Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Hermit As Tourist Attraction

Applications currently being taken for the position of official hermit, to live in a cave in a Swiss gorge.

A Swiss council is looking for someone 'more outgoing' to become its official hermit - after the last one left because she didn't like the attention she was getting from visitors to her cave.

The successful applicant for the position at the cavern at the Verena Gorge, to the north of the city of Solothurn in Switzerland, will need to 'get joy out of meeting people', according to an advert posted by the local council.

They must also have a desire to tend a small garden, to 'dispense wisdom' to anyone that might pass by, and be willing to give courses in meditation three times a week.


That has always been the paradox of the religious hermit, starting in the Egyptian desert with St. Anthony. Anthony wanted to be alone with God, but he found that as his fame grew crowds of people would come to visit him and interfere with his solitude. And few of the Christian hermits were truly solitary; they usually had at least one helper to fetch food and other necessities, and to carry messages. Probably the fur trappers and long hunters of early US history were as close to being true hermits as anyone could be.


Old NFO said...

Interesting point, and they did have helpers... Reading some of the histories and papers from the early 1800s out west, some of those trappers went a year or more without seeing another human.

Bob said...

@Old NFO: and the trappers were more self-sufficient than the Christian hermits, being skilled in hunting and gathering; the Christian hermits very often lived on the charity of those among whom they lived.