Technology appearing in unexpected places!

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,236
The Amish are very avid cyclists. It is the most common form of transportation. I think there is a misconception about the nature of Amish reluctance to use technology. As the article quotes the “tourist” information—it is a socially driven thing.

Though it is not entirely different from the practices of orthodox Jews concerning the use of fire and electricity on Shabbat (the Sabbath), in an important way it is very different. For the Jew, the underlying reason is a specific set of prohibitions against מְלָאכָה, which is often translated—incorrectly—as “work” but it really means something like “craft”, or “creative work”. Eschewing fire and electricity is a second order thing, since they are used in the process(es) of מְלָאכָה. On any other day these things are considered good and certainly done.

For the Amish, it has to do with keeping from things that would tend to attach the person to the world. It seems allied to the avoidance of showy things, or of things that were prominently part of the society of the people that oppressed the Anabaptists including but not limited to:

  1. Moustaches
  2. Belts
  3. Buttons (as decoration)
  4. Brightly Colored Clothing
  5. &c

Electricity is avoided because of the grid. It is literally a connection to society. I have seen Amish who have telephones for business reasons, but they are not in the house, rather they are in a small building away from the house and they only use them episodically. They also use power tools, but they don’t own them.

I don’t know for sure, but I think that solar power is having an impact, since it doesn’t involve a gasoline or diesel engine and has no connection to the grid. Electric bicycles seem to be an offshoot of this. They use solar power to charge them. It makes sense to have electric bikes if you can get past the electric part.

I have watched people—men & women—of all ages, including rather old, ride bicycles all over. Amish bicycles are built like tanks, and a serious workout. In fact, e-bikes might have a negative effect on general health among the Amish as it reduces the workout usually gotten from the daily cycling.

Some Amish accept bicycles in the form of kick scooters but not ones that use peddles. The addition of the mechanical power transmission makes them nervous. The argument is a slippery slope rationale—the mechanics make it too much like the prohibited to (drive or own) automobile*.
*but, if you don’t know about it, look up “Rumspringa” and the minority but not insignificant population that… well, read about it…

Similarly, some Amish won’t accept e-Bikes, even if they are comfortable with bicycles otherwise on the grounds that it is approaching the car. I do wonder if solar power will mean that some Amish begin to own battery powered tools…
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,060
We had 2 groups of Mennonites in East Tennessee. One was referred to as the Black Bumper Mennonites. They were more conservative and while they had cars and trucks like the others, they painted their chrome bumpers and trim black so they wouldn't be "showy".
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,423
We had 2 groups of Mennonites in East Tennessee. One was referred to as the Black Bumper Mennonites. They were more conservative and while they had cars and trucks like the others, they painted their chrome bumpers and trim black so they wouldn't be "showy".
What's inside the Black Bumper men's club?
1698008242850.png
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,813
We had 2 groups of Mennonites in East Tennessee. One was referred to as the Black Bumper Mennonites. They were more conservative and while they had cars and trucks like the others, they painted their chrome bumpers and trim black so they wouldn't be "showy".
Mennonites and bumpers... I have a story.

At one point during my strange childhood my parents were trying to join the Mennonite church. We went and visited Mennonite strangers and had Mennonite strangers staying at our house. I don't know why they stayed at our house. It was weird. Not only Mennonites but people from other weird Christian sects.

One Mennonite family who stayed with us I remember quite well because they had among their ranks a 17 y/o boy who was strong enough to grab the rear bumper of my dad's 1980-something Toyota pickup and lift it off the ground, high enough and for long enough for his father to slide jack stands under the axle. It was a tiny truck but still I think that had to be at least 800 lbs?

Bonus story:
I remember one family who stayed with us who had a boy my age and we played tag. I chased him into the house where he ran up to his mother and stuck his head up the inside of her shirt and started suckling her breast in the middle of our game. We were probably 6 or 7 years old. I'm pretty sure they weren't Mennonites. That was a very jarring experience. I didn't know if I should tag him or if there was an implied pause to the game or... I just ran away and tried to avoid that kid and that woman the until they left.
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,767
he ran up to his mother and stuck his head up the inside of her shirt and started suckling her breast in the middle of our game..
One thing I did notice was the degree of kids that appeared a little "simple" I believe it was due to the degree of inbreeding that can occur with close colonies.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,813
One thing I did notice was the degree of kids that appeared a little "simple" I believe it was due to the degree of inbreeding that can occur with close colonies.
That probably happens, but it was my understanding that they keep records of ancestry and have rules to prevent this. Still they (Amish) are mostly isolated yet population increases, so... With Mennonites I suspect it is not as bad.

Another aspect to it is that they (Amish, some Mennonites) don't place much importance on education. Anything beyond being able to read and write is "extra" (and not a good way) to them. Just like a dress with extra lace is "extra" (and not in a good way). In some cases, "simple" be just that: simple (as opposed to mentally deficient).
 

Thread Starter

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,767
. In some cases, "simple" be just that: simple (as opposed to mentally deficient).
That may be so to some extent, but when talking to some of them it is fairly easy to discern if it is just ignorance of the real world or that something is a little "Off".!
Another clue is that there is very few different surnames throughout a colony.
Most here are Hutterite's
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
10,228
(some text removed for clarity)

Bonus story:
I remember one family who stayed with us who had a boy my age and we played tag. I chased him into the house where he ran up to his mother and stuck his head up the inside of her shirt and started suckling her breast in the middle of our game. We were probably 6 or 7 years old. I'm pretty sure they weren't Mennonites. That was a very jarring experience. I didn't know if I should tag him or if there was an implied pause to the game or... I just ran away and tried to avoid that kid and that woman the until they left.
Some mothers are very reluctant to give up breast feeding. Some continue for years and years beyond what most mothers experience.
 
Top