Better Than Fixing Things

In a previous class we discussed an article “Better Than Fixing Things”, by Elma Stoll. This article covers the dilution of “disenchanted people” to the population of the Plain people which is how Amish and Mennonites refer to themselves. Some communities even believe the “Seekers” (non Amish) who are rich investors for their land believe they live to serve them. However the Plain people often end up getting as much back as they gave. The first story in this article talked about a Plain man who helped a new seeker whom is a North American with their “assortment of electrical appliances and labor-saving, comfort-producing gadgets.” (Stroll 175) When he helped the new seeker move in, the Plain man told the seeker if he ever needed anything fixed, he could show him how to live without it. I thought this was nice and reminded me of not using any technology and wishing I could ask the Plain man how to live without my phone, air conditioner, and watch since these things were what I rely on the most. I was not sure if the Plain man could wear a watch since that is technology but I would think they would be able to use one to tell time.

It was interesting to hear about the community of Cookville which was formed due to escalating cost of land and financial burdens. Amish and Mennonite family’s “Pooled our resources and purchased a two-hundred-acre tract of land that is shared communally. We would rather work harder to make do with less land than see any of our brethren assume a debt burden.”(Stoll 177) The community is split between low-cost hard manual farm laborers who grow food for the community and the others. They also sell wholesale and retail which can grow the community’s overall wealth. “The community also has a blacksmith, a baker, a cabinet maker, a shoemaker, a sign painter, and a farrier.(Stoll 178) This way the community has work in every area needed for a community to thrive. They can hire someone to use a motor vehicle or drive them somewhere on a Greyhound bus. They don’t think, “technology is evil in itself, but we would like to be in control of it, rather than having it control us.”(Stoll 178) I thought this was a great idea and I feel like everyone should do this. It would be best if families were closer together, however on the flip side professionalism wouldn’t happen since great workers and scientists wouldn’t be able to work in large areas populated with working environments like Silicon Valley.

The community also believes it’s wrong to leave our elders in care-taking homes instead of taking care of them ourselves. I agree, however, a sick elderly person may need 24/7 assistance when you need to go to your job. We would not have the same economy and technology by care-taking all day. The Plain people have created a “a world given over to professionalism.”(Stoll 179) It would, however, be much more ethical if we did not leave our elders inside retirement homes while we go on with our lives trying not to forget them over our schedules.



  1. Interesting point about the Amish. This fact kind of coincides with what you said somewhat is that the Amish are religiously opposed to the idea of insurance and consequently they are exempt from paying into social security. This idea of being opposed to insurance stems from the idea that your community takes care of you.

  2. It still baffles me how some people live without appliances that are used every day in normal society. I could not imagine moving into an Amish-like community and someone telling me I should learn to live without a dishwasher or oven. I have become so accustomed to this type of technology that I do not even consider it technology anymore. If I were the guy from the first story I do not think I would last more than a week living in the new community.

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