it’s very clever. I merely do not have the same connection with it as with other fans. I don’t think it’s bad, just not something I enjoyed.

  11. gaguri Says:


    haha…dw I was just teasing you. I don’t think one should need to watch four times to enjoy something, sometimes it doesn’t rock our boat, so we find some other water. I emphasise with your disappointment because there are other overhyped titles that I was hugely let down by too.


    Totally agreed, although sometimes those characters can get annoying and obnoxious. It’s a hard balance to sculpt such a character to be so full of life yet likable at the same time. For me, I absolutely loved Haruko.


    Oh my I didn’t even notice that. I guess there is a natural talent in me ^^


    That’s what I thought of the ending too. It’s kind of sad that Naota wasn’t ready to give into it all, and follow Haruko (although he managed to kiss her…haha).

    My favourite episode (other than the last) would be the one centering on Ninamori Eri, simply because she’s so adorable (and reminds me of Hinagiku from Hayate no Gotoku!).

  12. omisyth Says:

    I hope to never lose my sense of wonderment. That would be a sad, sad day.

  13. gaguri Says:

    Hopefully we don’t ever lose it, just that it’s only suppressed, or it would indeed be sad.

  14. […] me, and I find that really comforting. It’s like, wow, I’m still able to nurture the Natural Child ego within me, I’m not as jaded as I […]

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