Is hermitage good or bad?
Has the individual become a hermit through choice, or not? Is it good for the hermit, or good for the Group, or not?
Man is a Social Animal.
So shall Animals be as Man..
In Nature, what there was once of it, the lone wolf was cast out by the pack.
What combination of individual choice or external circumstance caused a wolf to become lone?
The casting out depends on the season as well as on the explicit inavailability of food. The alpha male will drive out other males whom: threaten his mating rights; will not grovel; or do not contribute adequately to the pack's hunt. The alpha female will drive out other females whom: have lost the attention of the alpha male; do not contribute adequately to the raising of the offspring or to the hunt.
There will be others whom will become lone voluntarily even though it appears that there is no apparent pressure for them to be cast out.
Given that there are Hermits, and there are Lone Wolves, and that some are Outcast, and some are Voluntary:
in Man, the Voluntary Hermit will be the individual who either:
- foresees and preempts the eventuality of the casting out
- through randomly inherent difference, seeks his chances separate from the group.
Is the Outcast Hermit lesser?
What are the evolutionary opportunities for the different options?
The voluntary hermit will have the advantage of seeking new territories while there is still adequate food locally and while there is no competition from the later hermits. The voluntary hermit has the disadvantage of enduring risk that might never have become forced upon him.
The outcast hermit has the advantage of having nothing left to lose, but at a time when there might be nothing else left to gain.
Can the voluntary hermit rejoin the Group at some future time? Yes, if conditions are suitable for him to rejoin. If the conditions are not suitable, then these are likely, but not certain, to be the conditions where he would have become an outcast in any case.
The condition of hermitage is sometimes voluntary, sometimes not.
Where it is voluntary, there is at least the option of checking if the Social Group is more beneficial.
Where it is involuntary, hermitage is a challenge, which might as well be seized as an opportunity.
That's Life, in a snail shell.