A recluse is someone in isolation who hides away from the attention of the public, a person who lives in solitude, i.e. seclusion from intercourse with the world. The word is from the Latin recludere, which means "shut up" or "sequester".

A person may become a recluse for many reasons: a celebrity may seek to escape the attentions of his or her fans; a misanthrope may be unable to tolerate human society; a survivalist may be practicing self-sufficiency; and a criminal might hide away from people to avoid detection by police. It can also be due to psychological reasons, like: apathy, an autism spectrum disorder, a phobia, schizoid personality type, or due to avoidant personality disorder. A recluse can also be considered as a loner.

It should be noted that this practice may not be voluntary as one may become a recluse due to illness. Some may become a recluse due to a physical deformity that makes their outward appearance unsettling to others. A person may also become a recluse for religious reasons, in which case he or she is usually referred to as a hermit or an anchorite.

Reclusiveness does not necessarily connote geographical isolation. A recluse may live in a crowded city, but infrequently leave the security of his or her home. However, isolated and sparsely populated US states (e.g., Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska) often harbor recluses, who are often seeking complete escape from civilization.

In Japan, an estimated 1.2 million people suffer from psychological problems which cause reclusive behavior. The phenomenon of "Hikikomori" or "social withdrawal" has become a major problem, often blamed on Japan's education system and social pressure to succeed.

Famous Recluses

The following is a list of famous individuals who have disappeared from the public eye for a lengthy period of time, or have continually lived a reclusive lifestyle.

See also


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