In cities and towns around the world computers, cellphones and other technologies are used to take shortcuts for daily tasks and activities. Cellphones have eased the ability to communicate, the internet has created easy access to information and cars have made faster to get from place to place. But there are a number of groups who have forgone the usage of many, if not all, of these modern technologies.
The Pennsylvania Dutch, also known as Amish or Old Order Mennonites are one of these groups. They have chosen to avoid the use of modern technology. This is done because the use of such equipment would go against their ideals and philosophy of life known as Ordnung and Gelassenheit.
Ordnung is known as the order or system of life. It describes the local rules and guidelines that should be followed by the collective group and it can be described best as the blueprint for expected behavior. There is no written account of the Ordnung, but rather it taught and known by all within the society.
Gelassenheit is closely related to the strong tie to the Christian faith that the Pennsylvania Dutch have. They believe that they cannot express selfishness, sloth, luxury or vanity. It is because of Gelassenheit that the people have refrained from using phones, wearing expressive clothing or owning transportation beyond that of a horse and buggy.
The language that is spoken by the Pennsylvania Dutch is very closely related to a dialect of German, known as Pennsylvanian German. While the language is almost unintelligible in relation to standard German, there are still many points where the languages are relatively close. Over time the language has adopted a number of English words such as bet, depend, and guy. Also, all large numerals are said in English as it is much easier.
While life has become much easier for people not within the Amish or Mennonite community because of modern technology, it does beg the question whether some of us could live a life similar to them.
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