Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J R Soc Med. 2012 Dec;105(12):523-9. doi: 10.1258/jrsm.2012.120060.

Taking refuge from modernity: 21st century hermits.

Author information

1
King's College London, Department of Psychological Medicine, Weston Education Centre, London, UK.

Abstract

Idiopathic environmental intolerances, such as 'multiple chemical sensitivity' and 'electrosensitivity,' can drastically affect the quality of life of those affected. A proportion of severely affected patients remove themselves from modern society, to live in isolation away from the purported causal agent of their ill health. This is not a new phenomenon; reports of hermits extend back to the 3(rd) century AD. We conducted a literature review of case reports relating to ancient hermits and modern day reclusion resulting from idiopathic environmental intolerance, in order to explore whether there are similarities between these two groups and whether the symptoms of these 'illnesses of modernity' are simply a present-day way of reaching the end-point of reclusion. Whilst there were some differences between the cases, recurring themes in ancient and modern cases included: dissatisfaction with society, a compulsion to flee, reports of a constant struggle and a feeling of fighting against the establishment. The similarities which exist between the modern-day cases and the historical hermits may provide some insight into the extreme behaviours exhibited by this population. The desire to retreat from society in order to escape from harm has existed for many centuries, but in different guises.

PMID:
23288087
PMCID:
PMC3536505
DOI:
10.1258/jrsm.2012.120060
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center