The wise have one foot in insanity, and the sane have one foot in the grave.
The hermit can be considered strongly individualistic. They tend to develop serious aberrations as well, unless they went into hermitage with a discipline, with a focus, a reason why.
Do Americans have this purpose for isolation? The wife beater likes to keep his activities very quiet, the child molester too, the hypocritical clergyman. But as a culture do we have a purpose for isolation? How many American monks are there? There are some, but it’s not a very popular way of life here, and that’s too bad. Monks don’t bother with telling people they’re going to hell. They are just very focused on their relationship with God, understanding and preserving wisdom, and monks in other cultures are supported by the people as they are seen to be doing the work for all of them.
I expect Americans are too wary of cults to generally support monks? I would disagree. They are not wary enough of cults, thus we have Sharpton being very public (whoever now represents that nation of Islam). We just have bigger cults, and they like having their hands in the political pie.
The origin of the word cult is cultos, pertaining to a body of practices. It is having a protocol that’s observed for whatever purpose. In the long run usually for indoctrination. If you say “I believe”, you are speaking of your creed. If you say “I go to church”, you are speaking of your cult. These are rather literal terms. In my experience, the majority of the members of the organized faiths are very much cultists and little concerned with creed.
Martin Luther King wasn’t a cultist, neither was Malcolm X later in his career, nor was Gandhi. They were men of belief. They even had faiths and weren’t so concerned with cults. Taking adherence to a body of practices. That is membership in a cult. King was advancing a message, in a sense a creed. It wasn’t about cult.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.