"Cool versus innocent -- they define the polarity I seek to examine in this essay. Let's begin by noting the associations of each term:
Innocent: Sweet, childlike, naive, unsophisticated, simple, trusting, open, vulnerable
Cool: unflappable, knowledgeable, sophisticated, distant, Arnold Schwartzenegger, savvy, clever, tough, adult, cynical, skeptical
Next, I'd like to develop these concepts more formally. I'll begin with an easy concept: the innocent is more easily awestruck than the cool. Can you imagine Joe Cool gaping open-mouthed at a tall skyscraper the way a child would? To express awe would be an admission of unsophistication. Moreover, to project coolness convincingly, Joe Cool must not merely mask feelings of awe, he must internally suppress them. He must savage his ability to feel awe.
Where awe goes, so goes wonder. How can we let our minds soar in grand wondering flights of fancy when we lack the awe-feelings that power our imaginations? What objects of wonder can there be for a sophisticate, who already knows everything?
Awe launches our wonder; wonder feeds our creativity. The wondering search for combinations that make sense, for explanations that work, for relationships between the awe-inspiring and the familiar -- these are the efforts that trigger flashes of inspiration. Awe, wonder, and creativity are root, stem, and flower."
I find myself on the innocent side.