If it were done, what would it look like? Has it ever been done?
Would it be structured or anarchic? Would reclusive life be required of every member? What if a recluse started receiving visitors?
I think a hint of what I am imagining could be seen in the ashrams of Mahatma Gandhi's followers. Another hint could be seen in the Catholic monastic houses of the Middle Ages or the Buddhist monasteries of old Tibet.
Perhaps even the lodges of some Native American tribes or the old ethnic tenement neighborhoods of early 20th century America.
Ummmm... It sounds like an oxymoron... Like the humorous and contradictory thought of a hermit village. Recluse and community don’t really mix. So perhaps recluse is not quite the right word for what you have in mind.
Im a recluse. I have to force myself to be social. I hate crowds, I hate lines, I hate rules and restrictions. But I like the rules and restrictions that protect the society in which I enjoy the benefits of belonging to. I like the convenience of stores, gas stations, access to doctors and dentists and people who specialize in all sorts of trades and services. So I do my part to protect that society in which I enjoy and depend on. I wear my mask, I social distance, I do everything I can to not catch Covid and spread it to others. And as hard as I have to fight defense fatigue, I do it and don’t give up. I lost my oldest brother December 19 and 3 weeks later I lost my elderly step dad. I have to fight my own violent reactions to those who mock this pandemic (as many of us who have lost loved ones do).
Living in a large society still allows a modicum of personal autonomy. Joining a community within it makes me cringe from the thought of losing that little bit of privacy and solitude which I cling to for my own sanity. At the same time, there is conflict because I would love having like minded neighbors. So I hope I can find them via an unintentional community (which is very unlikely but possible).
I would love to have a self sufficient sustainable organic farm with like minded neighbors, who all have different skill sets to augment my own. But I don’t want meetings and politics and the increased societal responsibilities that go with an intentional community.
I suspect a community for recluses has zero appeal to recluses. Besides, a healthy community is a diverse community, it needs all sorts of people to thrive and I suspect social people are in sync with the basic nature of that beast.
Perhaps your idea is more along the lines of a place where like minded recluse neighbors live in the same general area and don’t share resources other than a neighbor borrowing something from another neighbor once in a blue moon. And there aren’t any meetings unless there is a threat or emergency, but everyone kinda has their neighbors backs, so to speak. And there are no gossip circles and the social interaction is mainly a neighborly wave as you pass by. That might be cool for those who are not picky about where they live.
Probably basing something off of the extended community/neighbor dynamic would be a good fit. This would also be as important work as any of the more self-aggrandizing, suffocating eco-villages with super high turnover. Not that we can't learn things from those too. But learning how to build extensive community translates much more broadly to a greater number of peoples' sensibilities and capabilities.
I sort of hate the term "ambivert" but I'm relenting a bit because it does somewhat describe me. I need my own space to self medicate solitude with, but I also need to be able to merge into some interaction on a minimally-expectational basis pretty much whenever I want. Good neighbors and a good local watering hole would probably suffice, but I sort of want that on steroids.
I think a major part of this would be respect for boundaries. I've noticed that that isn't always a given, especially when the person violating the boundary is convinced that they're "helping".
To complicate things further, some of us were brought up in an environment where we were made out to be monsters for even HAVING boundaries.
In purely physical terms, when I picture a community for recluses, I picture houses with lots of trees and hedges around each one, so a person can step outside and still not see or be seen by their neighbors. A commerce system that allows contactless trades, without any guilt for when you don't feel like making small talk. Areas where people can go to socialize, but with the understanding that some of them might just want to observe rather than participate.
It would be incredibly difficult to create such a place on purpose. But it's nice to dream about.