'Lilies of the Field' presents a broad range of ethnographic studies that share one common feature - They deal with people who try to live in 'the present moment'. Some of these people work as wage laborers, some forage in the forest or in the sea, and still others trade or till the land. In the midst of this almost bewildering diversity, a common commitment to the present moment and the short term becomes all the more striking. This involves an exceptional inversion of mainstream practice. The individuals examined here are prepared to try to do without arrangements for their own reproduction through time, rather than enmesh themselves in a politically coercive world, where they can only find a place as dependents. The authors consider the multiple political uses to which these cultural attitudes have been put, both by the people immediately concerned and also by (more powerful) others.