"HIPSTER" is a mainstream subculture that holds art and culture in high esteem and is alternative in style, thought and interest to mass-culture conformity. Something that links the hipster movement to that of Stoicism is the apparent rejection of consumerism. But is there more to the relationship?
The rejection of consumerism is unique to neither Stoicism nor hipsterism. Arguably, the hipster would be better suited to the Cynicism school of thought as opposed to Stoicism, but there are challenges living life as a Cynic, especially as an ambitious 20 or 30-something with a university education.
The founding Stoics did not live without. In fact, they were wealthy individuals. They did not shun material goods or wealth, just the value one bestows upon them. For the would-be modern-day Stoic, being able to own the latest modern technology and somewhat expensive vintage apparel is a major plus of the philosophy. Being able to distance oneself from the monetary value of these belongings surely demonstrates sage-like self-understanding.
Why would a hipster adopt Stoicism?
During recent times, Stoicism has become more mainstream. Mainstream enough to catch the attention of the discerning hipster, but not mainstream enough to be deemed mass-culture. Being Stoic not only helps individuals manage their daily stresses, but it adds to their unique outlook on life.
Few hipsters are self-proclaiming. Therefore, you may be hard-pressed to find a self-proclaiming "stoic hipster", but they surely exist. Being a Stoic enables us to refrain from reaction and immediate response - something that today's society of the internet and social media craves us to do.
The internet may have provided us freedom of speech but it certainly impinges our freedom of thought.
Refraining from engaging in such frivolity and allowing the invasion of our valuable time and brain space is both hipster and Stoic. This is to suggest that because today's world is full of so much anti-Stoic behaviour, the rejection of these conformities, a la "hipster", is somewhat Stoic, by definition.
Does this mean hipsters are Stoics by default?
I am not sure that it does. What Stoicism offers someone that may or not call themselves a hipster is a rational and intellectual explanation of elements of the non-conformity, but not all of it. Nor does the typical hipster have any more understanding of the Stoic philosophy or control over their thoughts than the average person.
I also doubt that the Stoics would have been regarded as the hipster equivalent of the time. After all, Stoicism was one of several schools of thought that sought to challenge the status quo.
Most likely is that there are Stoic hipsters and hipster Stoics because of the common ground between these two groups. It makes sense that the philosophy of choice for the hipster would be Stoicism because there are some natural synergies and the practices of either (at least in a modern sense of Stoicism) do not directly conflict.