Not all escape fantasies are alike.
The gregarious among us might conjure up enjoying the simple people on a South Sea island, like Marlon Brando did. That was how Brando fled the Machiavellian ethos of Hollywood.
The less social prefer to envision a hermit's existence. Frequently, that's the ongoing fantasy of lawyers and law students. But, to reveal it could mean career suicide. Or, at least a tarnished brand.
For 27 years, Christopher Knight actually pulled off a hermit's existence. It was a life of 99% solitude, on his own terms, in North Pond, Maine. His human interaction was limited to about less than 20 words. He read, thought deeply, and meditated.
The only aspect of that lifestyle choice Knight regretted was that, to sustain it, he stole from others food and supplies - 40 times a year.
It was when he was pilfering from the freezer of a camp closed for winter that law enforcement caught up with him.
Local authorities had set up a complex alert system inside the camp. He had hit it way too often. That was about his only error in judgment.
During the decades before, his stealth moves had earned him a mythic reputation. And, even deep respect among law officers.
Unfortunately, they also caused terror among residents. Young children would have nightmares regarding The Hermit Man. The adults were enraged that their privacy was being violated when they were away during the week from their Maine vacation cabins.
Knight's amazing saga is told by journalist Michael Finkel in the 2017 book "The Stranger in the Woods." Obviously, it is resonating with a lot of folks. The book is 3,539 on Amazon. Here you can order it.
What's as fascinating as the story is the research Finkel has done about human beings who crave solitude. While some might consider Knight as crazy, actually he is a type - and not such an unusual one.
On page 69, Finkel writes:
"One's desire to be alone, biologists have found, is partially genetic and to some degree measurable. If you have low levels of ... oxytocin ... and high quantities of ... vasopressin, which may suppress your need for affection, you tend to require fewer interpersonal relationships."
In a sense, Finkel gives "permission" to the less social or asocial (and perhaps asexual) to just be.
Given that permission, they can arrange their lifestyle on their terms. Likely, because they finally understand who they are and their need for solitude they will not have to go to the extreme of becoming a hermit. No, there will be no need to escape.
As those who travel know, many foreigners comment on Americans' extreme need to socialize.
No fools, parents, teachers, mentors, and even therapists sense they have the obligation to push youth to be more social.
The 12-step programs have so many meetings because of its contention that being alone with one's thoughts can be a negative state of being.
Many management experts believe that open-space office design increases the flow of good ideas. Some law offices have adopted that architecture.
Fortunately, books such as "Quiet" about the power of introverts in an world valuing hyper-interaction already have begun to allow human beings to stop taking on the protective coloring of Man The Social Animal.
Otherwise, you could find yourself forced to "escape." Such extreme action shouldn't be necessary. Too many lawyers escape through self-destructive actions, ranging from stealing clients' funds to distributing child porn.
Although the court system was kind to Knight, he still was doomed to live in society. He confided to Finkel that he was working out his long-term plan for suicide. Since it was long-term, the system couldn't stop him. Sadly, in a few years, there might be a media notice that Knight aka The Hermit Man took his own life.
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