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.
The Hermit Writings of S. are a collection of short essays on many aspects of being a hermit – self-sufficiency, hermit and the world, love, time, urban eremitism, and virtue, for example. They are straight-forward, down to earth and direct. “We cannot give up the world and then expect the world to do anything for us, or even to respect us,” he writes. The writings are posted on the Hermitary website by Meng-hu. They are presented here with no changes or edits whatsoever. the purpose is to present them to more people and in a pdf format that may be more convenient to readers.
The essays offer sound advice to novice hermits not only about the practicalities of the life (such as suggestions of where and how to live) but more importantly about some of the issues that are bound to come up as soon as the distractions of the world fall away.
“Every moment of every day is a threshold on which we teeter. The door is always before us, though not always so clearly, let alone ajar, it beckons as we totter on the doorstep. The abyss of everything we know is behind us, we can topple back into it as into an old nightmare. or we can push forward, our hope on an uncertain bliss, if we give up everything, even analogies, and accept everything, specially antipathies.”
The writings of S. are among the most important contemporary accounts of eremitism, to be kept alongside Thomas Merton for example. What makes his essays so valuable is that he is clearly writing from experience. He has walked to talk; he neither encourages nor discourages yet simply accepts that those who must live as hermits will do so and at the same time points out some of the traps and digressions likely to be encountered along the journey of solitude.