Re: Social Power, Entropy & Indolence

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Sat, 16 Mar 1996 20:42:43 -0500

On Sat, 16 Mar 1996, Scott Holmes wrote:

> look for instances of power we should look at instances of indolence.
> Perhaps much of what we see as power is actually the result of a general
> indolence. Those people with just a bit more ambition, a bit more
> initiative move in to fill a vacuum.

Nice try, but it don't work (ethnographically). To refer again to the
!Kung, one of those "original affluent societies," it is exactly those
people "with just a bit more ambition, a bit more initiative" who are
ostracized, verbally abused, and "made to give until it hurts" (Lee 1979:

There is a story common in Indian country about the basket of Indian
crabs. The only way to escape the crab-bake is to get out of the basket.
But any crab that tries is pulled back down by the others.

It is often told humorously, but ruefuly, and it is not clear if the
intent is to encourage the escape attempts or the solidarity.