Life According to Amish/Mennonites

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Mark UX, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Mark UX Registered Member

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    I have opened a thread time ago, entitled “Disappointment about our own species”, which has triggered a wave of very good opinions about the topic. Trying to open its sequel, motivated me to open this thread, where my motivation is to reflect about what would the best way of living in a realistic sustainable way in our planet.

    Thinking about it, I think I realized that Amish/Mennonites are the more closer group of humans, living in a way I consider an example for the rest of us. Yes, you can take out of the equation religion (if you want), I am explicitly focusing on the way they produce and consume, without needing anything else.

    In my opinion, if future societies live like Amish/Mennonites, our planet would be a much more sustainable place to live.

    Amish/Mennonites:

    1. Produce what they consume.
    2. Do not commercialize (or over-commercialize) what they produce.
    3. There is beauty in their ease of live.

    Can you imagine for a moment (without bringing the religious part of it), what the world would become, if all of us adopt such life style? Also, how many of you… would be able to left being your techno-driven lifestyle for a way of living similar to Amish people, if this would make a better planet to live for all of us?
     
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  3. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    Can you envision the Amish/Mennonites way of life supporting a population of 320 million just in the US? Or over 7 billion world wide?
     
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    NO
     
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    That's a false dichotomy. Many Amish, for example, use solar power.
     
  8. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

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    that really depends on what version of Mennonite you are specifically referring to:
    Amish? -NO
    Mennonite? yes... there are various divisions of Mennonite
    Most Mennonite live typical American lives. Some are far more restrictive in their belief (like the Amish), some are very progressive except when you view certain church practices

    around here, the only thing that sets them apart are the women's dress and appearance and their (typical here) incredible generosity
     
  9. Oystein Registered Senior Member

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    I admire the Amish' lifestyle (without the religion, of course), but I don't want to live that way myself. I may be wrong about this but I don't believe they proselytize at all -- which is another thing I admire about them. They also are never a burden on governments, they are non-violent, and don't contribute to global-warming. But I have done no research of my own so anyone that can refute what I think, please educate me.

    I wouldn't mind if most of the earth was made up of Amish-style living as long as there are cities for me to live in.

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    I realize this would probably require a world population of 1 billion or less.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  10. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    3,159
    [QUOTE="

    In my opinion, if future societies live like Amish/Mennonites, our planet would be a much more sustainable place to live.

    Amish/Mennonites:

    1. Produce what they consume.
    2. Do not commercialize (or over-commercialize) what they produce.… would be able to left being your techno-driven lifestyle for a way of living similar to Amish people, if this would make a better planet to live for all of us?[/QUOTE]
    I suppose among Amish there is a closer following of Jesus teaching . Pride and greed is not as important as among us , Help come from the community not of government dependence . Help thy fellow men is their model.
     
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  11. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    This idea works fine until a foreign power invades rural Pennsylvania.
     
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes the Amish do depend upon the larger society to protect them; but they also supply it with many who become part of that larger society. I.e. normally a young Amish adult when about 18 years old will go live and work for a year in the larger society. It is a large part of their form of population control - only about half come back to the Amish way of life. Those that do understand the beauty of its simplicity and value of their direct connection with nature. Those that permanently join the larger society don't see how pointless* a life of writing and filing papers or making "widgets" for sale is.**

    * And ultimately unsustainable on a planet with finite / limited resources they can consume.
    ** For my self, the life-long task that satisfies is continuous education and hopefully a by-product is a nice income, using the knowledge you acquire. I don't want the Amish way of life for myself - too small a value is placed on gaining knowledge in many fields.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
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  13. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

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    Oystein
    not that i've ever seen, but i've never met all Amish, either. it isn't typically done with most Mennonite/Anabaptist divisions that i am aware of, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen at all... like all religions, there are always differences of opinion because there are individuals who interpret things differently

    some Amish raise cattle...just because they don't drive petrol-vehicles (except in Rumspringe) doesn't mean there is no contribution. Some Amish also have generators to produce electricity (fuel + combustion engines). this isn't typical of all divisions of Amish, but it can be found.

    Amish have multiple divisions in their belief - they're the more strict of the Mennonite (a coined moniker of the followers of Menno Simons of the Anabaptist beliefs.)

    timojin
    This might apply to Amish, but not all Mennonite (Anabaptist)
    it really depends on the faction and the local leadership ... that also applies to the techno part, as there are plenty of high tech Mennonite congregations around here, including a few who are IT specialists
     
  14. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    The Amish have rejected the technology that allows us to produce enough food for exploding human populations elsewhere. That is precisely why their way of life rests on a precarious and unsustainable foundation rooted in nothing other than an aversion to anything resembling change. Ultimately, this cannot possibly work. They will be overrun and overwhelmed with comparative ease by societies that have long since moved much further and faster down the treacherous road that lies ahead. One day, if they are fortunate, they may be remembered fondly and perhaps nostalgically as an anachronistic backwater of society and culture.
     
  15. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

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    Billy
    Rumspringe... this is the event in youth (adolescence) in some Amish communities which allows them to experience the world... this is before they accept baptism into the Amish faith: the way of life you refer to above. I don't think the numbers are that high, though.

    there is a similar connection to nature in other Anabaptist congregations that allow for continued education and experience...
    danshawen
    Unfortunate, but absolutely true
    and pretty well known and accepted by most Amish around here...
    not so much accepted by the other congregations of Anabaptist/Mennonite, though... some are very progressive... but definitely [applies to] Amish versions IMHO
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Do you have any supporting data for this POV? As I understand it the Amish, unlike most Americas have greater than replenishment birth rates, and don't sell their land - not for many generations at least.
     
  17. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

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    looking for hard data...
    i am really not sure that i can get a lot of physical data without appealing to state specific records or the census... but i will continue to look

    my wife attended a local Mennonite church and we live near a lot of Amish communities (as well as various Mennonite congregations). So i interact with various different congregations of Anabaptist's regularly. I also studied a little history re: Anabaptist movement and the fragmentation in the US into various divisions, from the various conservative Amish congregations (who worship in local homes instead of churches and isolate themselves from the world and "Englisher" influences - that means anyone not Amish) to a lot of progressive Mennonite congregations...
    my cabin i live in was built by a Mennonite family (in business here) who's membership contains a few IT techs and business consultants as well as a Doctor (MD) and a few nurses (LPN and RN)... so most of my info comes from interacting with them regularly, really

    you can learn some about them in wiki
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabaptists
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mennonite

    but if you are seriously interested, i suggest reading a little about their history, persecution and movement to the US. some of those references on wiki are really good books (historically speaking)

    from what i've seen and know, this is true.
    But when a family "dies out" (so to speak) and leaves no heir, it can also be transferred to a rising couple or to the church leadership. Some leave this provision in a written will per the church law and leadership.
    again, this may be different in other areas, but around here it is pretty much done like that (as you & i note above)

    also:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumspringa

    although the text says the majority "choose baptism and remain in the church", this is not substantiated by numbers in the wiki link

    also note: this is subjective to the other influences around them as well... in our area, there are a lot leaving to be in the "world"... but in the larger communities north of here, most stay in the Church. i guess, IMHO, that a lot will depend upon their influences in Rumspringe and the location of the congregations
     
  18. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

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    another point about this: [for Amish conservative congregations]
    one of the reasons a lot of those who return to the church choose to return (at least, from my personal interactions with them) is because of the lack of education provided by the religion which doesn't allow them to actually find a comfortable place in modern society. their education level typically doesn't rise above freshman high school, and rarely gets that high. Their entire education system [again, conservative Amish congregations only] tend to focus around work, historical and biblical religious text concerning their own religion and congregation, basic math and focus upon not having "ties to the world" ... very, very basic education!
    that may not mean electricity, as that can be produced at home with a generator... but it means not having a bill to a local authority to provide to the home. Same with a car: it is regulated by the state/federal gov't and thus it is a "tie to the world"

    this doesn't apply to more liberal Mennonite congregations as i note above
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think "ease of life" is all that accurate, for those unaccustomed to physical labor.

    You ever actually dig an outhouse pit using a shovel? Plow behind horse? Wash clothes with a stick and a couple of tubs filled from a hand pumped well?

    For those used to putting physical effort into a job, there is an ease to working on one's own place at one's own pace for one's own satisfaction and benefit. But those not so accustomed I think may be underestimating both the physical and mental effort required to, say, dig a hole with a shovel, or weed and water a garden big enough to feed four people over a winter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
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  20. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

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    this is a very good point... in fact, these things can be a serious challenge to those who are accustomed to physical labor.
     
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I would emigrate to another planet before I'd live in a pre-industrial civilization.

    The only reason the Amish survive is that they are simply not true to their so-called "beliefs." Women are held to a higher standard, without the use of modern appliances for cooking and cleaning, but the men get to have tractors and electrical tools.

    As far as I'm concerned, Amish men are sexist pigs who don't deserve to live in this country.

    As for "a better planet," if the Amish were true to their beliefs and completely eschewed industrial technology, they'd still be in the Iron Age, with 99% of the population doomed to lives as subsistence farmers, working 18-hour days during the planting, growing and harvesting seasons. And as for the 1% who rule over the farmers, you can be sure that almost all of them will be male--just like during the actual Iron Age.

    The reason the Amish appear to be so prosperous is that they're surrounded by an Industrial Era civilization that supplies them with important goods and services very cheaply, and buys their crops and tchotchkes (sheds, for example) at much higher prices than they could get by selling them to each other.
     
  22. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    Good you did not have to live quiet a few have moved away from your type to South America specially Brazil.
     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The Amish nearest me do not use tractors or electrical tools.

    And they farm somewhat more efficiently - on a total cost basis - than their neighbors.

    As do, by reputation, the Mennonites.
     

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