What Price Laxity?

Mariner mentioned in an earlier post that he had entered a ‘homesteader’ phase. What that means is that he is interested in self-sufficiency, simplicity and a liaison with the biosphere. While his muscles ache a bit from the added labors of keeping busy physically, he has begun learning more about the Amish, whose whole philosophy of life is based on family and community working together and finding salvation through labor.

The Amish philosophy of valuing community and family above convenience or, dare mariner say, ‘aspiration’, is close to pure communism save its commitment to a literal interpretation of the words of Jesus. The economic model is communistic in that the political superstructure never extends beyond a certain geographic range where ethical authority remains totally internal to a tribe-sized collection of families. Further, the economic needs of any individual in that community are shared by the full community.

In his search for information about the Amish, he came across a documentary called “The Amish: A People of Preservation”. It was produced originally by PBS but mariner is not familiar enough with the ROKU world to tell readers where to search. The writer of the documentary is gifted; every closed caption is a quotable comment. For example,

“The old order Amish man is not yet ready for self-propelled equipment. This, he fears, will set off a chain reaction whereby everybody would follow the principles of efficiency and convenience to the neglect of humility and communal discipline.”

If there’s anything our American culture lacks, it is humility and communal discipline.

While the strength of Amish communism is sustainability, its moral structure is weak with respect to humanist reality. Justice is an informal opinion of a gathering of elders strictly bound by the grace of Jesus’s forgiveness. Punitive gestures destroy the Amish ethos. There was a case several years ago where a boy continually raped his sister. In each complaint brought before the elders, he confessed and repented. The elders forgave him as Jesus would. The boy returned to rape his sister yet again only to repeat the process to be forgiven.

Still, there is merit in not pursuing aspiration – particularly in the most capitalistic economy in the world. Resources are not endless; as the wealthy accrue more wealth, resources for everyone else diminish. Mariner has no idea how the future of this century will play out. It certainly will be different.

Ancient Mariner


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