Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Leadership Tips from the Polynesian Islands

I'm having a grand time with The Creation of Inequality by Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus about which I will say more when I'm done with it, but for the moment, let me recount their summary of the three sources of power in Polynesia (channeling Irving Goldman):
The central concept of chiefly power was a life force the Polynesians called mana. Goldman defines mana as an odorless, colorless, invisible, supernatural energy that pervades people and things. ... Some Polynesian chiefs had so much mana that by touching them inappropriately, one could receive a jolt akin to being Tasered. . . 

A second source of power in Polynesia was tohunga, a term usually translated as “expertise.” Tohunga could refer to administrative or diplomatic skill, ritual skill, or craftsmanship. . . .

The third of Goldman’s sources of power was toa. While toa referred to a durable tree known as “ironwood,” it was also a metaphor for bravery and toughness. Toa was applied to warriors in general, and especially to those who distinguished themselves in battle. A key aspect of toa was that it allowed for a certain degree of social mobility. A warrior of humble birth could rise in prominence to the point where he had to be taken seriously, even by chiefly individuals.
Flannery, Kent ands Marcus, Joycc (2012-05-15). The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire (Kindle Locations 4101-4115). Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition. 

Doesn't leave much out, does it?

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