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dannyc's avatar

What might be the advantages in being a hermit?

Asked by dannyc (5257points) May 26th, 2009

I sometimes like solitude. In the extreme, I wonder how that would be?

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27 Answers

justwannaknow's avatar

Minimal dealings with the human race.

Jeruba's avatar

Hearing your own thoughts.
Learning the wisdom that comes only in silence.
Being accountable to no one as long as you lived within the law.
Feeling your own competence and self-sufficiency.
Experiencing a oneness with your surroundings as your boundaries of self expanded and dissolved.
Dying naturally when it’s your time.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

A hermit never has to venture anywhere outside of their own personal comfort zone nor challenge themselves to become anything greater than they already are.

Blondesjon's avatar

You would never have to lock the bathroom door.

cwilbur's avatar

Not having to deal with other people.

fedupwitcaddys's avatar


DrasticDreamer's avatar

The biggest advantage that any extreme hermit could achieve is happiness in being alone. By that, I mean that they wouldn’t be depressed because they were alone. They would need nothing and no one outside of themselves and they would be perfectly happy with that fact.

wildpotato's avatar

We spend less money. But to answer your question seriously, I have heard that if you stop speaking for a long time, you become perceptive in a way that is non-conceptual – an awareness that lacks the everyday categories of meaning we impose on objects.

@DrasticDreamer Is happiness the goal of deliberately living alone? I think it might be a combination of a number of reasons, and depend on the circumstance.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

It would have to be at least one of the goals, otherwise no one could become a hermit in the first place. As for varying reasons, yeah, I agree that there can be many.

Jeruba's avatar

@fedupwitcaddys, how can you be a hermit if you have seven children from age 18 to 3? Just asking. Maybe you don’t mean literally a hermit—one who has withdrawn from society and lives in seclusion in a solitary place?

jonsblond's avatar

@Jeruba Beautiful answer. My paternal grandmother was a hermit. Many people worried about her isolation but I believe that she was happy.

Jeruba's avatar

@jonsblond, thanks. I sometimes fantasize about it, much as I love my family and friends. Did your grandmother receive visitors? How long did she live alone, and was she just by herself at home or did she move away from the community to live as a recluse?

Darwin's avatar

Never having to worry whether your roommates will clean up after themselves.

jonsblond's avatar

@Jeruba She lived on her own from 1987 until 2005. She was 94 when she passed away and lived in the house that she gave birth to my father in 75 years ago. My father would visit her once a week to take care of bills and housework. He’s an only child and lived 30 miles away.

She would never allow anyone she didn’t know into the house and never visited anyone. She wouldn’t even attend my wedding to Jon. I was upset at the time but I have come to realize that I may be a bit like her and I understand her better. I wish that I came to this understanding when she was alive.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t think I could ever be a complete hermit because I like to be in the city and feel the excitment (that is why I am not content living where I am now). But in the city there is a certain anonymity that is almost like being a hermit. You can be surrounded by great numbers of people but still be alone.

And yet I like the total solitude of being in the bush.

I guess it depends on how I feel that day.

YARNLADY's avatar

You never again will have a loved one die on you.
You will never have to get your heart broken by a lover cheating on you.
You will never have to worry about the latest fashions.
No one will care if you don’t comb your hair or shave.
You can eat anything you want and no one will talk about how fat you are.
You don’t have to worry about insulting someone by accident.
No one will ever think you sleep too much/too little
You will never again have to wash someone else’s dishes/clothes
You can read a book all the way through without any interruptions.

augustlan's avatar

I think about this too. I think it’s entirely possible I’ll become one someday. I’d probably allow visitors from time to time.

You could finally finish all those creative projects you’ve been putting off.

dynamicduo's avatar

You spend less money, have less reliance on humans, fewer opportunities for dumb humans to injure or harm you.

dannyc's avatar

Great answers, thanks to all. My tendency to sometimes enjoy being by myself can be misunderstood. I get my very best work, ideas and reflections at this time. I would suspect that some of the greatest discoveries were made in private spaces carved out by scholars, scientists who knew the value of introspection and analysis. The brain needs time away from all of the unnecessary noise (quiet electronic type also) that bombards us, leading to stress, disease and quick. poor decisions. I can sometimes be in a noisy environment and still be alone in my thoughts rather than react to what I feel is unhelpful to my goal of peace of mind. Being alone, the dread of many, is a time of opportunity.

knitfroggy's avatar

You wouldn’t have to share the tv remote, the bathroom, wouldn’t have to hide your special cookies that you don’t want the kids to eat.

Jeruba's avatar

I was thinking of this question today (two days later) and comparing hermits with monks. We may think of both in connection with an austere contemplative life secluded from the world, but in some respects they are more like opposites. I am thinking of the Zen teacher who compared the monastic life to a bag of pebbles: they keep bumping against one another and eventually wear each other smooth.

In contrast, think what kind of odd lumps and bumps of eccentricity a hermit must develop over time, with no one to polish them away through friction. What a curious bunch we would all be without all the social strictures and compromises it takes to get along! I wonder what you and I and he and they would be like—what we would all really be like—if we let ourselves be who would be as hermits.

dannyc's avatar

I will be spending one week at a cottage soon with no electricity, nobody but me, and I am so looking forward to it. I will bring pen and paper and my thoughts. I may never use them, have no preconceived ideas of what I will do. My family understand it is my way and support me to take this well deserved, once a year week to myself. Your comments will assist me.

rooeytoo's avatar

@dannyc – You a brave soul. The electricity goes off here regularly and each time it happens I marvel how much I rely on it and how difficult it is for me to get on without it.

Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about your experience when you return.

jonsblond's avatar

@dannyc I hope you enjoy your week. I would love to have just one day to myself. Have fun!

augustlan's avatar

@dannyc That sounds heavenly. Enjoy the solitude!

hermit's avatar

You don’t have to move into the forest to be a hermit. I’m a hermit who lives in the city. I work and be friends with people, but very much alone. The key is “you don’t let people’s opinion gets into your head, whether thay are good or bad”. Live your life with your own values. I think we become much stronger living in the city with a lot of people and their problems and yet able to stay still in own thoughts. Build your own strenght from within. After all, the strongest force always comes from our innner self.

Good luck with your journey.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I like alone time too. I lived by myself for about 10 years. For about six of those years I hardly ever even visited with anyone. I had gone through some horrible things in life and home alone was where I was safe——in every way. I’m now with someone most of the time, but still have a few days a month alone, which is good for me. Even when I’m not alone, I like a peaceful environment without noise. I actually like silence. Right now it’s 2AM, I am in the house alone, and there is not a sound other than my keyboard noise. I’m happy.

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