Sunday, July 01, 2007

Amish County

Staying in Pennsylvania is not complete sans visiting the Amish and Mennonites. So Doris, Connie & Julie took me to Lancaster County to see them.

Some info from Wikipedia: The Amish are an Anabaptist Christian denomination known for their plain dress and avoidance of modern conveniences such as cars and electricity. They separate themselves from mainstream society for religious reasons: They do not join the military, apply for Social Security benefits, take out insurance or accept any form of financial assistance from the government.

Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of Hochmut (pride, arrogance, haughtiness) and the high value they place on Demut or "humility" and Gelassenheit (German, meaning: calmness, composure, placidity) — often translated as "submission" or "letting-be," but perhaps better understood as a reluctance to be forward or to assert oneself in any way.

The Amish anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on community; or which, like electricity, might start a competition for status-goods; or which, like photographs, might cultivate individual or family vanity. It is also the proximate cause for rejecting education beyond the eighth grade, especially speculative study that has little practical use for farm life but may awaken personal and materialistic ambitions.

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