You are a FooL for trying to be CooL And CooL for being a FooL
July 1, 2009
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)