‘Amish’ as the term itself suggests often intends to define the being of people living apart from the modern ways of the modern society. Staying within the more traditional and conservative way of living is assumed to be more relaxing and less stressing. Staying away from the hustles and bustles of living in the city is one particular way by which Amish living is described. With a different environment, it is assumed that the life systems recognized within the said communities are relatively different as well.
For instance, the Amish way of living recognizes being one and at peace with nature. This intends to impose that a person living with nature would be able to gain what nature is ready to provide and want for nothing more than that. An individual becomes contented with what he is able to receive from nature hence does not develop any intentions of further exploiting nature just to give way to his personal desires. Protecting nature for the future generation is what makes an Amish person more relatively connected to the responsibility he has over what nature gives him while considering how he could preserve available resources around him.
Another matter about Amish living that should be noted is that of its simplicity. True, all people have their desires. The luxury of living an ‘easy life’ however is not part of living simple. In the Amish way, simplicity means being able to sustain one’s own and/or one’s family with the basic needs through the balance of hard work and enjoyment. This means that since the life one lives is simple, he does not need to work hard for the money, but for the needs alone. For instance, these needs may include food, clothing and shelter. Having these basic needs for survival suffices the satisfaction of a person who embraces to live the Amish life.
True, if examined closely, there is a big difference between living an Amish the way and embracing the life of the modern society. For instance, the modern society specifically focuses on the influence of capitalism on the overall living systems that the human individuals thrive in. Insisting on the capacity of a person to satisfy his wants is the basic source of strength that capitalism gains its foundation from. Influencing the society through advertisements and marketing, people living the modern way are more convinced that if they do not have what’s ‘in’ then they are ‘out’. Hence, to be sure that they are accepted in the society or at least they feel that they are accepted, they strive hard to earn the money needed to purchase what is offered in the market for them to buy. Gadgets, designer clothes and shoes, expensive cars and expensive travels, all these are defined to have a great impact on what becomes a great source of competence among those who want to embrace the modern way of living.
Constantly hoping to make the ends meet, people living the modern way often end up being too stressed, suffering from particular illnesses and likely finding no peace of mind at all. For those continuously aiming to gain what they want, they end up feeling frustrated like as if they keep on gasping for breath hoping to manage their way to get into reaching their ‘dreams’ of a luxurious and easy way of living. For those who already have so much, they too are not peaceful in mind as they constantly worry that the wealth they have accumulated might be lost, exploited or that they might be taken disadvantage of because of what they own.
True to its sense, Amish living thrives on three particular matters namely contentment, simplicity and conservative thinking. Wanting more out of life through gaining material possessions is shunned by this way of living. Consistently handling the different twists and turns of life through considering the simplest points of realizing the resolutions to stressful instances specifically give one a source of peace of mind. Making a distinctive decision on how to accept matters as they come is what constitutes simple thinking which is the foundation of the Amish wisdom resulting to peaceful living.
Hostetler, John (1993), Amish Society (4th ed.), Baltimore, Maryland; London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Kraybill, Donald B (1994), in Olshan, Marc A, The Amish Struggle with Modernity, Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, p. 304.
Kraybill, Donald B. and Steven M. Nolt. Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. 286 pp.
Kraybill, Donald B., Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher. Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy. New York: Jossey-Bass, 2006. 256 pp.