Hikikomori: The Hermit as Idolator

Statistics certainly suggest that there’s an underemployment crisis among young people in the United States: The Economic Policy Institute put that rate among recent college graduates at 12.6 percent. Some researchers have suggested that recreational computer use — including increasingly life-consuming video games — accounts for somewhere between 23 and 46 percent of the decrease in young men’s participation in the labor force. (Others regard that finding with skepticism.) One could convincingly argue that NEETdom is a logical response to the fact that the average college graduate in 2016 came out of school about $37,172 in debt — something that may be impossible to pay off with menial labor at, say, a local fast-food place. If you’re slated for a life of crippling debt, and you can get all of your social needs met online, then why even bother working? For his part, Luca thinks: “I refuse to work for $8 at Taco Bell and be another’s lackey when I am my own god.”


In the meantime, Luca survives off the disability checks his mother — also a “home-staying person” — receives. He hopes that government will develop a treatment plan for American hikikomori as well as social programs to help support them as they transition into the working world.But for now he says that the only things he misses about normalcy is being able to buy his own cigarettes and the panoply of lottery tickets he used to stare at while the cashier rang up his smokes. He’s desperate for companionship, but he says he would rather die homeless than end up serving hamburgers. It’s better, he thinks, to spend his nights surfing Reddit in a Benadryl haze.

“There’s no asshole boss in my room standing at my door going, ‘Wash those walls for six hours, then you can take 15 minute break by laying in your bed,’” he told me. “It’s the opposite of a prison. It is freedom. There’s no one in here but me. I can do whatever, whenever. Going outside is a prison. But this room — this room is clarity.”​

When ‘Going Outside Is Prison’: The World of American Hikikomori
by Allie Conti

A refusal to serve others is a decision to die alone, and impoverished.

It’s also a proclamation of your own godhood… another delusion that leads to the grave.

The illusion of power, interaction, safety, and control that computers provide helps support the mental and spiritual rot that’s going on. Beautiful pleasing lies, as the effect of futility, worthlessness and death tightens its grip on the techno-hermit’s life.

Problems with extreme social withdrawal in Japanese youth first gained attention during the 1990s. This is the period when Japan endured an economic “ice age”, which prevented many young people from achieving their goals.

Many responded by hiding away to conceal the shame they felt. For some, they didn’t re-emerge. The term hikikomori (derived from the verb hiki “to withdraw” and komori “to be inside”) was coined in 1998 by Japanese psychiatrist Professor Tamaki Saito. Saito chose the term to describe the many young people he saw who didn’t fit criteria for mental health diagnosis, but were nonetheless in a state of extreme, distressing withdrawal.

Hikikomori is currently viewed as a sociocultural mental health phenomenon, rather than a distinct mental illness. Given at least 1.2% of the population (around a million people) are affected, hikikomori is a significant social and health problem. Hikikomori is also increasingly being identified in other countries. The term is now used across the world to describe anyone who fits the criteria.

Hikikomori: understanding the people who choose to live in extreme isolation
by Maki Rooksby, Hamish McLeod and Tadaaki Furuhashi

The Way of Death

I have little sympathy for people who destroy themselves because of a refusal to serve, or a fear stemming from their inability to control everything and everyone around them. Both are basically man’s inability to accept that he is not God.

However, I will grant this: the older generation has a basic refusal to permit poor people (and most young people are poor people) the opportunity to build a life, by the older generation’s use of licensing, guilds, regulations, and inflation to strip the young and poor of assets.

This can indeed lead to despair from the young who don’t understand how the system is rigged against them, and don’t know how to fight it.

But the refusal of the young to serve others pours a concrete cap on the hole they have been dumped in.

The Way of Life

In contrast, the willingness to serve, to work, to take the risk, to accept that people may judge you negatively… that is the attitude that will allow an escape from the death trap of the sterile, unproductive techno-hermit hikikomori.

If Christians learn humility, to tolerate the psychological pain of being rejected by others for unjust reasons (including the hatred of our Betters), to take the risk of failure and rejection, to be tough and patient and enduring and determined and productive, to forgive and to learn and to grow, and to reject our own evil when rightfully pointed out, we will indeed inherit the earth.

We will not need to hide in ghettos — or in our mother’s basement — terrified of reality, damned to failure and futility.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24-26 English Standard Version

There is no escape from pain.

But accepting the pain we receive from serving God and Man — from doing what is right and good, creative and productive — leads to growth and life, not fear and death.

That pain, we should take up.

Addendum: the lockdowns — which encourage poverty, isolation, fear, and retreat — exist only to serve the old and the powerful, and to further cripple and impoverish the weak, the young, and the poor.

The rise of the isolated, powerless, impoverished hermit is a price Our Aging Betters is happy to let their Inferiors pay, to better secure their own power and comfort.

Japan was the first abortion society, after all.

Remember this.

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