The sum and substance of cool is a self-conscious aplomb in overall behavior, which entails a set of specific behavioralcharacteristics that is firmly anchored in symbology, a set of discernible bodily movements, postures, facial expressions and voicemodulations that are acquired and take on strategic social value within the peer context. Cool was once an attitude fostered by rebels and underdogs, such as slaves, prisoners, bikers and political dissidents, etc., for whom open rebellion invited punishment, so it hid defiance behind a wall of ironic detachment, distancing itself from the source of authority rather than directly confronting it. Cool as a state of being
Cool has been used to describe a general state of well-being, a transcendent, internal peace and serenity. It can also refer to an absence of conflict, a state of harmony and balance as in, "The land is cool," or as in a "cool [spiritual] heart." Such meanings, according to Thompson, are African in origin. Cool is related in this sense to both social control and transcendental balance. Cool can similarly be used to describe composure and absence of excitement in a person—especially in times of stress—as expressed in the idiom to keep your cool. In a related way, the word can be used to express agreement or assent, as in the phrase "I'm cool with that". Cool as aesthetic appeal
Cool is also an attitude widely adopted by artists and intellectuals, who thereby aided its infiltration into popular culture. Sought by product marketing firms, idealized by teenagers, a shield against racial oppression or political persecution and source of constant cultural innovation, cool has become a global phenomenon that has spread to every corner of the earth. According to Dick Pountain and David Robins, concepts of cool have existed for centuries in several cultures. Cool as an epithet
While slang terms are usually short-lived coinages and figures of speech, cool is an especially ubiquitous slang word, most notably among young people. As well as being understood throughout the English-speaking world, the word has even entered the vocabulary of several languages other than English. In this sense, cool is used as a general positive epithet or interjection, which can have a range of related adjectival meanings. -------------------------------------------------
Africa and the African diaspora
Yoruba bronze head sculpture from the city of Ife, Nigeria c. 12th century A.D Author Robert Farris Thompson, professor of art history at Yale University, suggests that Itutu, which he translates as 'mystic coolness,' is one of three pillars of a religious philosophy created in the 15th century by Yoruba and Igbo civilizations of West Africa. Cool, or Itutu, contained meanings of conciliation and gentleness of...