A hermit’s role is to put himself into isolation. To pass down wisdom to those that seek it, to look deep into himself and the reality around it and question it beyond all measure.

In no way at all does this require distance from people. People come to me all the time, saying you’re not a hermit- you don’t live in seclusion.

Look I maybe surrounded by people but that doesn’t mean I connect with them. I may have people greet me and I may respond as the mood takes me, because what part of the job description says I have to be an arsehole? It’s like that old Zen tale. But for some reason, like the long flowing beard and lack of personal hygiene, people seem to think it’s a part of the job.

I carry a lantern though. It’s useful for making shadow puppets to scare people.

I’ve withdrawn from the world. People around me change and fluctuate to their own patterns and I take no part in this. I give advice when people come to me and ask for it. I give them wisdom for their own personal quests, no matter how strange. I spend the vast part of my time in self-reflection, mirror of the environment around me. I touch no one and no one touches me.

I see and know myself. Satisfying and simple existence.

I don’t know how you get by. I came out of seclusion once, for a woman. It was so damn cold out. Climbing down from that pole was an intense experience but pretty soon was I ready to go back.

You think I’m mad because I’ve driven myself to seclusion. I think the rest of the world is mad. How people can deal with the lies spoken between others, the blind trust you have to put into others, the fact that in the end most of the time I was no better off, down on the ground then I was on my pole. The vast majority of the conversations were empty. No difference to the meaningless words I traded with people on my pole. At least there I could walk away.

You create hermits all the time. I’m just one of the polite ones.

This is a partial work of fiction. I do actually have a beard.