What can the Amish teach us about technology at all? Isn’t it true that the Amish are completely prohibited from using technology? The Amish community, known for its traditional lifestyle and deliberate rejection of certain modern technologies, can offer some insights into our relationship with digital addiction. As it turns out, the level of technology use within Amish communities varies depending on the specific sect and the interpretation of their religious beliefs by each community. While the Amish generally have a more conservative approach to technology compared to mainstream society, there is no blanket prohibition on all forms of technology.
They typically adopt technology selectively, taking into consideration its potential impact on their community, values, and way of life. They often prioritize technologies that can be used in a practical manner, such as gas-powered engines for farming or certain tools for craftsmanship. However, they tend to avoid or limit technologies that are seen as potentially disruptive to their community cohesion, such as television, internet access, and smartphones.
Practices and beliefs of the Amish can vary between different communities and even among families within the same community. Some Amish groups may be more restrictive in their technology use, while others may be more permissive. The decision to embrace or reject specific technologies is made collectively by each community, often based on how they believe it will impact their values, traditions, and spiritual well-being.
While it’s understandable that the Amish approach may not be suitable or feasible for everyone, there are valuable lessons we can learn from their practices:
Emphasis on nature and simplicity: The Amish value a simple and natural way of life, closely connected to the environment. They spend ample time outdoors, working with their hands, and appreciating the beauty of the natural world. This helps them maintain a healthier balance and perspective on life. We can learn from this approach by spending more time in nature, engaging in physical activities, and finding fulfillment beyond the digital realm.
They also prioritize strong community ties and interdependence. They engage in communal activities which foster deep connections and support systems. By focusing on real-world relationships and social interactions, they naturally do not rely on virtual connections facilitated by technology. This teaches us the significance of nurturing offline relationships and creating a sense of community in our lives.
The Amish rely on their skills and knowledge to meet their needs, rather than depending heavily on external systems and technologies. They prioritize self-sufficiency and resilience, which allows them to maintain a greater sense of control over their lives. While complete self-sufficiency may not be feasible for everyone, we can learn to balance our reliance on digital tools with developing practical skills and fostering our own abilities.
It's important to approach these lessons with the understanding that the Amish lifestyle may not be practical or desirable for everyone in today's modern world. However, by incorporating certain aspects of their approach, we can develop a healthier relationship with technology and live more fully.
One aspect we can more easily incorporate into our lives is the limited exposure to technology. The Amish do so intentionally, selectively adopting only those innovations that align with their values and do not disrupt their core way of life. By setting boundaries and prioritizing their values over constant digital stimulation, they avoid the pitfalls of digital addiction. This reminds us of the importance of establishing healthy boundaries and consciously deciding when and how we engage with technology.
Another, and perhaps the most meaningful effort we can model after the Amish community is the mindful use of technology. The Amish emphasize intentional and deliberate technology use. They carefully evaluate the impact of each piece of technology on their community and lifestyle before adopting it. Intentionality is key here, and this discipline teaches us the importance of being purposeful in our technology use, instead of mindlessly succumbing to digital distractions. They prioritize human interaction, face-to-face communication, and meaningful relationships over constant digital connectivity.
In sum, what can the Amish teach us about technology addiction? It’s avoidable. Something many of us have forgotten.
An accomplished translator and writer, Cami has been in the creative field for nearly two decades. Her experience as a linguist in several fields, paired with her background as a native Latina immigrant, born and raised in Brazil and naturalized American citizen gives her a unique perspective on the social and cultural context of our society. She has been with Techless since 2022 and currently lives in Michigan with her husband of twelve years and their eight-year-old son.