Against Hipsterism: The Fake Freedom Of Nihilism

‘How surprising that men blame the gods, and say their troubles come from us, though they, through their own un-wisdom, find suffering beyond what is fated.’

Zeus addresses the Olympians, The Odyssey, Book One.

The hipster seeks to make a virtue out of degradation and hopelessness, because she lacks the imagination to see the world in any other way.


Nihilism has now become a badge of honour. The rise of TV shows like House Of Cards reflect how meaninglessness has become the religion of our time

There’s nothing intelligent or smart about being nihilistic. It is a bimbo’s philosophy masquerading as astuteness.

It’s much safer to believe the world is, as Peter Hitchens puts it, a meaningless car crash, than it is to accept responsibility for your own existence.

Nihilism, atheism and hipsterism resemble the decadent religion of the pre-reformation world, where cynicism and realpolitik gave people an excuse to make no effort to be human or moral.

Your humanity does not come for free. It is something you become, it is something you earn and cultivate.

You become a soul, as Keats said. You are not born with one.

Nihilism is just the flip side of ideology.

Both nihilists and ideological fanatics seek to relinquish the power of subjective reason. Both seek refuge in the higher authority of fate, and both justify their doing this by predicating their world views on a philosophy of human nature that is degraded and cynical.

In order for a human to claim their full potential, they can’t rely on either traditional religious thinking or nihilistic godlessness.

In fact, these are one and the same thing.

In order to live and flourish, we need faith. God or no god. Ideology or no ideology.

Faith is the belief that our individual will can positively affect our environment.

An athlete needs faith just as much as an NGO worker in the Congo.

Human life can only exist if the laws of chance are ignored. Great achievements can only be made only if hopelessness is made the great original sin.

The hipster hates this idea. She is enraged just reading this. She has to be, she has to fight it with every bone and nerve pulse in her body.

Because the hipster seeks certainty in meaninglessness.

In that sense the hipster is as conservative and fearful of mystery as much as the worst witch-burning puritan.

Hipsters make a big show of their ironic world view, their adherence to chaos and the void.

But they arrogate themselves a Buddha-like gravitas, that is not theirs to claim.

While seeming to allow themselves to rise above false dogmas and ideals, to free themselves of illusions, they live by the greatest, and oldest, delusion of all: that man is powerless to affect his own fate.

There is a lot to be gained in cynicism and nihilism. If nothing can change, there’s no need to try.

If all the good things have been said, then let’s not bother saying anything new.

There is a pagan fatalism to this concept of the world. It is the world of unholy bullies and tyrants, where all consequences are attributed to the capricious gods.

It is typical of the hipster to claim existential insight. As if to see clearly into the reality of things, makes chaos and meaninglessness inevitable.

However, as Sartre said in Existentialism Is A Humanism, to reevaluate the role of God in life does not necessarily lead us to nihilism.

In fact, the dignity of the individual is what takes the place of God – not the void.

When the nihilistic hipster replaces God with nothingness, they resemble the worst of medieval usurpers, or the terrorising mob after the French Revolution.

They replace one tyranny with another. Whereas traditional religion offers a puritanical tyrant, hipsterism offers the tyranny of boredom and emptiness.

Far from freeing culture of dogma, it condemns it to the most catholic of punishments: eternity in limbo.


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