Cracking the cool conspiracy

A touch of warmth heals the woes of our time

Tijn Touber | June 2006 issue
Yesterday I rode the Amsterdam subway sitting among a group of boys who looked to be around 16. Now I’ve lived in Amsterdam for a number of years but I barely understood anything they were saying. In fact it wasn’t really a conversation, more like sounds being randomly uttered. The couple of words I could understand were “cool” and “chill.” That seemed to sum up how the boys were relating to the rest of the world: as distantly as possible.
This cool attitude seems widespread today among people of all ages and is reflected in the enormous increase in so-called “cold illnesses” that are now common. This type of illness lowers the body temperature, burns it out and creates sclerosis – the hardening of tissue. “Old-fashioned” sicknesses didn’t used to do that. They were not long, chronic and cold, but acute and hot. Rather than the “burn-out” and blues (depression) of today, inflammations and fevers were the order of the day.
Logically, to cure cold illnesses we need warmth. Cancer, for instance, disappears in many cases when patients develop a high fever. The American doctor William Coley made that discovery back in the late 1800s. Psychological warmth also has a healing effect. People who feel loved and open themselves to others not only live longer, but recover more quickly from mental or physical disorders.
To get cancer patients to reconnect with their own warmth—or lack thereof—a doctor friend of mine invariably asks his patients: “When was the last time you did something for someone else?” The answer is often: “What do you mean?”
My subway ride was too short to carry out my favourite social experiment: breaking through the “cool” code. I pretend I haven’t noticed the chilly, distant attitude of fellow passengers and approach everyone with a smile or some friendly words. Most people respond warmly and you can watch them thaw.
Even those who are openly hostile can’t resist, as shown by my experience in a train full of soccer fans. As a bald man wearing a shirt from Amsterdam’s Ajax team spilled beer on me, he nastily asked: “Are you a guy or a chick?” I couldn’t have been presented with a better opportunity to break through the “cool” code. “I’m a soul,” I said in the friendliest possible tone.
“A soul?” he repeated, as he shrank back. “What the hell is a soul?”
Before I knew it, we were engaged in a lively conversation about the soul, reincarnation, past lives and a host of other things you wouldn’t normally discuss with a total stranger. Pretty cool, huh?
 

Solution News Source

Cracking the cool conspiracy

A touch of warmth heals the woes of our time

Tijn Touber | June 2006 issue
Yesterday I rode the Amsterdam subway sitting among a group of boys who looked to be around 16. Now I’ve lived in Amsterdam for a number of years but I barely understood anything they were saying. In fact it wasn’t really a conversation, more like sounds being randomly uttered. The couple of words I could understand were “cool” and “chill.” That seemed to sum up how the boys were relating to the rest of the world: as distantly as possible.
This cool attitude seems widespread today among people of all ages and is reflected in the enormous increase in so-called “cold illnesses” that are now common. This type of illness lowers the body temperature, burns it out and creates sclerosis – the hardening of tissue. “Old-fashioned” sicknesses didn’t used to do that. They were not long, chronic and cold, but acute and hot. Rather than the “burn-out” and blues (depression) of today, inflammations and fevers were the order of the day.
Logically, to cure cold illnesses we need warmth. Cancer, for instance, disappears in many cases when patients develop a high fever. The American doctor William Coley made that discovery back in the late 1800s. Psychological warmth also has a healing effect. People who feel loved and open themselves to others not only live longer, but recover more quickly from mental or physical disorders.
To get cancer patients to reconnect with their own warmth—or lack thereof—a doctor friend of mine invariably asks his patients: “When was the last time you did something for someone else?” The answer is often: “What do you mean?”
My subway ride was too short to carry out my favourite social experiment: breaking through the “cool” code. I pretend I haven’t noticed the chilly, distant attitude of fellow passengers and approach everyone with a smile or some friendly words. Most people respond warmly and you can watch them thaw.
Even those who are openly hostile can’t resist, as shown by my experience in a train full of soccer fans. As a bald man wearing a shirt from Amsterdam’s Ajax team spilled beer on me, he nastily asked: “Are you a guy or a chick?” I couldn’t have been presented with a better opportunity to break through the “cool” code. “I’m a soul,” I said in the friendliest possible tone.
“A soul?” he repeated, as he shrank back. “What the hell is a soul?”
Before I knew it, we were engaged in a lively conversation about the soul, reincarnation, past lives and a host of other things you wouldn’t normally discuss with a total stranger. Pretty cool, huh?
 

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