I spent most of my life being disgusted by the frivolity of most people's desires and qualms, and for this reason, I feel I deeply understand why Chris Knight did what he did. No reason, no justification, no particular aim, just life.
While I still catch myself wishing for such a life, I realized I could not blame or reject what I do not actively participate in. Furthermore, I came to the conclusion, possibly wrongly, that a life worth living is a life worth sharing, that society will always be able to offer you more than you can offer it.
I now believe that the solution is not to reject society, nor be tied by its requirements or norms, but rather behave as a free agent, with independence, compassion and mental fortitude.
Law, Economy, Politics, Religion, Science, Technology, ... are, in my opinion, mere relics and artifacts of thousands of years of civilization, localized attempts at guiding the seemingly mis-guided, while becoming eventually meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
These civilized relics are not necessarily bad, but as with anything else attachment becomes the issue. While becoming a hermit is possibly the quickest way of severing those ties, attachment is the burden of the mind, not of society at large. Isolation diminishes, or even wipes attachment issues altogether, but it does not resolve them.
This might come across as preachy, though it certainly isn't my intention, I simply wanted to share my view with anybody who, like I used to, wishes for isolation as a remedy.
The only thing that would really concern me is lack of quick and easy access to modern medicine. Say you're foraging for food and you trip over a tree branch and break your ankle. What then?
The food chain shifts and shimmies a little bit as the opportunity presents itself, but nature pretty much carries on as is.
My favorite line from the show: "What do I do for a living? I live for a living."
Interestingly, Kaczynski is alive and does send and receive mail. One curious enough could ask his perspective.
This part resonated a lot to me. I consider self-awareness one of my qualities. But I too feel like the more I try and understand myself, the more distanced of the world I am. If I micro-analyze every reaction I have, I miss the point to connect to another person. I take myself out of society.
I found out that being defined by another person is a good thing for me. Particurlaly by people I love. I want to naturally be the person that made people I love love me.
"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
- Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
as I went Googling. Excellent quote!
And i don't think this loss of self comes from self introspection, but more from long solitude(which tends to break the psych construct we call ego).
And no wonder he like solitude so strongly - he didn't find happiness among humans before. Hopefully after he get released , he can find some way to make a living while having the ability to live mostly alone and in nature.
Edward Abbey wrote about his experiences doing exactly this in Desert Solitaire.
-- Ed Abbey, Desert Solitaire
Sorry, at least in Indian mythology the "ascetic" is idolized and glorified (they exhibited superpowers through their isolated meditation). In what way is this "managing those risks"?
Leaving mythology aside, different spiritual traditions strive towards different goals.
Sikhism rejects outward asceticism...
"Asceticism doesn't lie in the earring, nor in the shaven head, nor blowing a conch. Asceticism lies in remaining pure amidst impurities."
Buddhism advocates a middle way, and is against too much asceticism as well as too much hedonism and in mahayana a vow working to benefit others...
Hinduism is a very mixed bag. A one of the most popular ideals involves working towards outcome in a non-attached way...
Jainism probably has the most ascetic spiritual ideal among the indian traditions.
It was a really interesting and valuable experience and I highly recommend it for anyone. In case you're interested, you can find out more here: http://dhamma.org
Said that, I think it is more rooted in my own personality. I have good social skills, but I consider myself an introspective person. I always liked the silence, I don't care about small talk, I enjoy eating by myself, thinking for hours alone, etc. So my personality would be in opposition to the brazilian culture in general, in this sense. So I could see how our culture can be inapropiate some times. But after a time, I decided that there was more happiness in being part of a society than in being totally focused on myself. That dichotomy that is not obvious at first and me and the Hermit arrived at a similar conclusion. The diference is that he is happier opting out of society and I am happier opting in. Not that I betray my nature. I still enjoy a lot my moments alone. But I learned to see the value in connecting with another person, in developing empathy, not just self-awareness.
Except he defined himself as someone who doesn't need to define himself.
One can never be free from definitions.
Precisely my point. True freedom is never is a reaction to something.
I like Jiddu K's take on freedom
So for a while, perhaps he was free from definitions.
Interestingly, the journalist has an upcoming movie where he's played by Jonah Hill. A fugitive murderer had used his name as an alias and through that, he'd developed a relationship with him and interviewed him after the person was convicted.
This resonates very strongly with me personally. So much so, I traveled to Alaska and hiked into "The Magic Bus" of Chris McCandless/Into The Wild fame . From there, I spent 2 years driving to Argentina, sleeping out in my tent as often as possible. I'd often go a week without seeing or talking to another person, two weeks when I found somewhere remote enough.
Since then I've moved to the Yukon, where I've met some very interesting characters. One guy, in Dawson City, lives in a cave across the Yukon River from town. He has a second cave full of chickens, and he sells the eggs in town to make enough money to pay for food/beer. He boats across the river in summer and walks across the river for 7 months of the year.
I once again feel the pull, and I'm heavily planning my next trip - 2 years around Africa, hopefully getting as remote as possible. With luck, that will lead into a 2 year Europe->SE Asia trip, once again camping and hiking as much as possible.
I always find it interesting when people say that. When you pass a man in a suit in the street, mostly see an office worker. When you pass a kid in a baggy old hoody and a haze of weed smoke, you write them off as just another PHD student.
That sentence, that when you are homeless, people don't see you - what it make me think is more that these people refuse to see themselves as homeless bums. They are still who ever they were before they became homeless. They have parents, maybe children, maybe even a job that they still identify with.
There are people I work with who, honestly, I couldn't tell you whether they have children, or a single fact about them except that they can sign QA documents. I suspect they would say the same about me. We don't feel invisible because we are able to accept what the other person sees in us - being a generic office worker is an acceptable part of our identity.
Often, when someone says people don't really see them, it means that what people see in them is not something they want people to see. However much truth there is to it.
Plenty of people, high population density, enjoy that don't do a McCandless!!!
Granted, they weren't alone (it was a family), but they truly lived a hermit's existence, even when they were discovered by geologists.
The moon was the minute hand,
the seasons the hour hand.
Or write a book, invest, live on interest in the woods.
He wouldn't really like having to write, but he admires good writing, and if it would grant contentment...
See also, coding in the woods
Many people escape the busy life and it works for them. Plenty of them blog about it. Martha from Canada: "I fondly remember an old friend saying that he would never live in a place that had a traffic report." Her latest blog posts are a selection process for which chickens get put on the chopping block. Others write about getting new wood stoves, or photographing piles of wood they chopped for the winter. No one blogs about burglarizing cabins.
"He'd fled the modern world only to live off the fat of it."
Among the items: metal bedframe, toilet paper and hand sanitizer, laundry detergent and shampoo, Coleman two-burner stove connected to propane tanks, deodorant, disposable razors, flashlights, snow boots, spices, mousetraps, spray paint, and electrical tape, pillows, three different types of thermometers (digital, mercury, spring-loaded), watches, radios and earphones (conservative talk radio, Everybody Loves Raymond, Who, AC/DC, Judas Priest, and Lynyrd Skynyrd), handheld video games (Pokémon, Tetris, Dig Dug), hundreds of books and magazines.
The author of this has written a number of other spellbinding articles: http://www.gq.com/contributors/michael-finkel
From the description of his book "True Story":
In 2002, Finkel, a rising star at the Times, was fired
for fabricating a character in a story about child
laborers in Africa
I also just finished listening to the latest "Hardcore History" podcast regarding WWI. Holy shit, what crazy things humans have done/experienced.
To wander the woods all day, read when you want,
To be free of all connections, to not even need a name.
There is something to it.
Oh ..and Rudyard Kipling ... wonderful.
An Island to Oneself
More info on Tom Neale:-
Ordinary People As Monks & Mystics: Lifestyles for Spiritual Wholeness by Marsha Sinetar
Fugue? Small scale stroke? Or just a need to quieten the brain? Has this man had a neurological examination of any kind?
"The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics_of_journalism#Codes_of_p...
But what if "providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues" requires lying/manipulation?
"Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible." Janet Malcolm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Journalist_and_the_Murderer
Knowing that there are people to go back to is really important of course. I wonder about the rough sleepers who have no-one sometimes.