The name hermit draws heavily from the ancient hermits of the 14th century in England. The meaning of the term elicits different thoughts and imaginations more so because a lot of stories have been told in told in literature, art, and films. The term hermit is often misconceived to mean someone who dislikes people, and others think that they are harsh; others think that they are lonely, suffering unnecessarily, inhuman, among many others. However, hermits are defined as people who exercise religious discipline, and in the process, they have to stay in solitude and be completely detached from people other than those that they practice together (Roman 03). In the exploration of this widely debatable topic of hermits with a quest to establishing their real meaning while exploring diverse views, the essay seeks to define/explain how it is practiced, and explore misconceptions about the topic as well as rebuttal and facts.
Hermit has been largely perceived as undesirable and a barbaric way of life, to understand both perspectives, negatives, and positives about the hermit, it is worth understanding definition first. While many definitions have been given to the hermits, both negative and positive, both in support and in refutation of the practice; most of the definitions are based on the observations and heresy while others are based on interactions and books. Though the term hermit is not common in the modern world, the term used to exist predominantly from 14th century to around 19th century. However, it does not mean that hermits no longer exist in the modern world, they do exist, but because of the issues of standardization, their numbers have decreased significantly over the years. It is worth noting that, in the modern world, the hermits that most people are conversant with are those who live isolated lives from others by staying indoors or simply avoiding being in touch with people. While those in solitude may as well be identified as hermits, they do not fit to be the hermits of the olden days because they are not observing any values or portray any virtues for that matter for them to be fully identified with them (Jihyun 31). Unlike in many instances when those who were observing strict religious values for a period; hermits do not have a period in their lives where they stop practicing because of one reason or another. Instead, for one who has identified themselves as hermits, they remain as hermits for the rest of their lives not unless they are excommunicated from the group. The Tibetan Monks are living examples of real hermits in the modern era, they isolate themselves from the rest of the community, and then they live in solitude where they engage in religious acts on behalf of the people. Having gone through the background information about the practice, it is also important to note what those who are opposed to the practice have to say about it. Those who are opposed to the hermits despise the group because of their actions of being isolated and not being social not being in touch with people (Jihyun 17). Others claim borders witchcraft, mystery, magic, pious, among others unsubstantiated myths or half-truths. According to practicing hermits, they completely debunk and dissociate themselves from any practice that harm or destroy the lives of a human being. Further, practicing hermits note that due to the issue of
While many have argued that hermits do not benefit themselves from pursuing their way of lives others believe that it is important for some to undergo such suffering for others to be okay. Hermits undergo numerous sacrifices while holding a negative view of the pleasures that human beings pursue. To them, the quality of life is achieved when one has peace with their conscience, their bodies and with others. They further note that it is only through peace of conscience that an individual will get to understand the reason for living and through sacrifices they get to appreciate life because they can derive the meaning of life through suffering. These teachings that hermits hold dear to has not gone unchallenged (Roman 34). Many of those who hold different views with regards to hermit's teachings and values have strongly refuted the fact that one has to suffer to find peace with their conscience. Instead, those who opposed to the view note that one can derive pleasure through interaction with others while ridding themselves of any form of suffering that they may be subjected to, leave alone to subject themselves.
While another misconception holds that hermits are supposed to live the life of celibacy, and they should not marry of having children because in doing so they can no longer be regarded as hermits. The truth of the statement can be best explained by visiting the teachings of hermits more so with regards to the issue of celibacy. Whereas hermits in the modern dispensation differ on their view of marriage, the old hermits were not allowed to marry of be married since it was considered to be in contravention of their teachings. However, in the modern dispensation, hermits are not only allowed to marry, but they are also allowed to have a family and raise children on condition that all of them pursue hermits' way of life. The topic of hermits being allowed to marry or not has always been another source of debate for those who hold divergent views with regards to the practice (Jihyun 23). Those with divergent views argue that due to most hermits choosing to avoid marriage they are going against the natural their purpose of creation because it is natural for people to marry and be married. Further, the depose that due to the need for continued existence on the face of the earth, the human being must procreate which can only be achieved through marriage. However, the fact of the matter is that hermits can either choose to marry, or they can also choose to remain celibate all their lives, based on the interpretation of their teaching, it is not required of them to remain unmarried, but it is an option that they to choose if they so wish.
In summary, many debates about hermits way of life are largely considered to be half-truths. Because of the various views that people hold with regards to the way the observed the group as well as what they hear the live to believe the nonfactual information. Hermits derive chastity of conscience in sacrifice more so by living in solitude an act that has been refuted greatly as contradicting because one cannot suffer solitude and other sacrifices and yet at the same time be happy. However, despite diverse views about hermits, it is clear that the practice is not harmful and does not have any negative connotations on non-hermits thus the misconceptions might not be true after all.
Jihyun, Kay. Understanding the Hermit Kingdom As It Is and As It Is Becoming: The Past, Present and Future of North Korea. January 02, 2016. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 46, 1, 130-140.
Roman, Christopher M. Queering Richard Rolle: Mystical Theology and the Hermit in Fourteenth-Century England. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2017. Internet resource.Bottom of Form
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