We will all be like the Amish
Having visited areas where the Amish live, I think it’s safe to say if they can do it, we all can do it (well maybe not all of us) . I would go straight back to a horse instead of paying OPEC member countries to get rich. They have it all self contained, and putting religion aside, have it pretty well solved. I don’t agree with the way they almost totally disconnect with society and forbid dancing, music and things like that, but I do admire the way they are self sustaining for the most part. Yes it is a more simple life the way they do it, but if we can learn from them and modify it to our needs, then it works out just fine. It’s a community approach where everyone pitches in. From food to building things, etc. I visited Venezuela about 15 years ago, and I was in more of the remote areas of that country instead of the cities. The more we got away from the cities, the more simple it got. To the point of seeing women doing laundry on rocks next to rivers, or barely seeing any cars at all. We stayed in one small town, a fishing village, where electricity was hardly used, and the town would get together at night and have fish that was caught that day. I had an equivalent to Mahi Mahi with rice and beans plus 2 beers for around 25 cents on a plate so big I could not finish it. The men played dominoes or cards, the women sat and talked. Nobody had problems because this is all they really knew. Only One TV in the whole small town in a city center building if you wanted to go watch soccer. Most of our problems in America are competing for the prize that’s an illusion. Who has the most, who has the best, who can consume more and more, who is the greediest. These things mean nothing to the Amish and the villagers I met in Venezuela. We have all been constantly conditioned for years with companies and advertising, and the other major countries in the world have been conditioned to follow us.
[quote=krogoth]… Most of our problems in America are competing for the prize that’s an illusion. Who has the most, who has the best, who can consume more and more, who is the greediest. These things mean nothing to the Amish and the villagers I met in Venezuela. We have all been constantly conditioned for years with companies and advertising, and the other major countries in the world have been conditioned to follow us.
Krogoth, I couldn’t have said it better myself. My wife and I have undergone the voluntary simplicity route. We live in a 5th wheel RV, and our needs are much less and I’m free to pursue many volunteer activities that benefit society as a whole. Going into the future those who can voluntary reduce their standard of living will find their enjoyment of life much higher!
Well I have seen this coming for awhile. And I have always been fascinated by perception, pertaining to what we see, do and think we need. Or better yet what society pushes on us what we need. For the last 15 years I have been at 0 credit debt owed. Meaning I pay off my debt very quickly. I have managed to invest, operate business, make money and generally be happy with my life. When I lived in Seattle I ran into a rough spot. I had a business that was generally set up to just bring in a little extra capital in the mid 90’s, and it boomed to over 100 employees in less than a year (tech bubble). We made alot of money, but I was working all the time, often 90 hour weeks. I didn’t even take a vacation. My health got bad (ulcers, insomnia) I gained alot of weight, and my stress levels were through the roof. This went on for 4 years without barely even taking any time off unless it was a major emergency. When I started my career I worked for IBM for a number of years, and I remember an older programmer getting close to retirement told me one day, do you realize in 28 years of working for IBM I have never been able to take more than 2 weeks off? He was in a critical job where it was impossible to do so based on his responsibilities and his position. I realized back then that the most important power, over money or status is TIME. If you control your TIME you control everything. I realized this once again in Seattle, and decided to (well it was a little bit forced on me by economic conditions thanks to the tech bubble bursting) to get out with the money I made. I sold the business to may partner, and returned to my home state of sunny Florida, where I bought a house with no mortgage outright. For the next 3 years I concentrated on relaxing and programming small jobs for companies on MY timetable. I stopped watching the news, because this is when all the Iraq, terrorist stuff was being force-fed down our throats everyday, and kind of disconnected. The only TV I watched was movies and educational shows. I have never had a more peaceful time in my life with no responsibility since living with my parents when I was a kid. I was productive, but doing it my way and controlling my time. I got to travel alot and see places with real time off. I had no one controlling me but me for a change. My business associates in Seattle were always under stress, always looking at the new BMW or Benz, buying anything they could for the houses they owned, only the best, like it was some sort of competition. I was the boss, and I lived moderately cheap compared to them, being my only indulgence was technology and computers. I had a modest 2 bedroom apartment, and saved most of my money. I could not believe times I had with associates or friends, and all they could talk about was money, money, money. If I tried to change the subject, it would always go back to money somehow. I was trying to teach them money means debt, and debt is slavery. They really didn’t understand this concept because we were riding the tech bubble pretty good. I had friends buying houses that were way beyond what they could afford, but the money train was here. 1 friend had a house that was 1.2 million, 6 bedrooms, and about the biggest kitchen I have ever seen in my life. I mean, it was like twice the size of a restaurant kitchen. He and his wife lived in it with no kids. 2 people in a house on a 2 acre lot. Plus they had 4 cars. It was so ridiculous that I had friends that were Mac addicts getting jobs as Microsoft System Admins at $100 an hour, that’s how many people were needed back then. Well I am babbling, but to make a long story short, happiness is defined in many ways. Look at yourself and really decide if you are happy with your life. Have you seen this beautiful world? Other cultures? Other ways of life? What is your perception orf what you really need to make you happy? The richest people I know are the most miserable. Let me tell you, I see people living WAY below the standards of Americans in other countries I have traveled to, and they always have family and love and togetherness. They always take care of the family as a unit. The kids and the elderly come first, and the family bond is very strong. I guess it just depends on what you think is important. If you can make a decent living and be happy, do it as long as you have time for what is important to you. Never mind what people are telling you that you need or should have, make your own decisions about what is really needed in your life. What is important to me is controlling my time and how I spend it.
I couldn’t agree more, I find my humaness diminishes when I don’t have couple hours every day to do whatever I want.
I end up doing productive things with my time, they just happen to align with what I really need.
I live near a large Amish community and have done business with them on a number of occasions. I envy many things about their lifestyles, but at the same time see some of the realities that outsiders sometimes don’t see. First, they are not anti-technology, they just don’t want to be hooked up to the "grid." They don’t want to be dependent on the greater society.
Many of them have sawmills or workshops of one kind or another that require some source of power. They have gas engines (usually Honda) either hooked up to a belt system or a generator to power their shops. They don’t have telephones, but their communities are one of the few places you still see pay phones. If you hire them to do a job on your property (usually construction), and you aren’t close to their homes, you’ll have to pick them up and take them home. They have no problem with riding in cars. If you go into their homes you’ll see much of the same kind of junk you see in most of our homes, particularly if they have kids. Lotsa plastic junk, much of which they buy at yard sales. Also, when one of them has a serious medical problem that requires advanced medical technology they hold auctions where they sell various examples of their crafts, like quilts, furniture and food to the "English."
What I admire most about them is their practicality. They work together as a community to accomplish shared goals and most of their commerce is through barter. However, they are more than willing to work for us for cash. Recently, I wanted to build a 32’x18′ lean-to on the side of my barn for storing firewood and equipment. Because everyone knows everyone in their community, I only had to ask someone to be directed to a young carpenter who was totally willing to do the job. We worked out an arrangement whereby I cut down a large spruce tree on my property and cut it up in 20′ lengths. He arranged transportation with an "English" fellow who has a truck and trailer to take the logs to an Amish sawmill where the logs were sawed to order and transported back to my place. All the wood necessary for the lean-to came from that tree but the treated posts which I bought and transported. He also knows a fellow who fabricates metal roofs to order. The roof was well over half the total cost of the project, but still a lot less than I would pay at Home Depot, and they were fabricated in 22′ lengths. He arranged transportation for the roofing also. When everything was onsite, he and another young man spent 1 1/2 days building the whole thing. They mostly used their hand tools, but had no problem using a number of my power tools. I have a very strong structure with full sized 2"x8" rafters and trussed to leave the entire 18′ width usable with no posts in the middle.
As a culture they have a strong work ethic and people are essentially raised in their crafts. It’s kinda like the old apprentice system our culture evolved from without the artificial institutions like unions and hierarchical businesses that we have created to allow for mass production.
krogoth i really like you man . i have been sending out emails to people about the amish for weeks to ask why no one has done an interview with them about all this. it would be the shortest interview of all time …………..one blank stare.
thank you for sharing about your life. you have found a great deal of wisdom along the way. i wish you lved close by but i am happy we share this community. please share aas much as you can about the fed and any strategies you think useful.
email …[email protected]
There sure is some good old fashioned hard one wisdom on this site, all i’ll add to it is this;
All a man really needs is love, freedom, a nice cup of tea and a good old sit-down.
The very best of luck to you all
I like you, too. You always have nice comments and good advice as well. Yes the Amish would be a very short interview! As for the other comments, yes they do use electricity outside when doing jobs for money, and sometimes inside for doing millwork, etc. The point I was making is that they are WAY more self supporting than typical Americans. That does not mean we all need to dress like them and not watch TV. I read the other day that Americans have 1.7 cars per person, and China has 177 people for each car on average. That will change as the Chinese (another simple living people with simple needs for centuries) grow and emulate our economy everyday. Consuming more and doing more and spending more. As these countries follow us, and they start having a larger economic and ecological footprint. We need to reverse this cycle somehow. We have planted the seeds for this by letting our government get away with so much. I told my wife what is the difference between a Chinese revolution and an American one? Americans have guns. We are lucky we still have that right. If that right to bear arms is outlawed, watch out because it is going to get nasty. And I know you anti-gun people will disagree with me, but we have that as a final protection measure AGAINST OUR GOVERNMENT if necessary. SO if we do have dramatic change, at least we have a fighting chance.
Is reducing your standard of living, or changing your standard of living a better way to put it? Reducing means less, but it can also mean you feel you are not living to the common standard of others. This once again is preception of what you want and what you need.
It is the purest myth that our guns will protect us from our government. The ugly truth is that going up against the gov’t with the arms most people have (some semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, pump action, single shot, bolt action) would be like using a bb gun against an automatic 12 ga. shotgun or assault rifle. In other words, we would be…not to put too fine a point on it…dead. The government’s small arms are automatic assault rifles. The range and power of their weapons are truly awesome.
I’m not anti-gun. I have three myself. But, you gotta be realistic about what you can do with them. The most ferocious thing most of us go up against is Bambi, not armed trained soldiers or police.