Social Sciences


A hermit is a person who prefers to live in solitude , that is, without any social contact, or at least not by choice. The word is also assigned to other concepts that we will see below.

It is rare to meet someone who feels comfortable avoiding any kind of relationship with another human being . We are social beings by nature, therefore, it is normal that some hermits are actually people with some psychological problem. Your decision may also be subject to one or multiple traumatic experiences.

However, there are those who practice this behavior at different levels: they do not attend meetings, they do not visit restaurants or discos, much less have romantic relationships with someone else. They are individuals who only leave the house to perform specific tasks without getting too involved with other people.

In religion

Although the above description is the most common, the term “hermit” also refers to other concepts. For example, in Christianity those who at a certain moment are secluded in a hermitage to improve their religiosity are called hermits.

Pope John Paul II, promulgated a Code of Law in which the hermit life is considered an accepted practice.

It has a lot of connection with the previous definition since the hermitages are usually located far from the city, so it was unlikely to relate to other people. This practice has spread to other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism .

The hermit crab

On the other hand, “hermit” is also the name given to a type of crab that leaves its shell to live in another , for example, in the shell of an empty snail. This soft-chested animal inspects every snail in its path to see if they are empty. Of course, before leaving its shell, it already has its new “home” sighted and it changes before putting its life at risk.

This crustacean has ten legs and only its front part is hard and mobile, the back part (soft) must “shelter” it and drag it wherever it goes.

There are about 500 species of hermit crabs that can be terrestrial or aquatic.

Examples of hermits

These are the most famous hermits in world history:

  • Lao-Tzu (551-479 BC). According to Chinese history, Lao-tzu lived as a hermit the last years of his life, which would be described by himself in the Tao Te Ching.
  • Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC). It is said that Buddha stripped himself of a wealthy life to seek, in complete solitude, spiritual inspiration.
  • Prisciliano (340-385). Before being the first heretic (person contrary to the dogma of his religion) executed by the Catholic Church, Prisciliano lived alone in forests to be able to meditate, with nothing but nature, on which he fed.
  • Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). For a time he practiced meditation in extreme austerity. It was a personal decision, since he came from a family that was always in a good position.
  • Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). The author, inspired by great writers of the time, secluded herself in a room in her family home to write several of her works. All of his idols defended the life-away-from-riches theory professed by several of the earlier hermits on this list.

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