HIPsters and HIP trouble?

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


So: what is HIP?

So, in “ay, there’s the rub” [8/15], and “How do you know?” [8/22], we found that the ‘rub’ was (and still is) American hyper-individualism, and its politically leverageable artifact, i.e., a hyper-individualized perspective [HIP]. 

Since much of the American political space is grounded in reasoning like this:
“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”― Ayn Rand

Is it any wonder we have HIP trouble?

Too-narrow by half

Epistemology‘ is the study of how we know something. In my use here, ‘HIP trouble’ is about a problematic (i.e., too-narrow by half) epistemology. And, so, what happens when the political class hyper-cynically adds post-truth and *political technologies* to the mix in order to insure they will capture HIPsters’ allegiance? A quick HIP review:



Vax… “a shot to restore our freedoms”

A WaPo story last week on the vax situation ties into ‘HIP,’ and makes an alarming illustration. The article, “Telling conservatives it’s a shot to ‘restore our freedoms’: How online ads are promoting coronavirus vaccination,” aims to increase vaccination acceptance. We read, “Targeted ad campaigns, long criticized as invasive and divisive, have become powerful tools for health officials.” Further, not mincing words, Jeremy B. Merrill and Drew Harwell write:

“But public health officials say the widespread use of microtargeting reflects the recognition that groups with different values, motivations and personal tastes require more than a one-size-fits-all approach amid the country’s polarized political debates.”
“Health groups also have paid for ads that show up on sites popular with conservatives. On Breitbart, the far-right news blog that has called refusing coronavirus vaccination a “perfectly reasonable choice,” one ad called the vaccine ‘a shot to restore our freedoms,’ alongside a photo of children walking into school.”



Do HIPsters simply cost us too much?

Does our HIPster-laden context mean that appeals to ‘the common good’ no longer have the power to advance public health policy?

I mean, that’s exactly how “the common good” worked; i.e., it provided: “a one-size-fits-all approach.” When rightly identified by consensus, ‘the common good’ effectively served as a check on the HIP approach, and moved public policy forward. A combination of post-truth [P-T] and *political technologies* [PT] have compounded the difficulty of these already troubled dynamics.



Now, I readily grant this hyper-individualized epistemology problem is a human one and, intrinsically, nonpartisan. However, I can’t help pointing out that a majority of this narrow-epistemology fruit falls in a partisan way. We can thank Ayn Rand et al., I suppose, not to mention the later P-T and PT factors. I mean, I imagine that one could try to argue that Democrats are just more conformist in nature, or some such; but the fact that the majority of the HIP problem falls within Republican ranks is rather plain.

Previously, prior to Covid, the anti-vax movement was largely bi-partisan. It was chiefly made up of people on far left and far right who don’t trust authority. Now, after Covid—and DJT‘s (P-T/PT) circus—there are still some ‘blue-state’ resisters who are opposed to getting the jab, but their numbers are nothing compared to the scale of ‘red-state’ resistance. Far more Republican libertarians exist than Democratic libertarians; enough to tip the HIPster dominant scale well into ‘red.’

“The common good” is toast, then?

So, a HIP worldview vectors one’s confirmation bias and moral discernment. While ‘the common good’ once had the social/moral muscle to advance public policy; now, with the normalization of the HIPster mode and our polarized tribalization, it’s no longer the case. Covid vaccination drops like a catalyst into hyper-animated HIPster circles, where all that matters is free will and choice—in other words, the rational/moral orientation of an impulsive teenager: “No one tells me what to do!”
Even though Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, et al., thought otherwise, a human society cannot sustain health and welfare with a near-majority of the population sporting HIP eyeglasses. As I said above, this HIPster, narrowepistemology problem is a human one, dramatically exaggerated/aggravated by modernism.
The Britannica seems sensitive to potential concerns; from their article on individualism:
In the United States, individualism became part of the core American ideology by the 19th century, incorporating the influences of New England Puritanism, Jeffersonianism, and the philosophy of natural rights.
“Individualism, the love of enterprise, and the pride in personal freedom have been deemed by Americans not only their choicest, but [their] peculiar and exclusive possession.” —James Bryce


Déjà vu, all over again, again

You may remember, I’ve mentioned an expression my NT Bible professor liked to use. He often said: “If they repeat it, it’s important. If they repeat it, …”
I’m tarrying on this notion of hyper-individualized perspective [HIP], because it’s not really a new problem. I’ve simply restated the problem. Please contemplate the boundaries of “I.”


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?



3 thoughts on “HIPsters and HIP trouble?

  1. The Free Dictionary has this definition for “hip.” 1. Keenly aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.2. Very fashionable or stylish.

    That is very nearly the opposite of your definition “a hyper-individualized perspective [HIP]. My perspective is that the Republicans are more reflexive conformists than individualized. Not to suggest that hyper-individualism is not a big problem.

    With regard to epistemology, I have found Christian de Quincey’s book “Radical Knowing: Understanding Consciousness through Relationship” to expand my view of the ways in which we know. Here is a link to an essay “Consciousness – Four Gifts of Knowing” which was written before the book.


    “We possess some innate capacities for learning: the scientist’s gift of the senses, the philosopher’s gift of reason, the shaman’s gift of alternative states of consciousness, and the mystic’s gift of transcendental experience.”

    Liked by 1 person

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