People choose to spend their lives as hermits because they think it will make them happy.
The hermit pulls away from the world. Thinking that renouncing it will also rid them of the unease that comes with it.
On the other end of the spectrum we have the hedonist, who tries to drown his unease with pleasures. He does not pull away from the world but abuses it.
It’s the most deprived that become the most indulgent. People from poor backgrounds who win on the lottery also become the most indulgent with their wealth. Not to talk about sexually deprived catholic priests. : /
Similarly, it’s the overworked, burnt-out CEO’s and other ambitious people who want to become hermits and meditate all day.
Both asceticism and hedonism are extremes, desperate ways of searching for lasting peace and happiness.
True happiness however lies in neither in denying or indulging.
It lies in awakening a heart of love and gratitude, that’s the middle way.
Where we are not clinging to the world like a hedonist does to his pleasures.
Neither are we denying the world and all its pleasures.
The only benefit asceticism affords you, and which is its true purpose, is that it offers you less distraction from the things that try to pull you away from awakening a heart of love and gratitude.