Friday, October 2, 2009

Amish Technology

Adwait Paranjpe

Engineering ethics cannot emphasize enough on colonization and contextualization. By studying various engineering practices, one has to balance his/her life so as to follow Platonic and Aristotelian virtue ethics. Similarly, Amish people believe in following a primary method called ‘Ordnung’ which has peace, love, contentment, equality and unity as its governing aspects. A group of anti-technology rural farmers, who has banned machines, is how Amish people have been portrayed. But according to the Amish president, it is not the individual technology that affects Amish but it is the total chain. Banned use of electricity and automobiles is not meant for just the fear of fire or keeping them un-automated, but it is their careful regulation of technology so as to preserve their culture. The choice of horses as the means of transport, over vehicles, might reduce the speed, but it is of utmost prudence when one thinks of questions like why, how, when and which technologies are to be used. Amish are social constructionists who voluntarily choose the technologies that are different in order to maintain their unique culture. ‘Rumspringa’ (Running about) - a phase of Amish youth to be non-Amish, helps them understand humility, patience and dedication required to be a respected ordnung. Today when the world is connected by internet, Amish have restricted the use of telephone since they believe in accepting technology on their own terms and not as distracting value-laden tools. A society that lives in a group of 30-50 families called district is always cautious while dealing with technology and is likely to prohibit it, due to the fear of disruption of their religion, tradition and families. Amish, whose key industries are ‘Carpentry’ and ‘Farming’, who keep Sunday as their rest day and day for church services; place a celebrated significance on humility, equality, simplicity and community.

1 comment:

Shamanth Huddar said...

A lovely piece, this is.

A simple life is the most difficult to lead, specially when the world around you keeps on growing more complex by the day.