The article deals with rejections of the mainstream society and subsequent foundations of alternative societies: monasticism, countercultural communities, utopias... The hypothesis is that all these counterfoundations share a common concern for a social life entirely controlled by human will (in alternative societies of religious kind, human will is intended to follow the instructions of divine will). A case study is analyzed: Catholic eremitism in contemporary Italy, with particular regard to ascetic practices, such as solitude and fast. These experiments of rejection of the world achieve only limited success, because of the overwhelming cognitive effort they demand. Such experiences help to understand how much of the normal social life passes unnoticed.