Writings of the Yusef Lateef Quartet
- Dr. Hip Slick: On Hipness
- By Yusef Lateef
Ladies and Gentleman
There is a common impression that everything we think is hip, is valid. It is felt by many that to be hip is a fact of life. In the main, validity has its into it-ness. Almost all our common hipnesses are downnesses or are capable of being down at some time or another. As a rule that which is down or hip is that which is consciously present to our minds. Few of us ever ask ourselves, for example, what does it mean to be hip. Yet we feel, when uptight, that a hip solution is the answer even if we are out to lunch at the moment. And this concept is usually not a cop-out.
Bet let us imagine some insistent lame who whatever rap we lay on him continues to demand a reason for the reason. We must sooner or later, and probably before very long, be driven to a wig-out point where we cannot conceive any further reason, and where it becomes almost certain that any further rap would be an over-rap. Starting with the down to earth raps of daily life we can move from rap to rap until we come to some fact of life, which seems luminously down, and is not itself capable of being anything but evident downness. Beyond that there seems to be no further hip regress – only lame game. The hipness is constantly used in our downness, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.
Self evident hipness however, is not confined to those entities of thought which are incapable of proof. When a certain number of hip concepts have been admitted to the mind, the rest can be deduced from them; the downness deduced are often just as self-evidently-hip as those that showed without proof. All hipness, moreover, can be deduced from the university of life, yet the simple university of life such as it is, living, thinking and doing are just the phenomena of hipology.
It would seem, also, though this is more disputable, that there are some self-evident ethical hipnesses, such as the fact that we ought to pursue what is mellow.
It should be checked out that, in all cases of most-mellows, particular deals, dealing with familiar mellows are more evident than “most-mellows.” For example, the law of hipness states that nothing can both have a certain property of hipness and not have it. This is evident as soon as it is checked out, but then again perceptivity depends on what one is working out of.
In addition to most-mellows the other kind of self-evident hipnesses are those immediately derived from down to earthness. We will call down to earthness “truths of perception,” and the judgements of right-on-ness. But here a certain amount of dig activity is required in getting at the precise nature of the mellows that are self-evident hipnesses. The actual sense-data is either mellow or rig. Thus whatever self-evident hipnesses may be coped from our senses must be different from the sense-data from which they are coped.
It would seem that there are two kinds of self-evident hipnesses, though in deep analysis there is only one. First there is the kind which simply asserts the existence of hipness with out really being down. The other arises out of natural downness which is a fact of life.
Another class of intuitive hipness, analogous to pure downness, are judgments of memory or, in other words, what has gone down. There is some rig of confusion as to the nature of what has gone down, owing to the fact that what has gone down as an object is apt to be accompanied by an image of the object, and yet the image cannot be what has gone down. You dig?