From a review of Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson:

[H]ermits are the true radicals of our age. To retreat is to reject government bureaucracy and consumerism. Whereas those who dynamite the citadel need the citadel, the recluse simply opts out: “A repast of grilled fish and blueberries gathered in the forest is more anti-statist than a protest demonstration bristling with black flags.” Yes, the hermit may be slow and woolly-minded but he “gains in poetry what is lost in agility”.

It’s a similar stance to the one we adopt in our eighth issue, Staying In.

Why do it? To fulfil a seven-year-old dream of going to ground in a forest. To surround himself in silence. To escape ugliness, traffic and the telephone. To catch up on his reading. To see if immobility can bring the peace that travel used to. To sample an existence reduced to bare essentials. To become a hermit and find out whether he has an inner life.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at wringham.co.uk

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