The Amish communities in general are opposed to certain kinds of technology. The Amish are very family oriented. They put much emphasis on the family dynamic in their culture. Therefore, needless to say, they often determine which technological devices to ban from their culture based on how they feel that such a device might weaken the family structure. This is, of course, primarily based on the convictions of the individual order, the leaders and subsequently the community as a whole based upon the ordnung, or basic laws of their culture.
What is referred to as the ordnung of one Amish community can be dissimilar to the ordnung of another Amish society, but the rules set by the community are the rules that those within the community must adhere to. Nonetheless, they are established by interpretations of the same basic principles, much like the many sects and / or factions of the Christian faith. The convenience of things that most people take for granted (such as electricity, telephones, motor vehicles, etcetera, are considered a form of laziness or vanity to most of the Amish.
As well as often growing their own foods, the Amish will often refuse the “luxury” of tractors, making their work much more arduous than that of the average farmer. Although they do sell some of their produce and other wares, however, and therefore, perhaps do not require as much labor-saving technological contraptions. The Amish often cultivate their fields with horse-drawn equipment.
It may seem strange to the outsider, but the Amish consider these things (and others like them) to be tangible forms of vanity. It is not unheard f furniture an Amish community to have a telephone – but not multiple phones. There are also virtually never telephones in the home – there is, as I said, a telephone: a single telephone shared by the community or village. There is little privacy within the community. Occasionally certain kinds of practical, electrical devices (such as an electric fence to contain cattle) are permitted.
There are plenty of forms of stoves for heat, lamps for light, as well as non-electric devices for baking and cooking that are absolutely effective. Things that the modern world would consider the bare essentials are vain crutches in the eyes of the Amish – who get along perfectly without them. I think that it is the same basic phenomenon as that which occurs when people’s income becomes larger.
Living a life of simplicity, the technological advances of this world are, for the most part, obsolete, as virtually anyone would guess. The technology of this world is not a part of the world in which the Amish live. In order to appreciate Amish culture, one must appreciate Amish traditions, whether or not he or she understands them completely. There is, in an Amish world, little need for advanced technology. As a matter of fact, aside from advanced medicine, there is very little technology essential for our lives – primarily, new technology is mostly for entertainment. When a person’s income rises, he or she can afford mote things and therefore, he or she will purchase more things – expanding their regular budget by hundreds, maybe thousands. It is a philosophy quite comparable to the machine verses the garden theory, in essence.
Once people get attached to a daily routine including dozens of high tech labor-saving devices, it is hard to deflate their vision to simplicity – they are part of a more complex world. Nonetheless, necessity has little to do with it. The main concern is the interference of outside influences into the family dynamic that is so important within their culture to maintain. Distraction or dissuasion from the way of the ordnung will be a potentially destructive catalyst that they must avoid to maintain their traditional, unchanged and highly revered ways of life.
Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background includes teaching, gardening, and fashion. For more of her articles on the Amish, please visit amishretail.com, supplier of high quality Amish Quilts and Amish Furniture .