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 – there are no ‘fake’ hermits (9 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’m going to post 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”.

What To Do Now

“The truism “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” is verified again by the pathetic results of decades of aid and welfare and social experiment and technological advances and increased wealth and universal education and health care and so on and so forth. Ubiquitous and ever-entrenched crime and corruption and ignorance and disease and environmental destruction splashes dirty cold water in the face of any optimism. All this has killed any faith that good intentions, intelligence, labour, sacrifice, love and example can turn the tide, nay, it’s not even a drop in the proverbial bucket. Since the seventies no one believes in Utopias or Revolution anymore, and very few still have faith in reform. Vengeance and violence, defensive aggression and bunker-strategy are fast becoming the rule of the world.

“The only compassionate act for this world that a hermit can trust is to liberate one’s self from the selfish ignorance of the illusory ego.

“It is not that the Truth is inscrutable but that it cannot be beheld and even less comprehended by a thought-clouded mind, by a feeling-tormented body.

“What hermits must remember is that it is not the hermitage that makes the hermit but the other way around. An accomplished hermit though living through the worst hell on earth would dwell as if in heaven and would radiate good will to all.

“This is our answer to all questions, this is our purpose, motivation and guide, this is the Faith that withstands faithlessness and despair.

“For hermits there can be, or only peripherally and sporadically, no guru, no church or cult, no political party or cultural association, rarely ever even fellow hermits. Hermits are unbending individualists who struggle against all forms of arbitrary authority including their own personality and who seek liberation on all levels without compromise. They all soon discover the fact that any society can rarely, if ever, help a hermit.

“It seems as though most writers about hermits tend to brush over the darker aspects as if they feared scaring people off. Hermits are presented as though magically enlightened, superior to inner conflict by nature of being a hermit, if not they should not be hermits, they are “fake hermits” who give a bad name to the vocation.

“Most of the literature left by hermits themselves rejects this elitist attitude and regards the spirit in a libertarian light. They regard the hermit lifestyle as a dynamic that every human being can use who seeks some measure of redemption from the penitentiary of society and the limited self. How successful they are depends on many factors. But if you have even heard of the word hermit and feel, however faintly or conflicted, an attraction to the vocation and a reverence for the ideal, then you are a hermit at heart however you may appear to the critical eye.

“There is no such thing as fake or phoney hermits. It’d be like faking a quadriplegic; how and why on earth would anyone try that? No, there are hermits who’ve got stuck in a rut, or who rolled back down the mountain when it became to steep for them to climb. There are those who couldn’t get any higher than the foothills for a variety of reasons. It is to their credit that they tried, yea, that they aspired to become hermits for any reason. We must trust that they will have more success in the next incarnation, just as we all must trust that tomorrow we’ll do better than yesterday. That someday all this comparative doing will be done with and we’ll just become, just know, just be … serene hermits.

“If we can quiet the mind to practice the right Tao, we will find out that Mara grows fiercely as our Tao progresses higher hence the need to discern Mara’s true aim.”

One comment on “Words from an unknown hermit – there are no ‘fake’ hermits (9 of 10)

  1. Anna Gurol
    April 2, 2012

    I came to this website after reading Berwick’s comments on Isabel Colegate’s book on Hermits.
    Here I have learned about sailing, and learned more about the Yanomami, but also discovered a kindred spirit in Dennison’s writings against consumer culture.
    In spite of how I enjoyed these, I pray for the day when the Internet and the culture that gave birth to it breath their last, when we are once again reduced to loving ONLY our neighbors.
    The attitude that takes the death of Yanomani culture as inevitable is always disturbingly heartless. I bet those people would not be so fatalistic about the death of our own! Both seem like CHOICES, but at the same time seem out of our hands.
    Thanks Dennison:)


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This entry was posted on January 28, 2012 by in Hermits, Hermits & Solitude, Life Skills and tagged , , , , , , .
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