How do you know?

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.

. .

What is HIP?

In last week’s, “ay, there’s the rub,” the ‘rub’ was/is American hyper-individualism. As we saw then, persons operating with a hyper-individualized perspective [HIP] tend to take personal freedom and responsibility as the keys to understanding and translating reality.

HIPs’ tend to “know” what they know through a self-referential framing of reality—i.e., the closer something is to being within the personal experience of the particular HIP, the more real it is. This has significant ramifications for our discernment—as individual HIPs, as communities, and as a society. The reasoning goes that “it makes sense, because whatever consequences follow from our own discernment and choices will be immediately proximate to us.” Again, partially true; but it’s what’s left out in the partiality that’s the problem. Holism’s hard. People prefer partiality. 

I dropped-off a link to last week’s post in a comment I made on one of my senator’s TheFaceBook page. So, ‘Tim’ responded:



I imagine Tim meant this:



So, for my blog post’s observation that holism is hard, and people prefer partiality, it could be Tim thinks that I am sincerely ignorant and conscientiously stupid. Or, is it ‘Pat’ who is ignorant and stupid in Tim’s reckoning? I’ve indicated clarification is needed. Nothing yet.



Our postmodern environment recognizes the crucial importance of contextualizing all texts. To be fair, Tim’s remark could be taken both ways. I tend to interpret his remark as ad hominem targeting me based on previous interactions we’ve had. Social media is like life in that respect; e.g., baggage. Tim’s burden, i.e., his previous comments, creates my baggage here: that is, I remember Tim’s earlier remarks. 


A quick and obvious example of a justice problem with HIP partiality:

In the area of consumer products: Let’s take a HIPster’s, or anyone’s, tennis shoes. As an American consumer, I have a right to pay as low a price as I can find through a lawful transaction. If I offer the requested legal tender for a product legitimately presented for sale, then I have exercised my rights and satisfied my responsibilities.

Legally, yes. However, is that true from a holistic standpoint? What of a global perspective?

What if, because of the way the system works, the person on the other side of the world who actually makes your shoes does so through what is essentially a slave-wage system, if not outright forced labor? Is that OK? How does having a HIP affect moral discernment? Does morality only apply when I am adversely affected in a direct way, and through the constraints enshrined in the law?

Your shoes may be legal, are they morally acceptable beyond a HIP?

Extending the rub

American hyper-individualism is only a piece of a much larger picture. I want to pull in another thread that we have considered previously.

So, last week we had the illustration of the difficulty that homeless people present. I brought up the image of a homeless person sitting outside a business that had a “Help Wanted” sign in the window.

From the story: “After FOX21 aired a story about organizations helping homeless people, we noticed several people asking why homeless residents don’t take advantage of the current lack of workers.” So, they did a story with a headline that would catch the attention of HIPs, but then the story went on to try to expand the reasoning (and care) beyond HIP



The HIP take on that image and headline is swiftly drawn. The homeless individual is the one with the problem; and sometimes, if pressed, the HIPster will claim the person is the problem. The HIPster has no inkling of how judgmental their take is; perhaps, even when it’s clearly a case that actually calls for empathy and compassion. That our legal system makes HIP-friendly judgments, as we’ve seen above, that doesn’t free us from our larger [than HIP] moral obligations. So, the Fox 21 News story, “Homeless and help wanted: Service organization says getting a job isn’t that simple,” attempts to expand the field of care by sharing important information that most HIPs don’t know or realize. 

The point being: a HIPster’s no-think quick-take on “homelessness – Help Wanted” takes a few seconds. It takes a far longer, nuanced process to disrupt HIP logic. That’s a real rub to fair discourse. As the Fox story also demonstrates, keeping a HIPster engaged in care-expansion appears to require feeding the HIP some confirmation bias along with the challenge. 


So, ‘Pat,’ whom we met last week, sports a HIP [hyper-individualized perspective]. That has a built in ‘rub.’ Further, our American penchant to produce persons who sport a HIP is another ‘rub.’ So, careful if someone asks you what is HIP? Finally, another connected ‘rub’ is the process/discussion required to challenge a HIP. Too long! 

Sadly, sound bites can’t answer/disrupt HIP logics. Ay, there’s the rub.


Next week: Come and see.

[this post approx. 850 words (about a 3 min. read)]

Your thoughts? 

I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?



2 thoughts on “How do you know?

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