Subcultures come and go. They are influenced by the ones that preceeded them as well as being a reflection of the current Zeitgeist in society. I have noticed a few current subcultures, despite being on opposite ends of the, in my opinion, useless and out-dated left-right political spectrum are actually quite similar. These are hipsters, hippies, quiverfull and ethnonationalists neo-Pagan types. Before proceeding with a more in depth analysis, here is a chart that provides an overview of their commonalities. By the way, if there is simply an X in the box, this means “yes”, but that I didn’t see a need to add extra details.
|Hipsters||Hippies||Homesteading quiverfull||Ethnonationalist neo-Pagans|
|Veganism or vegetarianism||X||X||They have no qualms about eating animals, especially since in the Bible animals are seen as put on Earth to serve man (if I remember correctly what I learnt in Sunday school).||It depends. My gut feeling tells me they probably eat meat, but in a respectful manner and maybe like free-range animals.|
|Living out on the land, usually homesteaders.||Yes and no, most life in urban areas and probably have an idyllic view of the countryside.||X||X||X|
|Skeptical towards science (ex. Anti-vaccination)||Yes, especially if it makes them seem morally superior. Hipsters aren’t “mainstream” anymore, but I believe many former hipsters probably adhere to gender theory.||Yes, they are very skeptical of anything unnatural and that disrupts the natural order. This in itself isn’t necessarily unscientific – scientists also care about the environment, but can get into weird territory like spurning western medicine.||Yes, especially if science goes against something mentioned in the Bible. They may seek medical help, but believe the pill to cause abortions or that scientists do not respect what is sacred.||Yes, but in my understanding, they are mostly critical of science in the sense that they equate it with technology i.e. if it weren’t for science, we wouldn’t be fracking and destroying the environment.|
|Belief that there is a true authentic state of being as humans i.e. noble savage||Yes; they long for a more authentic time, usually a return to a past where men did physical labour jobs and things were not mass-produced.||Yes, these people are big fans of Rousseau’s concept of the noble savage and believe that society has corrupted us.||Yes, for them, human’s natural state of being comes from Biblical times.||Yes, but for them, they believe that humanity would be healthiest if people followed Pagan beliefs.|
|Into having a lot of babies||It depends. I have heard of hipster families having a lot of kids and some having just one and hoping it’ll be LGBT because that would be so cool.||Yes, if I am to trust Facebook, many headband-wearing hippy moms have countless photos of them breastfeeding their bountiful brood.||Hell yeah! Even skipping out on sex during ovulation is seen as unnatural.||It depends, but I believe they are mostly favourable to the idea.|
Regardless of the subculture, all these buy into this idea that there is a natural way that humans should be living which is reflected in their diet and also their living conditions. There seems therefore to be this idea that modern life has lead us astray from what is good for humans and that we need to look to the past to find this more natural authentic way of being which can be summed up with the idea of the noble savage, i.e. humans who have not yet been corrupted by civilisation. To be fair, I think they are onto something here. In the West, we have high rates of complex disorders such as depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders and these are thought to be associated to our stressful lifestyle, disruption of our sleep and circadian rhythms, lack of physical activity, bad diet (not only due to the high fat content, but also diets that do not support gut flora which has been found to affect mental and physical health in surprising ways).
Now, it could easily be argued that suffering is a part of life, but most of us in the West have nothing to complain about by ancestral standards as we live in times of abundance. So, which conclusions have these subcultures come to? Is this “normal” suffering, or have we lost our way? What is the authentic way to live?
What is authentic according to hipsters?
For hipsters, people were more authentic perhaps around the 1800s when men would work as butchers, lumberjacks or in the factory only to head to the pub after a hard day’s work to drink some working class ale, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, and enjoy the camaraderie of other hardworking men who share the same struggle. This is based on my subjective experience as a middle class individual, but I have often gotten the impression from my peers that people feel as though our middle class life wasn’t real, or at least not as real as that of the poor or of the working class. This might be because middle class people are for the most part quite comfortable, have the leisure time to “escape” their reality, they usually work white-collar jobs that require processing of abstract information and rarely ever get to witness the fruit of their labour either because it is abstract or so complex that each person only plays a small role in the process. This might lead to an unsatisfying disconnect between behaviour and outcome and explains why people like cooking so much, because: process —> result.
The only movie which has really portrayed middle class life as depressively realistic is perhaps American Beauty. It showcased the need of middle class people to be appropriate and to set the example all while living a miserable life in the suburbs and feeling like your life is empty and meaningless despite having accomplished all the middle class milestones.
Hipsters are issued from the middle class. I also think SJWs are issued from the middle class and are a derivative of hipsters. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bitching about the middle class, not only because I am issued from this class, but also because it is a hardworking educated and stable class which assures a certain degree of stability within a country. However, it can easily be argued that hipsters and SJWs are the incarnation of how overly comfortable a society has gotten, to the point that it is unaware of the hardships of life and consequently, has no purpose. Hipsters saw how depressed their suburban parents were, though unlike poor people who can attribute most of their misery to poverty, hipsters do not have such a straightforward goal.
According to the Protestant work ethic, hard-working people are good people and typically, hard-working people earn more. Many people from the middle class seem to feel they are morally superior to the decadent rich and degenerate poor and have a desire to prove that they are morally righteous people. However, there is also this idea that “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth”. Therefore, hipsters have no aspirations of improving their financial condition to improve their lives, hence why they are known as being not necessarily the most ambitious. Their only purpose is to be good; as reflected in their locally-sourced organic diet. In addition to this, their landscape is filled with things that aren’t beautiful like big box stores and at the very best, these things, while aesthetically pleasing, fail to conjure a feeling of awe or make us marvel at the beauty of the world. Daniel Clowes seems to be the artist who captures the futility and emptiness of the aesthetics of the modern world quite well.
Hipsters imitate what they believe to be authentic in the hope that it will lead to a more authentic and fulfilling life. Ironically, hipsters like opening restaurants that serve high quality homestyle food like macaroni, making their own sausages, founding a microbrewery with the boys and dressing like a hardworking lumberjack, however I have yet to see a hipster actually work in a factory, as a lumberjack or farmer.
Anecdote: I remember listening to an episode of NPR about this hipster dude and his Korean wife who moved out to the country to start a farm and they were consulting with an actual farmer over the radio and the hipster said he didn’t want to wake up early to milk the cows at 5AM, but that he could milk them after he woke up at like 10AM. Farming doesn’t work that way dumbass!
Hipsters get a lot of hate and most deny being a hipster, but to be honest, they are just a product of their time. I believe their main problem isn’t only that other people don’t take them seriously, but how can they aspire to be authentic or taken seriously, when everything they do is an imitation of what they believe to be authentic? In addition to that, there almost seems to be a fear or at least a discomfort with the idea of being authentic, hence why they like so many things “ironically”. EMBRACE AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EMOTIONS!
Even Gavin McInnes aka. hipster grandpa became disillusioned with the lifestyle and now is trying his hand at traditional conservatism, though to be honest, like many hipsters, he will probably fail at his goal of finding meaning. Imitation and buying into “prepackaged” ideologies doesn’t work.
What do hippies consider to be authentic?
Hippies may have come into existence in the 60ies, descendants of the beatniks, but they are alive and well today and every subsequent generation since Woodstock has seen a new take on the hippy. I tend to avoid hippies as they are mostly positive people who do not seem bored by the idea of sitting around in an arrythmic drum circle eating tabbouleh out of a communal bowl with their grubby hands while reciting low-grade poetry about consummerism. I’m too cynical and Hobbesian to hang out with such accepting people despite sharing similar values. Also, why is it that there is always one philosophy-studying hippy that refuses to bathe during his entire degree?
Hippies believe that humans at birth are these pure little angels that are corrupted by society, hence why hippy moms can go a little nuts: breastfeeding their kids for a long time, making home-made organic baby food, eating their placenta after birth, etc… They actively engage in cultural relativism without realising that you cannot pick and choose cultural elements as you please that only make sense within a greater cultural context. They engage in attachment parenting and operate under the assumption that natural is equivalent to good. Therefore, food that is cultivated on an organic farm by hand is healthier than if it had been harvested by a machine. For example, if we look at the ecohippies over at Fuck for Forest, they fail to appreciate that the natives don’t want to live in their ancestral conditions anymore, they want technology. “Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they are doing” is probably what those hippies from Fuck for Forest were thinking, “they do not know that by wanting to improve their quality of life with technology that they are leaving the Garden of Eden — the paradise lost that we so desperately want to return to. DO NOT MAKE OUR MISTAKE!!!”
Yes, it’s nice to think that some people are living a simpler life, and despite our appreciation for their lifestyle, we personally would never want to downgrade to something like that. We like to view these tribal people as sort of purveyors of an innocence, as though they themselves might not want to be corrupt by technology? It’s like forcing a growing child to remain innocent by keeping them sheltered. I am not saying we force them to embrace the modern world — not at all. I think we should leave them alone, but should they want to embrace the modern world, so be it. Do they not have the same rights as other humans? The idea of the noble savage, though naïve, is not inherently racist, but it is when you believe tribal people are the noble savages. So yeah, a lot of hippies are racist without realising it. This is referred to as the bigotry of lowered expectations. By the way, I would posit that idealising any people, whether it be a race or class also diminishes their humanity. People are complex and deeply flawed and assuming they are “ideal” in some way does more harm than good. Just to make things clear, I think we can all benefit from exposure to different cultures and ways of thinking and the hippies are well-intentioned (though the road to hell is paved with good intentions) and #Notallhippies. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t keep people in a stage of “innocence” simply to live vicariously through them. To quote Dolores from the best show in the history of television, Westworld, “I am not a key.” People (or sentient robots for that matter) are not there to contribute to your personal development; they often do contribute as we are social animals, but that is not their purpose.
Hippies also seem to have quite traditional gender roles, like I said, I see many hippy moms that want to stay at home tending their gardens, making their organic baby food, flaunting their milk production, sometimes eschewing contraception totally. Some also have children at a very young age and aren’t necessarily that well-educated.
What do the quiverfull consider to be authentic?
The quiverfull movement is comprised of fundamentalist Christians who choose to “trust God with their family-planning” i.e. they don’t use contraception. The most famous examples of quiverfull families are the Duggars and the Bates.
As you can imagine, with that many kids and back to back pregnancies, they believe in traditional Biblical gender roles with the woman being the man’s “helpmeet” and the man being the “headship”. I was also not surprised to learn that it isn’t mostly the men in the relationship who want to live the quiverfull lifestyle, many women want to leave their family planning up to “the Lord’s will”. I think this is because women like the idea of being in the safe home environment raising kids and having the man worry about the outside world stuff like finances – a way of Biblically reinforcing their agoraphobia. I also think that many quiverfull have a breeding and submission/domination fetish and this lifestyle validates this and makes it seem wholesome, but maybe this says more about my twisted mind than about the quiverfull. On second thought, no, there are so many perverts in these cults.
Another thing worth mentioning is that quiverfull believe in the Rapture. I see the athiest version of the Rapture as being the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Basically, these people have a hard time accepting that people are both good and evil and therefore, to placate their anxiety with nuances, they prefer the eradiction of the human race.
What do the ethnonationalist neo-Pagan consider to be authentic?
“Wait a minute,” you might be saying, “all these subcultures are primarily comprised of white people.”
Yes. You are right.
“Well, perhaps this means that the white European race has lost its way and the subcultures you just mentioned are just a misguided attempt to return to our own people’s personal Truth.”
Hmm, well, that sounds like something that an ethnonationalist neo-Pagan would say, but what I am arguing in this article is that there never was a Garden of Eden, that noble savages never existed, that there is no age of innocence. Now, don’t get me wrong, in many ways I prefer the values and lore of Paganism. I appreciate that the gods are less “all mighty”, that there is a strong connection with nature, that sexuality and the naked human body seems to be accepted as something natural, etc… I don’t think it is wrong either to be proud and curious about your heritage. In fact, I think in terms of heritage, it would be good to realise that our entire cultural value system is based on hundreds of years of memetic evolution. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. Know where you are coming from to know where you are going.
The best example I can think of an ethnonationalist neo-Pagan is Varg Vikernes. I also don’t think neo-Pagan ethnonationalism is only found among caucasian people. I am sure there are people in other parts of the world who want to reconnect with their ancestral and spiritual roots. There are also non-ethnonationalist neo-Pagans too.
People have been “getting back to basics” since the dawn of time (probably). Just look at the Amish, they too reverted to the old ways in the hopes it would help them get closer to God through a purer, more authentic lifestyle. Pandora’s Box has been opened and we can’t close it again, we cannot return to the Garden of Eden either. The Unibomber, Ted Kaczynski wanted to turn back the clock on technology, but does he not realise that by hindering our human curiosity, that this, as far as I am concerned, is just as horrible as the singularity. As for proponents of the idea of the noble savage; dude, if you adhere to the theory of evolution you should know that our closest cousins, the chimpanzees, are not innocent angels either. If the lifestyle works for you, go for it, just don’t fool yourself.
The way I see it, it takes a lifetime to learn how to properly live life and “authenticity” is not a particular lifestyle; rather, it is a state of being. Be intune with your feelings, be honest with yourself no matter how painful and hopefully, the insights gained will help you achieve some sort of fulfillment. Easier said than done 😁.
Hope you guys are having a wonderful summer!