Today, my family took a trip to the Hancock Shaker Village in MA.
I learned a lot of things in the hour or two that we strolled the grounds. I learned that the Shakers didn't shun technology, in fact, they embraced it. I learned that The Shakers supported the war effort during WWII by donating a water turbine that they used in their woodworking shop for scrap. And most importantly I learned that there still exists a Shaker village in ME. The last of it's kind.
It's the last of it's kind for many reasons. For example, the commune lifestyle is less advantageous than it was in the 19th century, the fall of religion in American society, etc. But I think their main problem was this: They were celibate.
Now, who thought it was a good idea to start a religious sect that included men and women and no procreation. It's planned obsolescence is what it is. And it's just plain silly. Or at least I first thought. Then it mulled around in my mind and I chewed on the cud and I came to this realization: Maybe they were for real.
I'm a very cynical person, I think everyone's got an angle (and they usually do). So most religious organizations tend to have an earthly agenda that is at least as important as the more lofty one. But maybe these Shakers (who, by the way, got their name by the way they shook while in the ecstasy of prayer, no sex necessary) really thought they were doing right by God, so there was no need for them to make babies as God would supply more bodies as needed in the guise of new recruits. This I can almost respect.
Of course by the late 1950's there were only three people left in Hancock, all women. One soon died, another moved into an apartment in town for the rest of her days, and the third shifted to another colony that wasn't yet sunk. A bit sad actually.
However the fact that they sold the site and turned it into a museum in 1960 meant that my family had a very pleasant day learning about what a bunch of people did with all their free time without sex in their lives. The answer if you're wondering, is make curved wood boxes, very nice furniture, and incredibly realistic wooded fruit.
|everything here is ©2004-2005 Bill Wadman All Rights Reserved | RSS with podcasting|