Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G ~ Gelassenheit

Growing up Amish the word Gelassenheit was heard frequently. Translated to mean giving up oneself to higher authority, self-surrender, contented, calm.

Basically the opposite of individualism and self interest.

It seems to be at the core of the whole Amish belief system, and is harder to explain than I thought it would be.

I receive a lot of questions about the Amish from people wondering why they do this, but not that. And trying to figure out and make sense of the many rules applying to the Amish.

For many of those questions there really is no answer, other than Gelassenheit. To outsiders the rules make no sense, many seem to have no rhyme or reason. We were taught to practice Gelassenheit and therefore didn't question, we simply obeyed.


  1. Thank you for that explanation!

  2. Laurence Iannaccone's research (published in the American Journal of Sociology, vol 99 no 5) has shown that strict Churches make people feel more invested and more likely to stay. Just having rules, even if they don't have a rationalization behind them, makes the Church stronger, better group cohesion. There also tends to be more taking care of each other in Churches where higher participation is expected. (If you are expected to help others in the Church, you can expect to be helped when you need it.) And with Amish being the fastest growing religion in the US, well... it's working for them. Ex-Amish are far less common than ex-Catholics!

  3. I like the way you described Gelassenheit in your first paragraph. I wish I followed those precepts more. Unfortunately I seem to be a product of this "me" generation no matter how I try to change myself.
    Thank you for this great explanation.

  4. The Buddhists have the same principle, just a different way of expressing it.

  5. Wow, it's wonderful the way you're able to share a way of life that so few people have experienced!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  6. Thanks for that explanation! I'll definitely be reading more of your story. I've always found the Amish people to be fascinating. God bless. :)

  7. I've learned a new word today. I said it like ten times in hopes I'll rememebr it.

    Stephen Tremp
    an A-Z Cohost
    @StephenTremp on Twitter

  8. Just caught up on your AtoZ. Very thoughtful and well written.. Looking forward to hearing more of your memories.


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