Apparently, to Juul is to be cool. Take this quote from high school student “Leslie” in Jia Tolentino’s recent New Yorker piece:

“You’re expected to Juul, but you’re expected to not depend on it. If you’re cool, then you Juul with other people, and you post about it, so everyone will see that you’re social and ironic and funny. But, if you’re addicted, you go off by yourself and Juul because you need it, and everyone knows.”

Being cool is important–at least, it used to be. It used to be that humans needed to seem attractive to one another to find sexual partners to pass on their genes. As Richard Dawkins explained in The Selfish Gene, much of human behavior is driven by a desire to pass on genes to the next generation.

Now that social media exists, we can seem attractive online too. This is pure conjecture, but I think young people are attracted to Juul–and to posting pictures about it–because of evolutionary biology. It is rooted in a desire to seem attractive, and hence, to pass on genes to the next generation.

That idea could fundamentally change how you see yourself, but I suspect it won’t. I suspect that most young people will continue trying to pass on their genes, despite a projected world population of 9.7 billion by 2050 (nothing wrong with that, but it’s important to note that we no longer need more people, just like we no longer need more sugar).

I’m not sure what you should do with this information, but it’s worth pondering the roots of desire.

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