MODERN DAY HERMITS

cg Sachetna

If you are thinking of this as a Religious Article by seeing ‘Hermit’ then wait…

Here ‘Hermit’ is not related to religion recluse. Hermits mean people who isolate themselves from society and live in solitude for years without religious reasons. In Japan, this seclusion is termed as ‘Hikikomori’. There are millions of people with the Hikikomori condition in Japan who stay at home and don’t participate in society. This term can be used for only those hermits who continue this seclusion for 6 months or more. Hikikomori is not limited to Japan, there are cases that can be found in India, South Korea, France, United States, Oman, and Spain and many other countries.

Researchers have found that people who drop out or take time off from their studies are significantly more likely to be Hikikomori comparative to those who continue their studies. They may have various reasons behind leaving their studies such as financial difficulties, lockdown, illness, mismanagement, etc.

People with Hikikomori tend to exhibit some common traits such as low self-esteem, sense of loneliness, difficulties in fitting into a group, lack of communication skills, feeling of alienation, fear of not fulfilling other’s expectations which leads to fear of familiar faces, and suicidal thoughts. They show their emotions indirectly by expressing anger and aggression in more indirect ways, and expect others to understand their feelings. They have difficulty in becoming emotionally independent of primitive dependence and attachment to their significant others. They also feel dissatisfied in their present social relationships. People with an avoidant personality are more prone to becoming Hikikomori.

Modern Technology and Services have a big hand behind these hermits. Modern Services like the ability to shop, pay, get entertainment, and even have social interactions are available online, making the real world easily avoidable. These services enable them to execute their seclusionary behavior from society more comfortably. Also, rewards, likes, and success in games and virtual life boost their dopamine allowing them to be content and holds them in that unrealistic world keeping them away from the real world. This condition can be seen in many adolescents and people in early adulthood.

In the present scenario, for precaution from COVID-19 we all are maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowds or social gatherings of more than 50 people, preferring to do work from home, avoiding to go out unnecessarily, while schools and institutes are closed as per the government guidelines. In this pandemic situation, the Risk of developing the Hikikomori condition is high.

The Hikikomori condition requires dynamic intercession rather than a passive attitude stating that it is just a way of life. Some steps that can be taken to come out of Hikikomori are staying connected with people through video calls, online group discussion, improving communication skills, dealing with expectations, developing a sense of belongingness to society, managing fears by improving reasoning skills. Live more in the real world compared to the virtual world, participate in the work of community and developed skills to face challenges.

Avoid Hikikomori and being Modern Day Hermits.