#223 – Seeking Wisdom in Extreme Solitude with Robert Kull

Photo of Bob Kull

Robert Kull, Ph.D. teaches through an online university and is author of the 2009 book, Solitutde: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes.


Years after a motorcycle accident left him with one leg, Bob Kull traveled to a remote island in the Patagonia wilderness with supplies to live completely alone for a year. He sought to explore the effects of deep solitude on the body and mind and to find answers to the spiritual questions that had plagued him his entire life. With only a cat and his thoughts as companions, he wrestled with inner storms while the wild forces of nature raged around him. The physical challenges were immense, but the struggles of mind and spirit pushed him to the limits of human endurance.

Dr. Kull has spent years wandering North and South America, working as a scuba instructor, wilderness guide, construction worker, dishwasher, truck driver, bartender, painter, firefighter, and professor. He began undergraduate studies at age forty and now holds a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia.

He lives in Vancouver. You can visit him online at http://www.bobkull.org.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Michael
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Dr. Dave:

    Your conversation with Robert Kull covered such a rich spectrum of topics that you should probably have him on again. I enjoyed his unpretentious approach to spirituality. Clearly, instead of watching himself being “spiritual” and claiming to have answers, he is a man who has continuously challenged his assumptions.

    His discussion of fear could probably evolve into a separate episode. But what I enjoyed most was his point about the Western corruption of “enlightenment” as a “destination” or goal. Based on my reading of some Eastern philosophy, I can agree wholeheartedly. At this point, much of what has been written in the West about Eastern thought has devolved to “Zen and the Art of ___________” books. It’s refreshing to see someone who does not commit to or elevate any one system by prostituting it for commercial gain.

    Robert Kull spoke from experience; his intimate doubts resonated in his observations. He emerged from this interview as a humble man who’s never stopped learning how to ask questions.

    Way to go, Dr. Dave! This was an excellent installment of your show.

  2. PhilB
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Best episode I’ve heard so far Dr. Dave, so thank you … and Robert Kull.

    I’m sure you have a large Aussie audience, but being new to your podcast site I’m yet to find other like minded individuals.

    I’d love to be connected up with some locals, so if you can suggest anything I’d appreciate it.


  3. Brad
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I loved this episode as well. It spurred me to visit Dr. Kull\’s website and read the Canadian Geographic article. I see that he has a book available on Amazon as well. I agree with the earlier reviewer who expressed admiration for Dr. Kull\’s willingness to be with his fear and anxiety and see what happens on the other side. Thanks, Dr. Dave, and Dr. Bob!

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