Detachment as a spiritual or philosophical state is dependent upon one’s station, what could be called an “existential context.” The ancient Chinese recluse, typically the educated official renouncing the court, was every bit attached to wife and children, with whom he entered reclusion on some distant and obscure village farm. What about the warning of the desert father about getting too attached to one’s hermit hut? Or is detachment limited only to mystics, more, to sadhus?

Emily Dickinson, the reclusive American poet, wrote that “no verse in the Bible has frightened me so much from a child as ‘from them that hath not shall be taken even that he hath.'” Is there recourse, then, even for one who is completely “detached”?