Yes the Amish are a group of people with plain clothes, simple lives, and old fashioned values. Their society is far from perfect, but I think modern society could stand to learn a lot from the Amish way of life. By the way, I am not an expert on the Amish; some of this information may not be accurate. Most of what I’m writing is very simplified.
They Value Community
For starters, it’d be hard to find a more closely knit community than the Amish. To achieve such stability, extreme homogeneity in personality and priorities are present throughout the community. Everyone dresses the same, learns the same, lives the same, follows the same rules, and believes in the same God. Having a close knit community means that they have massive amounts of manpower/womanpower when the time calls for it. Whether it is barn raising or a healthcare crisis, the Amish community is supposed to look after their own.
Less Consumed By Technology and Materialism
The second interesting aspect of the Amish is that they use very little modern technology (if any) and are very non materialistic. The Amish do not spend hours on facebook or the Internet. They do not drive gas guzzling cars that cost thousands of dollars to maintain. The Amish way of life is much slower and less hectic due to valuing peace over material possessions.
I would argue that our society has become so consumed by materialism and technology that it has eroded away at core values. Money is the God that controls modern society and everyday life. People work their lives away for material goods as well as for food. The Amish work their lives away for basic needs (mostly). But the Amish “claim” to take pride in their work and often enjoy it. Only 30% of Americans enjoy their jobs and bosses.
Value Hard and Meaningful Work
It’d be safe to say that the Amish work physically harder than the average American. Their physical work produces physical results. It can be gratifying to see all your hard work manifest into some physical object, such as when you plant a seed and harvest the fruits of your labor. Many modern jobs are much more abstract and less gratifying in my opinion. Working at a shopping mall for instance seems like a pointless waste of time. Selling people useless items that will likely end up in a landfill would leave me feeling empty inside to say the least. That is one example. Most jobs today seem more destructive than constructive in the long term. The Amish seem to value sustainably based work much more than modern society.
Finally the Amish don’t have all the complications of modern life. They keep their lives simple through following a set of rules and valuing relationships over materialistic goods. They have set routines and follow them religiously. They work, eat, sleep, pray, socialize, and reproduce. That is what they do with the majority of their time.
Would you live with the Amish?
I would live with the Amish for several months to see what it was like. However, there are many drawbacks that I would not be able to tolerate long term. See the list of cons.
In conclusion, Amish society is probably “almost” as fucked up as modern society if you don’t include warfare. However, we should learn to value simplicity, hard meaningful work, and community more, while valuing material objects less. Then we could reach a happy medium between modern society and the days of old.
- They value nature
- “Overall” seem to be less violent than modern society
- Have the power of community
- Lower environmental impact per person
- Less materialistic = buying less crap that was made in sweatshops (exploitation of poor people)
- Value others more
- Don’t worship money
- Value kindness and helping others
- Value forgiveness
- Value hard work that is actually meaningful
- Extremely religious
- Not as much personal freedom (freedom of thought, expression, etc)
- Reproduce far too much, too many children on an already crowded planet
- Shunning (a way to exiling a person who doesn’t follow the rules)
- Closed minded and entirely based on tradition
- Sexist. Think of women as inferior/submissive to the man. See what happens when you live your life based on a 2,000 year old book modified by King James?
- Incomplete education
- Clothing represents their idea that sexual thoughts are evil except for within marriage
- Don’t like gay people