Ocean Hermit – sailing, solitude and stories

My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

Words from an unknown hermit – self sufficiency (or keeping one’s own counsel) (7 of 10)

Words from an unknown hermit – self sufficiency (or keeping one’s own counsel) (7 of 10)

I’ve written before about the “Hermit Writings of S” and posted his script in its entirety on this site.  See here.

In order to bring his writings to a wider audience, I’ve been posting extracts from the Hermit Writings according to various themes which he himself used as sub-titles.  They’re intended as bite-sized chunks that may be more easily digested. He writes well, argues simply and coherently and with a commonsense that is both engaging and intriguing.  Judge for yourself.

Little is know about the man who calls himself S.  He may be living, or have lived, in northern Canada, as there are references to the “huge horseshoe landscape curing around James Bay, the pre-Cambrian Great Canadian Shield, vast tangled forests sieved through the lakes and rivers”.


“We cannot give up the world and then expect the world to do anything for us, or even to respect us. We should expect rejection, ridicule, resentment and so forth. Absolutely never trust any praise or acceptance from the common people; they are fickle, superficial, selfish and only attracted to us from some idiosyncrasy of the moment; it will pass and their pockets are always full of stones to throw at you when it does. Whatever happens to us, in particular if we deem it good fortune, life-saving, joyful tidings etc. whether or not it comes in the form of other people, as proceeding directly from the hands of Providence. Everything difficult or hurtful consider it a necessary and important lesson, a consequence of karma, a required duty or sacrifice, and always sent to us for our own good, whether we understand it or not at the time. If other people are the vehicle of our unhappiness, then let us feel sorrow for them, and gratitude for their, albeit unconscious, sacrifice. When hermits view everything that happens to them as originating in another higher realm, steeped in meaning, relevance and spirituality, they will quickly break the bonds of their local conditioning. Suffering will lose its dreadful countenance, injustice will shed its mask of the angry ogre, the anxieties of ignorance and fear will evaporate to the beating wings of angels like a million Monarch butterflies in flight.

“Perhaps the most accessible acceptable lifestyle for hermits without means or hermitages today is humble volunteer work, not because they think it makes any difference or for the adventure some of it offers or for heavenly merit but so as not to work selfishly, to further detachment from place, possessions and persona, and to provide a social camouflage for their inner solitude and secret hermitage. They need to keep a vow of relative silence, talking only what is work-related unless they meet like-minded hermits, there are just too many traps in idle talking. Choosing activities that conflict the least with their non-destructive, non-violent, non-egoistic principles. These are not rules; they are plain good advice. Do not trust Babylon, do not trust desires, do not trust your feelings or your thoughts. Every little indulgence, concession and mistake you pay for instantly whether you see it now or not, you will see it and you will suffer for it.

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This entry was posted on March 5, 2010 by in Hermits, Hermits & Solitude, Life Skills and tagged , , , .
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