Life According to Amish/Mennonites

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

  1. Mark UX Registered Member

    Very interesting. Which confirms my hypothesis that you (as many others) would prefer moving to a next target (planet, place), after having killed your host (Earth): this is exactly the behaviour of a virus. Generally speaking, seems like there is no intention of reverting our actions on Earth and adopting any lifestyle (Amish as an example) that would guarrantee a sustainable life for the coming generations.

    Well gentlement, being this a science forum, I am expecting much more elaborated and profund answers.

    ... and how do you believe the iPhone/iPad you probably have in your hand is built? It feels quite nice to play with those devices at home, right? Well, an immense amount of Chinese people have to work the amount hours you mentioned above, in the conditions you mentioned above, so you can play with your device back in your living room. The difference here (in my opinion) is that a lifestyle like Amish (taking them as example), even when they have to work that much to get what we easily get in a supermarket, is done for their own survival.

    Coming back to the original topic, the Amish/Mennonites was a metaphor, just to see what I have been suspecting for long years: I call it "Comfort Bubble". Probably more than 3/4 of people on Earth live in this Comfort Bubble, where life is so easy and comfortable, that almost none of us would leave it, if that would imply a much more sustainable place to live, for ALL of us, not just a few.
    Earth is in current state because we have exceeded our survival needs, producing an immense amount of goods not needed for survival (comfort bubble), while having finite planet resources. Amish lifestyle on the other hand, is completely the opposite (while it does require more sacrifice to accomplish)
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    How did you jump to the conclusion that I would like to see our ecosystem collapse? I'm as "green" as the next Retired Hippie in my consumption habits, and I do my best to support institutions that try to reduce our impact on the planet. The birth rate has been dropping steadily since the 1980s, and it's predicted that the population will level off before the end of this century--at a level that can still be fed (with proper ecological stewardship) from the enormous swaths of farmland on the more recently-settled continents.

    Obviously our biggest environmental problem is greenhouse gases. Apparently there's a gigantic reservoir of CO2 in the glaciers and ice caps that are currently melting, so it's hard to predict the climate of the future. It will certainly support life, which means that a modest number of humans will be able to survive.
    As I said, the birth rate of our species has been falling for 30 years.
    We all blow off steam once in a while. Personally I am utterly disgusted by the reverence toward the Amish. This is partly because a friend of mine married one of them and, to his horror, found out that the private Amish person is quite different from the public one. But my disgust is primarily not for the Amish themselves, but for our attitudes toward them. As I noted in my previous post, the Amish happily take advantage of the Post-Industrial civilization that literally surrounds them, making their lives enormously easier, more comfortable and more prosperous than they would ever be on an actual "Amish planet" where no one was allowed to construct the tractors and electrical devices they use routinely.
    China, for all intents and purposes, was still in the pre-industrial Iron Age at the end of WWII. You can't drag a civilization from the Iron Age through three paradigm shifts--the Industrial Revolution, the Electronic Revolution, and the Digital Revolution (or whatever you want to call it)--in just two or three generations.

    From the first stirrings of fossil-fuel-driven industrial technology (most notably railroads) at the end of the 18th century, through the invention of electronic communication (the first public telegraph) around 1830, and into the Computer Age (which I, who work in that field, identify as the IBM 360, the first 3rd-generation mainframe) in the late 1960s was a span of almost two centuries. And this happened in a country with enormous reserves of natural resources--because no civilization had existed here before us so there was an abundance of virgin topsoil, endless forests, clean water, game and wide-open spaces--not to mention the world's largest network of rivers for transportation. China in 1948 was a much different country than the USA at the end of our Revolution. I can illustrate that assertion with two words: population density.

    The Chinese are still struggling to become a 21st-century economy. The national goal of reducing population growth is key to this, but it's a tough sell to a people who measure their wealth by counting their grandchildren.

    The Chinese people do indeed work much harder than the average American, and for much less pay, but in the bargain they have plenty of food, better homes, good medical care, TV and the internet. In less than 70 years they've made about as much social and economic progress as any country did at the dawn of the Industrial Era. They're not going to try to accelerate this because they can see what happened to countries like Afghanistan (not to mention most of Africa) that already tried it.
    As I already noted, the Amish are dependent on the external economy. There would be no such external economy on an "Amish planet."
    Uh... there is still a Third World where the vast majority of the population live in poverty, squalor and ignorance. This covers most of Africa, much of southern and central Asia, and quite a bit of Latin America. In fact it's so large and so close that most of us can't ignore it consistently, and many of us can't push it into the back of our minds for more than a week. Your "comfort bubble" is more fragile and much smaller than you seem to think. I can name entire countries in which only the ruling class feels comfortable.

    As I've pointed out before, to those of us who were more-or-less grown-up a decade or two after the end of WWII, it is a gigantic shock to see Germany and Austria taking in the Syrian refugees. Humanity is clearly developing a conscience.
    And we have slowly come to realize this. The fact that modern comforts and recreations are primarily electronic and require very little use of non-renewable resources points to a future more in tune with the ecosystem. The attenuating population bubble carries the same promise.
    I don't know where you live, but here in northern Maryland we see Amish people all the time. They drive their gasoline-powered trucks down from Pennsylvania, full of metal sheds (that they built with their electric tools) which they sell to the non-Amish. They also sell their crops at our farmer's markets, at much higher prices than they could get back home.

    Please cease your fraudulent diatribe about a people you apparently you know only from reading. They simply are not like that.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
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  5. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    Feel free to join an amish community if thats what you think is best. Walk the walk for a year and come back and tell us all about how great it is. Dont want to be amish? fine. Heres another:,_Virginia

    I grew up on a farm and know how much work it is. I dont think it is my mission in life to work my fingers to the bone to survive, so you will feel better about people.
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  7. Truck Captain Stumpy The Right Honourable Reverend Truck Captain Valued Senior Member

    that in no way constitutes proof or evidence that someone would rather be a parasitic drain on an ecosystem. It is anopinion of choice likely based solely upon comfort and culture. Amish lifestyle is more about culture and training than choice, per say. almost like a cult, it's membership is based upon a rigourous training and induction process to the congregation, normally started in childhood. Even with Rumspringe and experiencing the world, note that the Amish congregations of the Anabaptist/Mennonite tend to limit education, culturally and religiously indoctrinate from birth and create a lifestyle and habits through training from birth.

    I would speculate that very, very few people "choose" to become Amish later in life... unless, of course, that person also has a limited education and was reared in a similar fashion, working hard daily with rare exception of rest.
    this is dependent upon the congregation of Amish. Some Amish use technology, some refuse to accept even tractors. it is all dependent upon who is leading the congregation and the congregation beliefs. Like other Anabaptist/Mennonite, there is often a very huge difference between congregations regardless of distance or time separating them...
    another point that is similar - you said:
    this is absolutely NOT true
    normally when any technology is accepted, it is likely based upon a few separate rules, starting with: "does it tie them to the world"?
    this simple question is widely interpreted and has many different definitions in the various Amish and related Mennonite congregations.
    For instance: some view electricity as a tie to the world, period.
    Others state that it is only a "tie" when there is a constant bill that can force the user to be tied to a government or "Englisher" company, local or otherwise. So it is OK to have electricity as long as you make it yourself (via different methods from Solar panels and batteries to generators).

    When a congregation starts accepting more modern tools, this is usually about subsistence (farming) and that kind of thing, however, it is also about getting work done. so it can be acceptable to have modern kitchen tools depending upon the congregation. This is especially true if the women's groups gathered together to produce large amounts of prepared food for "Englishers" to partake. You can also see modern tool use in Quilting as well as other things of that sort.
    This is NOT to say that all Amish who prepare food/quilt use modern tools, but you can see it being done. If you question this, simply visit Branson, Missouri (the area is surrounded by numerous Amish communities) and observe the food preparation and quilting first hand through various stores in the area that sell Amish goods.

    They are a very secretive people, mostly due to past persecution, but also because of the constraints of religion... i can't speak for your experience, but were they true Amish or simply a modern off-shoot? Were they true Mennonite/Anabaptist?

    I am curious about your experiences... feel free to expound. I would really like to hear more (you can use PM if you wish)
  8. Truck Captain Stumpy The Right Honourable Reverend Truck Captain Valued Senior Member

    are you sure they're Amish? (do they wear buttons?)
    or are they more progressive Mennonite congregations?
    Around here there are a lot of Mennonite and Amish congregations as well... perhaps not as many as Pennsylvania, but definitely a whole slew of them... and the Mennonite progressives tend to be the electric tool using shed builders selling to the public or using modern tools, etc ... dress and appearance is similar, but will include buttons, etc

    my biggest suspicion is the whole "drive their gas powered trucks" thing... from what i've seen and experienced around here, Amish don't drive at all. Not that they can't ride, mind you... but they can't own a vehicle or drive one with a license that requires a picture. This is not the case for progressive Mennonite congregations...

    Also note: sometimes Mennonite congregations will build and live near Amish communities (like around here) to piggy-back each others work for commercial reasons. Like you point out, they will provide the "trucks and transportation" for the Amish goods (along with "Englisher" interface and businesses) to capitalize on Amish made goods and create or supply a market. You can see this in On-Line (catalogs) like Lehmans.

    I would be suspicious of anyone claiming to be Amish but owning/driving a truck, IMHO

    [EDIT: one of the easiest methods to tell Amish from Mennonite progressives is thus:
    do the men wear colours other than plain colours (wife told me they wear colours, but usually dark / plain colours)?
    do they (any-M/F) wear buttons?
    do they have mustaches?
    do they drive vehicles and have a license?
    do they have pictures of themselves? (like on the license or ID) or allow pics to be taken?
    do they use any kind of makeup (non-Rumspringe) or enhancement, like perfume, cologne, aftershave?
    If YES to any of these, they're most likely Mennonite progressives, not Amish ]
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I don't think this expresses any clear idea of how most people on this planet live.

    Around me, Amish farms are recognizable by the absence of electrical service to the buildings and the presence of draft animals for power and transport.

    No tractors, no trucks, no electrical tools.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Most of my relatives are Mennonites. I defy you to distinguish any of them from the general population.
  11. Truck Captain Stumpy The Right Honourable Reverend Truck Captain Valued Senior Member

    1- i didn't make a claim about Mennonites in the general population (please re-read: thanks)
    2- i also have plenty of family in Mennonite congregations (as well as live around/interact witha LOT of them)
    3- the point was to distinguish Amish from more progressive Mennonites, not Mennonites from Baptists (or Presbyterian, or Muslim, etc etc etc)
    All Mennonites are Anabaptist (see links on pg 1), and all Amish are Anabaptist concentrating on special interpretations of the bible as well as segregating themselves from the "englisher" and the "world" to concentrate on their relationship with god. Amish are simply very conservative congregations of Mennonite/Anabaptists that, when paired or around a more progressive Mennonite or the general public, stick out like a sore thumb (speaking in simile)
  12. Mark UX Registered Member

    I agree with you. Sadly, and reading latest post, it seems I have been misunderstood. I have nothing among Amish people nor I am defending them (or their lifestyle), I just took them as an example of what would be (read... hypothetically) to live life regarding their way of produce and consume: nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with the fact that they are good or bad, if they use or not resources from the external society, etc. And moreover, nothing to do with emotions....but some post became quite emotional, for my tastes.

    My only intention here, is to envision what would be the best way of break our current way of producing/consuming in our planet, and taking examples from different groups (Amish, was an example)

    Yep, I can understand that. My vision regarding this is a bit more global, not necessarily focusing on what would be best of me as an individual, but for the entire human race.
  13. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    Our conversations with the Amish have led to an ennobling of pseudo-holistic consciousness. Reality has always been aglow with seekers whose brains are baptized in knowledge. We are at a crossroads of joy and materialism.
  14. Truck Captain Stumpy The Right Honourable Reverend Truck Captain Valued Senior Member

    perhaps you have
    you could also have included other historical cultures like the Plains tribes (US Native aboriginal tribes), but that doesn't mean it is a viable lifestyle

    I can understand that particular point, however, [IMHO] one of the greatest reasons we don't "change" or alter lifestyles to suit balance, consumption or things like that is really more about culture, education and (as also noted above) comfort ...

    IMHO - until we can curb the modern societal cultural anomalies that approve of disposable lifestyles in "first world" nations, and redefine culture, educate the people and then produce a means to still have the comforts while reducing the footprint, then there will likely be little change until drastic action is required... Relationships, cars, jobs, material objects... everything is disposable to most people... why should anyone "fix" anything when it is cheaper and faster to simply replace it?
    and even then, if history is any indication, there is not a guarantee that change will occur even when drastic measures are needed.
    case in point: Romans and Lead (Pb)

    another big problem is enforcement of rules... and who will do the enforcing. (huge argument in AGW threads)
    another serious problem: one mans "utopia" is another mans "hell"
  15. milkweed Valued Senior Member

    Have you ever lived in this manner? I'm not talking a camping trip for a couple of weeks. If your thinking this is what is needed on a global basis, dont you think you should spend some time living this way to see if your vision has any basis in reality?
  16. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I didn't say you did. I'm the one making the comparison.
    "Mennonite" is a religious position, not a lifestyle. You might as well be distinguishing Buddhists in India from Buddhist hippies in Oregon.
  17. Truck Captain Stumpy The Right Honourable Reverend Truck Captain Valued Senior Member

    ok. perhaps i misunderstood the post. my apologies ... i took it to mean something else.

    well... yes and no.
    like all religions, the adherence to a religion usually requires lifestyle changes. (extreme examples are: from Sociopath Felon to Baptist Preacher; or more relevant, from Conservative Amish to Progressive Mennonite)

    your point about Buddhists can be relevant and discussed as well... the regional, cultural and belief differences between the two same religions impart an influence that is easily spotted to those with experience or knowledge. Oregonian Buddhists will likely dress and appear different due to a host of issues not regularly dealt with (or even known) in India... but that is well before you get into the actual interpretation of religious differences!

    Indian Buddhists interpret based upon cultural influences, and so will Oregonian Buddhists. Just like the regional Anabaptist's from Pennsylvania will differ from Ozark Mountain (unless they are a transplant congregation, something that has been happening more recently).

    my specific point about this was simple:
    the strict conservative Amish Mennonite will be easily spotted from the more Progressive Mennonite simply because the adherence to a culture and religion that intentionally segregates them from modern society makes them culturally and religiously obligated to dress and act a certain way which is easily distinguishable allowing for classification between the extremes.

    closer related congregations and beliefs are harder to differentiate unless you have full access and support from the community.
  18. Mark UX Registered Member

    You are right, and at the same time, I see two problems here:

    1) Redefine culture, education of people etc., are extremely slow social processes that would require -if genuinely doable- much more time than the time we have to solve the problem until is too late.

    2) When a ‘drastic action required’ time comes… it will also be too late; whatever action we might take at that point, would be useless, in terms of reverting the damage.

    … but the really interesting thing here, is that when one tries to talk about it and touch the ‘Comfort Bubble’ zone (trying to seek for solutions, so we do not have to reach point 1) OR point 2)), peoples starts attacking. They react (negatively), and my friend…. I cannot even understand why.

    Saying it in other words:

  19. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    (Insult and potential context of threat deleted.)

    (Mod Note: This post has been edited to remove insult and a context verging on threat.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2015
  20. Truck Captain Stumpy The Right Honourable Reverend Truck Captain Valued Senior Member

    should have watched it to the end. no frogs were harmed in the making of the video...
    i guess that is a great example of Mark UX post, though... edited
    thanks for that

    absolutely: and there are likely more problems that we just can't see or think of

    interesting and very cogent

    IMHO- from my past experiences:
    people react with violence (negatively; attacking, etc) because of the huge discomfort felt. Some of this may well be guilt... some may be simply the emotional response of "fight or flight" looking for a direction to go.

    When someone has a worldview and is culturally trained to believe in it, regardless of evidence, then when said worldview is threatened, so too is their lifestyle and beliefs. This is most evident in religious cultures and the various wars from history, but can also be seen today in various forms. Take pseudoscience and it's followers, and their reactions to scientific evidence refuting their belief system.

    [EDIT: addition - (you can see this in studies like the following: ) ]

    the best way to combat this is to do a few things, (all, again, IMHO)... unfortunately, this all also leads back to education and cultural retraining, etc, adn are all time consuming, as you noted:
    1- teaching that being wrong is not a bad thing
    2- following a methodology like the scientific method, where you routinely add new information and build upon validated information

    i think these say it far better than i could...

    is there a quick fix to challenging a belief system with information?
    i doubt it... mostly because humans take challenges like that personally... like a dominant monkey or gorilla takes direct eye contact.

    Maybe this is part of our predatory mammalian makeup that will never go away... for life to flourish, there must be instincts to survive, after all. so perhaps our instinctual aggression comes from challenges to any perceived perspective that we believe keeps us protected and alive... so challenges to culture, customs, beliefs, religion, or patterns of ritual or other behaviour is simply triggering our instinctive response of aggression and survival.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2015
  21. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    I wasn't about to watch it at all. Just the idea of someone filming it, even if it wasn't real, made me puke. Posting it is almost as bad. And maybe it says something about someone who would watch it to the end.
  22. milkweed Valued Senior Member

  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Quick answer to why is psychological denial defense is common when one is powerless to effect adverse change coming And normally has open hostility to any one suggesting that is a lack of realism. If you want to interact with Climate Change (Global Warming) realists go here: The go to "Home" to see other sections.

    PS: The commonly used "NTHE" is short for Near-Term Human Extinction. I think even the site is dying as dominated by very few posters now.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015

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