My Motives For Asceticism In the Modern Age (And a Poem)

Updated: Apr 10

A few years ago I've written a poem that explains my motives to live life more ascetically and to renounce it to an extant. For those not in the know, a few years ago I decided to become a self-described monk, abstaining from romance, sex, and the many other pleasures and unnecessities of life, not in the name of a religious deity, but in the name of strength, serenity and saving money. In other words, I am an irreligious monk, trying to live only the smaller aspects of life, such as the day-to-day chores and work, consuming entertainment as a form of rejuvenation, and resting. You won't see me socializing almost at all nor, going on dates, hanging at nightclubs, having sex, or even going abroad for tourism, and I only seldom-ly even- go to restaurants (I will probably even minimize the last activity after the quarantine will be finally over, as I found out I don't really need that either).

I am therefore a contemporary, young semi-hermit, who chase to dedicate his life to providing philosophical content and to reach a state of continuous serenity, both gained optimally from the partial abstination of the External World and its many, many unnecessities.

"But why are you doing this for yourself, Tomasio, when most of your life has yet to be experienced" You may probably ask? The reason for that will be momentarily presented in the following poem, where I take the image of a jester, heavily inspired by Diogenes, the ancient Greek philosopher, who critiques the orthodox ways of living; the endless peruse of many after ultimate happiness and mental security.


I, have ascended,

From the unnecessities,

Of our universe.

There is no glow,

So diverse,

Which can convince me,

My lifestyle to terminate and blow.

I observe the people who,

Make pyramids from sand,

Tying themselves to others with emotional glue,

And calling their love to be "true",

Going after the herd's command,

Afraid to deal with their own emptiness,

But I find it so humorous,

When I contemplate about that in my reclusiveness.

Inhale, and exhale,

The universe's, ignored hell.

My heart, is so pale,

With such, amusement.


Noises and colored lights,

Are things which without them makes people,

So afraid, so lone, with their frights.

Meaning is a subjective term,

But only few wonder and claim

Whether subjectivity is or not actually existent.

We, are, surrounded with emptiness, but we deny it,

As many of us afraid, and the rest are blind,

With their closed eyes of deep thoughts,

And continue to play with their draughts,

And never look around and beyond their projector's varied lights.

Granted, granted,

Sexuality is something so central in the human thoughts, yes, yes, indeed.

And yet, but still,

What is there beyond, beyond our mental inventions,

Which put our consciousness in cages of pure concrete and steel?

Recreation, is worthless,

Romantic adventures – a complete mess.

There is nothing, beyond what I already do,

That I crave, that I wish to woo.

Excessive activity is, a sign of anxiety,

To keep one away, from the void's immortality,

I've produced so much meaning through my creations,

But how come that a grain of meaninglessness is still intact?

In my seclusion, I have contemplated,

And above the earthly, I have ascended.

The tragic of existence, I have attended,

And now, my inner mask can be truly dead!


Life is like one-time game,

But you cannot restart and you cannot save,

And nor pause.

But why should I "carpe diem",

When I understand

That the void is something that cannot be fully overcome?

All the glamour, all the fame, all the sparks, all the heights, and all the sex and all the love,

Can't make me, can't turn me, cannot elevate me beyond the final bound of no-bound!

Granted, granted,

Happiness and joy are indeed existent, I do not disagree upon that, not at all

But they are only short-term satisfactions,

Satisfactions which are existent a certain period, and they are over and we feel like we need to provide them all in a continuous loop!

I, have no fear,

To explore, the strange and the obscure.

I am, no massesman,

To live with this void, I accept and can!


This post was practically made to create another path of thought in your minds; a path which asks: "Do I have to live life the way I've been told by socialization that I should go in?" "Do I need to spend much of my money on things that I can do well without?" "How much do I actually need in life in order to be a happy, satisfied person with good wellbeing?" "What's the point of a hedonistic lifestyle when it is but a cycle of never-ending spikes of short-term pleasures, waiting passionately for the next spike without any permanent happiness overall from life?" "Do I really need a romantic partner to be happy? Does marriage actually the path I need to go in in order to be happy? Do I need to raise kids like everyone else?" "Do I really should live life like "everyone else" wants and preaches to live?" "Does the constant stress I am in worth my regular endeavours?" "Does life needs to be structured in a sysiphus-ian way; working hard to fulfill a desire, just to see the desire for the same thing becoming present again in my mind?"

All of these questions has eventually lead me to pursue asceticism; for much of what life has to offer, doesn't necessarily worth my time and effort for me to become a person of good wellbeing. Such words has already been said before and were already proven by those who chosen either asceticism or monasticism, whether religiously or philosophically.

Specifically because life can be enjoyed with so little, hence why I reccomend you to consider applying some asceticism into your life, and see and/or better understand my own point of view emperically, but not only for that, but also to see how much unneccessities are there in our mass-consumerist world of endless cycles after "the pill of joy".

This period of forced isolation in the name of fighting back against the COVID19 virus, can especially be a suitable time to experiment with the application of a more ascetic lifestyle. Listen to the void, and see how you could find yourself within it, instead of against or attempting to run away from it.


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© 2019 Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosopher