Poverty is deprivation of material necessities (food, clothing, shelter), but a cultural or spiritual poverty also exists: deprivation of self-expression, autonomy, self-development. Historical hermits from Asia to the European forests have always been willing to cope with material poverty, setting themselves physically outside the zones of power and authority centered in cities. The corollary poverty of soul and person has been the more urgent concern. The poor in the world suffer deprivation of self the more keenly because of abuse, manipulation, and control by authority and power. But the better off suffer spiritual poverty from the same sources of authoirty and power. In urban settings or in today’s modern nation-state, the surveillance by authority makes escape to deserts and mountains less plausible to solitaries, so that fleeing into material simplicity is still not an issue. But the control of the minds and hearts of people through consumerism and various addictions of soul and mind (as well as body) is ubiquitous. This form of poverty is often not material deprivation at all. It is a poverty that leaves the individual destitute of purpose, regardless of material circumstances. The hermits of the past knew that it was essential to flee spiritual deprivation even at the price of material poverty.