In note ten of a paper entitled "Anancyism in Jamaican Pantomime," scholar Ruth Minott Egglestone says:
"Anancyism is significantly more than a pattern of anti-social behaviour... it is a philosophy which enables an individual to laugh in the midst of adversity and thereby survive."
Dr Egglestone credits Carlos de la Motta of Kingston, Jamaica with this explanation, and it is the one about which I was curious. We all agree that Anancy is a survivor and his ingenuity is the means by which he survives, often in the face of great adversity. But mightn't we be undoing Anancyism when we regard it as a philosophy, with all that that implies, when we contain it, package it, give it the pretended respectability of attitude, proceeding presumably from a principle, of determinedly standing up to the oppressor and laughing defiantly in his face?
That seems so serious, whereas the essence of Anancyism, from another perspective, is the absolute avoidance of any such seriousness. Instead, Anancyism is a modus operandi, a stylee, a mode of profiling as cording to which, by means of wiles, ruses and general trickify, Anansi approaches every bad situation as an opportunity for wukking him brain and gaining advantage, often unfair advantage, over not just his opponents, but pretty much anyone in his way, ef him is in dat kinda mood. In other words, Anancyism is indeed a pattern of behaviour, though I wouldn't necessarily call it anti-social since it's often directed against downpressors who would therefore not be part of a social group to which our Sneaky Spider could reasonably be asked or be considered obliged to show allegiance.
The other thing about Anancy is of course that he is not to be tied down - and so, perhaps, certainly not to anything so predictable as a philosophy? He is a man of surprises with something forever new up his sleeve. No Cogito ergo sum for him. He doesn't think to be. Rather Cogito ergo ago. He works his brain, and then he acts, and by his willful, whimsical, me-no-care behaviour, his dedication to rambunctiousness, he not only succeeds in being, he thrives at it.
They mystics tell us that in rare moments of pure being, moments of awe, we touch eternity and glimpse God. Perhaps that is what Anancy is after? Working his way back to his original role of Creator Deity, in which all his thought was action, and all his action was creating, and every act of creation was an occasion for laughter?