The Politics of Eremitism

Meng-hu writes at hermit’s thatch:

The folly of society attempted to change itself and its course using the same contrived tools that brought it to its present precipice is an important lesson for the solitary.

Intrinsic to power and authority are the means of retaining and replicating itself, and these tools cannot be relinquished without self-destruction. Even such a devolution would not last. Some other aspirant to power and control would quickly fill the vacuum. This process could be described as an evolutionary instinct: the instinct of self-preservation and reproduction. Except that we are not speaking of individuals but of social and political institutions, of cultures and circles of power. Hence, the analogy of instincts is not accurate, but the desire for power and the extension and preservation of power is a good description.

The solitary already senses that institutions and organizations are not authentic beings. Indeed, they are abstractions, projections of individuals holding power, extending their power into families, associates, dynasties, cultural institutions, and ultimately into strong political, social, economic institutions, organizations, and structures. In turn, these entities can manipulate material conditions. Since these conditions include resources and infrastructure that moves them through society and provides individuals with consumable products and services, the abstractions then take on an aura of necessity and even a contrived naturalness, so that people assume they cannot live without them and that they evolved naturally and inevitably.

But the solitary looks at them with bafflement. These entities do not exist, epistemologically speaking. They appear to exist because countless individuals have acceded to their creation and renounced their autonomous spiritual status to them, transferring it to larger abstract entities (that is, to those behind the entities).

These entities (and they are familiar enough as institutions, organizations, groups, and collective legal fictions) are abstractions in the sense that they are arrangements and relationships between and among people. They are not concrete things. The material conditions in which we live appear as they do because of human inventiveness — or exploitation. The entities or structures themselves are no more than power relationships, as Foucault conceived of them. To the solitary, they are not inevitable in the epistemological sense.

That part of human relationship which entails a subordination to structures due to the threat of violence and harm does force the hermit to conform to power. We can think of laws that are not just, coercions that are unprovoked, societal and individual uses of power that are motivated by human aggression and vice — all these things force the solitary to conform outwardly, to submission or cooperation.

But understanding their origins helps the solitary to understand their evanescence and their lack of virtue, to understand that they exist out of what most spiritual traditions call the sinfulness of human beings, which might be called the complex web of mixed evolutionary inheritance, wherein human beings cannot distinguish their instincts or desires from a natural fellow-feeling in a social context.

Read more here.

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  • Juan

    Awesome post, thanks. I bookmarked the site.
    Cheers:)

  • BuzzCoastin

    > We heal ourselves by disengaging from the world that others made and which frustrates the emergence of our own imaginative response to reality…

    this statement points at a reality most only dream of
    but never actualize because of
    the world that others made
    which frustrates the emergence of our own imaginative response to reality

  • mannyfurious

    Bravo.

    While not a hermit, I’ve often been accused of being “apathetic” or a “fence sitter” because I have a natural inclination to not act, politically, at least (both on a macro and micro level). I just feel as if I’m generally stuck between one arbitrary contrivance or another. In most cases, one contrivance might seem somewhat “less” “evil” than the other, but that’s like choosing between committing hare-kari or shooting myself in the head with a shotgun. Personally, I’d just rather not.

    With that said, if a genuine opportunity to help someone presents itself, I try to be aware and assertive in doing so. Like if someone needs a few bucks or a place to stay or for someone to call 911. Things like that.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Maybe you’re just an outgoing hermit. Strange times lead to strange oxymorons.

      • mannyfurious

        Actually, that’s pretty much what my wife has called me.Occasionally she calls me like a “lonesome extrovert” or an “extroverted hermit” or something like that.

        • emperorreagan

          Maybe this quote from one of the other entries is more fitting for what you describe:

          “The eremitic experience of one living in the world is to be engaged in work or communicating clearly and productively with others, yet never fully “there,” never fully delivered of self to some outward thing. Outward things are relational to the self, not real entities. Real enough, of course, but only taken into account by us when they need to be. Our relationship to the world, to people, to sentient beings, and to nature, defines and shapes our consciousness but can never fully “be” in us, never fully absorbing or be absorbed by us.”

          http://www.hermitary.com/thatch/?p=628

          • mannyfurious

            Yeah, that’s pretty nice. I need to do some more exploring on that site.

          • emperorreagan

            I fell down the rabbit hole and have read probably half the posts at this point.

  • LifelongLIb

    Are people ‘naturally’ solitary though? We’re born as individuals but most of us spend our lives in groups of one sort or another. Some of this is coerced but much of it is voluntary. People who choose to be mostly alone are rare.

    • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

      I don’t know. While I was much younger being around other people was important to me. However the longer I stayed and learned about their behaviors and motivations the more appealing hermitage seems. Especially when you see the same social games played over and over… -_-‘ And then watching yourself play them! But then I suppose that’s why I come here to disinfo… at least the games here are usually different.

    • jnana

      It may have to do with embryonic development. The person with a highly developed ectoderm(in Ayurveda it’s Vata) is more sensitive to the outer world and so retreats to the inner world of imagination and intellect. I believe there’s an element of truth to these typologies. In my experience, they seem accurate. I, myself, would correspond to Vata/Ectoderm, as I’m sensitive to cold, embrace heat easily, am thin, prone to indigestion and a certain anxiety/fear/chills, and am intellectual. As for the commenter Threedinium’s observation that he began life as an extrovert and ended up an introvert, that is very common according to Jung (or Jungian psychologists). Jung’s typology is also very interesting and can correspond to Ayurveda, even though Ayurveda is 3 and Jung’s functions are 8, or 4×2. The 2 are introvert/extrovert and the psychological functions are thinking/feeling/sensing/intuition. There is a vast “science” concerning these functions as types of Information Metabolism and examining the social dynamics. It’s called Socionics and is quite strange, dominated by Russians and Eastern Europeans.

      “the endoderm, the mesoderm and the ectoderm, which in turn give rise to three distinct body types, in which the organs and systems into which the membranes develop play a key part.

      Someone with highly developed endodermal tissues tends to have a greater amount of visceral tissue, and a large, though not obese, body.

      Someone with highly developed mesodermal tissue has notable musculature.

      Someone with highly developed ectodermal tissue tends to have a long, thin body, with a greater surface area to body ratio.

      Although all people combine these three tissues in different quantities and levels of development, they remain at the heart of the ayurvedic medical system. The systems developed from the three derms, in ayurvedic medicine called doshas:

      The 3 doshas:

      Pitta – mesoderm
      -”to shine” “that which digests”
      – element fire & earth
      Kapha – endoderm
      – “that which holds things together, to embrace, coherent
      – element water & earth

      Vata – ectoderm
      – “that which moves things”
      – elements space & air”

      • Guest

        that last part is actually wrong. Pitta corresponds to mesoderm. Kapha corresponds to endoderm. i’m having trouble editing it.

        here’s a quick overview of Vata which I believe corresponds to Eremitism.

        VATA: The Energy of Movement in Ayurveda

        Vata is the principle of mobility that regulates all activity in the body —from how many thoughts one might have during a given period to how efficiently food moves through our intestines. Vata is in charge of functions such as the pulsation of the heart, respiration, circulation and elimination. It is responsible for joy, happiness, creativity and speech. Vata is also in charge of the vital life essence, or prana. Thus when vata (prana) leaves the body, life ceases.

        The colon is the most important seat of vata dosha. Vata is also present in the nervous system as motor neuron impulses; in the ears; in the pelvic cavity, lower back, sacrum and thighs; and in the joints and skin. When vata is increased, there may be signs and symptoms connected to these locations.

        Vata has the qualities or attributes of dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile (erratic), and clear. These qualities translate into the makeup of the vata individual, as shown in the chart of vata attributes.

        THE VATA INDIVIDUALQualities:Manifestations in the Body: DryDry skin, hair, lips and tongue; dry colon, tendency toward constipation; hoarse voice. LightLight muscles, bones, thin body frame; light, scanty sleep; tendency to be underweight.
        ColdCold hands and feet; poor circulation; hates cold and loves hot; stiffness of muscles. RoughRough cracked skin, nails, hair, teeth, hands and feet; cracking joints. SubtleSubtle fear, anxiety and insecurity; fine goose pimples; minute muscle twitchings, fine tremors; delicate body.
        MobileFast walking and talking; doing many things at once; restless eyes, eyebrows, hands and feet; unstable joints; many dreams; loves travelling but does not stay long at one place; swinging moods, shaky faith, scattered mind.
        ClearClairvoyant; understands immediately and forgets immediately; clear, empty mind; experiences void and loneliness.
        AstringentDry choking sensation in the throat; hiccough, burping; loves oily foods and mushy soups; craves sweet, sour and salty tastes; tendency toward constipation.

        Physically, vata persons have light, flexible bodies and big, protruding teeth. They have small, recessed, dry eyes. With irregular appetite and thirst, they often experience digestive and malabsorption problems. Vata types tend to be delicate in health, so they may have few or no children.

        In their behavior, vata individuals are easily excited. Indeed, they are alert and quick to act without much thinking. They may give a wrong answer but with great confidence. They have good imagination and enjoy daydreaming. Vata individuals are loving people but may love someone out of fear or loneliness. Fears of darkness, heights and enclosed spaces are not uncommon. Because of a tendency to change, vata people may often move furniture or residence to keep from feeling bored. They do not like sitting idle, and seek constant action. Due to their active nature, they make good money but spend it on trifles and have difficulty saving.

        Any of the qualities of vata in excess can cause an imbalance. Frequent travel, especially by plane, loud noises, constant stimulation, drugs, sugar and alcohol derange vata, as does exposure to cold and cold liquids and foods. Vata people should go to bed by 10 p.m. since they need more rest than the other types. In general, people with excessive vata should dress warmly and eat warm, moist, slightly oily, heavy foods. Steam baths, humidifiers and moisture in general are beneficial. Daily oil massage before the shower or bath is also recommended.

        General Guidelines for Balancing Vata Dosha:

        Keep warm

        Eat warm foods and spices

        Keep calm

        Keep a regular routine

        Get plenty of rest

        Avoid cold, frozen, or raw foods

        Avoid extreme cold

        • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

          Thank you that made for a very interesting read. I recently acquired ‘Personality Types’ by Jung but am finding it laborious going. It’ll be interesting applying these concepts to reality.

          edit: If I’m not mistaken tho, Jung’s definitions of ‘extravert’ and ‘intravert’ tend to be more complex on more dimensions than general attitude towards social situations… even though I might be regarded as’ introverted’ in that I don’t like hanging aound people too much, I’ve also been accused of empathy, which is an extraverted behaviour, am I in the ballpark?

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            I’ve just started reading Jung’s ‘personality types’. It’ll be good to share some ideas and notes about it if we find some time.

          • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

            That sounds good, although I’m not sure how much I’d be able to bring to the table and how soon. I take a special interest in this stuff to feed a fascination with music that depicts and communicates complex mental and physical states. myconica@rocketmail.com is my contact.

          • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

            That theory of embryonic development, could it have been any of the names mentioned in this passage?

            “William Harvey (1578–1657) viewed embryological development as a continuing process of remodeling and growth from unspecialized tissues to specialized structures. This theory, which is termed epigenesis, was largely ignored until 1759 when Kaspar Friedrich Wolff (1733–1794) offered empirical evidence of epigenesis from his detailed studies of chick development. In 1828, Karl von Baer (1792–1876) described four fundamental concepts of development.”

            http://www.biologyreference.com/Co-Dn/Development.html

          • jnana

            I don’t think so, but maybe. The type of embryonic theory I’m talking about is more of a “pseudoscience”. I do believe it’s generally accurate and on to something, but I don’t think its highly regarded by scientists. I read about it in a book called The History of Western Herbal Medicine by Matthew Wood.

          • jnana

            Jung’s personality types, and psychological functions are, in my opinion, his most important contribution to psychology. In addition to the Jung book yer reading, I would really recommend ou researching Socionics which elaborates on Jung’s types a bit more.
            Everyone has both extravert/introvert qualities and different situations may bring out different reactions. I believe many introverted people have a well-developed sense of empathy. Especially someone with a strong Introverted Feeling.
            Studying Jung’s types/functions and Socionics has been helpful to me. It helps you to understand other people because not everyone has a well-differentiated Introverted Thinking, for example. Understanding these types helped me to break up with a girl who wasn’t compatible with me no matter how much I tried to make it. I’m an introvert, with a balance of thinking/feeling, though I think i’m a bit heavier on the thinking. My secondary function is Extroverted Intuition. I love history and sci-fi. Always traveling and imagining possibilities. She’s most likely Extraverted Feeling, although it is often in conflict with Introverted Feeling. Meaning she wants to make others happy and comfortable, but this conflicts with her needs. usually she conforms to her society. She’s susceptible to enthusiasm and if others are laughing, has to laugh, too. I’m the opposite in tthat I enjoy making others unconmfortable sometimes, confronting them with the contrary. Her secondary function is Introverted Sensing. After realizing this, I knew it wasn’t gonna work out.
            I used to play a game with a dude I was hiking with. Whenever we met someone new, wed try to pinpoint their Type, often first impressions are more accurate. It seems kinda cheezy and maybe even invasive, but interesting nonetheless.

          • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

            Hmmm then I have a question… if two people (or even just one of them) who are seemingly incompatible using a framework of these types began to alter their reactions in intentional and dynamic ways, would incompatibility cease to be an issue?

            I think it’s also too easy to rely on having these categories define the world for you, the very first thing I read after the translator’s preface was a huge disclaimer by Jung that these were surface appreciations and he lamented having to brutalize his observations still further by having to communicate them in words.

            edit: shit, did i just say “labels are bad maaaaan”

          • jnana

            well, if you realize there are certain functions that are weak, you can consciously work on strengthening them. I have even unconsciously realized functions were atrophying. for example, I’ve been an introverted thinker, but unconsciously realized it was to the detriment of the Extraverted Sensing, so I decided to find work that was more physical. certain functions are opposite and can only be used at different times.
            as for the relationship dynamics of all this, i’m not really sure. I wouldn’t depend on it as the gospel truth and base my decisions on psychological types, but it can help to understand the different abilities and reactions of others. Socionics is popular amongst Russian intelligentsia, I believe their cosmonaut program uses it for their missions, also bosses may use it for the workplace and some do use it for dating.

          • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

            Ah after a while I’m beginning to see the subtle art of socionics. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

      • jnana

        quick overview of vata which I believe corresponds to the concept of eremitism:

        VATA: The Energy of Movement in Ayurveda

        Vata is the principle of mobility that regulates all activity in the body —from how many thoughts one might have during a given period to how efficiently food moves through our intestines. Vata is in charge of functions such as the pulsation of the heart, respiration, circulation and elimination. It is responsible for joy, happiness, creativity and speech. Vata is also in charge of the vital life essence, or prana. Thus when vata (prana) leaves the body, life ceases.

        The colon is the most important seat of vata dosha. Vata is also present in the nervous system as motor neuron impulses; in the ears; in the pelvic cavity, lower back, sacrum and thighs; and in the joints and skin. When vata is increased, there may be signs and symptoms connected to these locations.

        Vata has the qualities or attributes of dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile (erratic), and clear. These qualities translate into the makeup of the vata individual, as shown in the chart of vata attributes.

        THE VATA INDIVIDUAL
        Qualities:
        Manifestations in the Body:
        DRY Dry skin, hair, lips and tongue; dry colon, tendency toward constipation; hoarse voice.
        LIGHT Light muscles, bones, thin body frame; light, scanty sleep; tendency to be underweight.
        COLD Cold hands and feet; poor circulation; hates cold and loves hot; stiffness of muscles.
        ROUGH Rough cracked skin, nails, hair, teeth, hands and feet; cracking joints.
        SUBTLE Subtle fear, anxiety and insecurity; fine goose pimples; minute muscle twitchings, fine tremors; delicate body.
        MOBILE Fast walking and talking; doing many things at once; restless eyes, eyebrows, hands and feet; unstable joints; many dreams; loves travelling but does not stay long at one place; swinging moods, shaky faith, scattered mind.
        CLEAR Clairvoyant; understands immediately and forgets immediately; clear, empty mind; experiences void and loneliness.
        ASTRINGENT Dry choking sensation in the throat; hiccough, burping; loves oily foods and mushy soups; craves sweet, sour and salty tastes; tendency toward constipation.

        Physically, vata persons have light, flexible bodies and big, protruding teeth. They have small, recessed, dry eyes. With irregular appetite and thirst, they often experience digestive and malabsorption problems. Vata types tend to be delicate in health, so they may have few or no children.

        In their behavior, vata individuals are easily excited. Indeed, they are alert and quick to act without much thinking. They may give a wrong answer but with great confidence. They have good imagination and enjoy daydreaming. Vata individuals are loving people but may love someone out of fear or loneliness. Fears of darkness, heights and enclosed spaces are not uncommon. Because of a tendency to change, vata people may often move furniture or residence to keep from feeling bored. They do not like sitting idle, and seek constant action. Due to their active nature, they make good money but spend it on trifles and have difficulty saving.

        Any of the qualities of vata in excess can cause an imbalance. Frequent travel, especially by plane, loud noises, constant stimulation, drugs, sugar and alcohol derange vata, as does exposure to cold and cold liquids and foods. Vata people should go to bed by 10 p.m. since they need more rest than the other types. In general, people with excessive vata should dress warmly and eat warm, moist, slightly oily, heavy foods. Steam baths, humidifiers and moisture in general are beneficial. Daily oil massage before the shower or bath is also recommended.

        General Guidelines for Balancing Vata Dosha:

        Keep warm

        Eat warm foods and spices

        Keep calm

        Keep a regular routine

        Get plenty of rest

        Avoid cold, frozen, or raw foods

        Avoid extreme cold

      • jnana

        The funny thing is the formation of these typologies(Ayurveda and Embryonic Developmental type) occurred at different times and places, very far apart, and yet correspond almost exactly. I forget who it was who founded the Embryonic Development types and what it was he called his system. It was popular in the 1800s I believe, and related to herbal medicine.

      • Dan Muench

        It’s been said that babies, when subjected to loud music or other stimuli, either have little reaction or a bad one to it – the latter are more ‘sensitive’. I, myself, though a musician now and a lover of playing fucking LOUD, started out as someone who wanted classical music and soft volume levels – I hated rock and roll as a kid probably because my parents were prone to playing it at ungodly volumes and it affected me. I consider myself ‘hermit prone’ and/or antisocial in the sense of enjoying small, though perhaps intense, conversations in small groups or pairs vs. large, loud, incoherent gatherings.

        There would be a certain allowability for an ‘urban hermit’, think of the main character’s father played by Dennis Hopper in True Romance – late night security guard who goes home to a remote – though urban – trailer to his dog. I myself did security and loved it, paid to read and study and smoke pot, all by myself for shifts at a time, only to be interrupted by folks arriving with the sun…

  • http://artasith-m-nasdsnre.tumblr.com/ Simon Valentine

    stop making excuses for outsiders and see what you will learn. void after collusion is merely a speedbump for the buggars.

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