Looks like all the modern day technology and social media dependency have converted solitude into an almost unattainable luxury, at least in the northern hemisphere.
In order to get some proper alone time, one should switch off a number of devices and most probably face his own fear of missing out. Interacting on social media can be particularly overwhelming and futile, and it ultimately drains the best of us. No wonder all kinds of “retreats” are in demand nowadays! And then there are the up-to-date hermits, who would socialise only on social media, because thus the interaction is on their terms and they are actually being “together alone”.
The word hermit comes into English from the French hermit / ermit (recluse), introduced from Late Latin (eremita), that stems from the Greek eremites, which literal meaning is a “person of the desert”, from the word eremia (desert, uninhabited region, solitude.)
The term hermit, to refer to a man who has retired into solitude for religious motives, was used mainly in reference to the Christian solitaries from the 3rd century on. They were differentiated from the cenobites, who while living withdrawn from the world, still were a part of a community.
The word heremite or also eremite was spotted for the first time in print circa the 12th century in the Pipe Rolls – a series of financial records concerning English governance. The next century saw the word used in The Chronicle of Britain, the Middle English poem compiled by the priest Layamon.
Since the 17th century the two spellings of the word have been differentiated in use, where hermit is the popular word and eremite (sans the etymological h) is reserved for poetic or rhetorical use only.
The word hermitage, to describe the habitation of a hermit, was firstly used only 15 years later, in 1290, in The South English Legendary (a Middle English biography of saints.)
In present days, there are still hermits – people somehow disenchanted with the civilised world, who had left society behind and had gone to live deep into the woods and up in the mountains. Some take this step as a part of the journey toward the authentic inner self discovery. Other withdraw because they feel disconnected with how society functions these days.