flesh made meat, or for the ox pt. 2

For whom does the ox wait? For no one. There is only the master and the ox, and the master cannot betray ou’s own well-being. And the ox lacks the mental facilities to realize it’s own potential for liberation. As previously mentioned there is little hope for a Hegelian overturn.

So where do we look for the liberation of the ox?

The answer was already provided by Hesiod as quoted by Aristotle:

First house and wife and an ox for the plough[.]

That is we must look towards the plough. It is through the plough that the ox’s labor is extracted. For the ox to be freed, the plough shall be transformed for the master’s benefit. Aristotle points us towards this in his Politics: 

And so, in the arrangement of the family, a slave is a living possession, and property a number of such instruments; and the servant is himself an instrument which takes precedence of all other instruments. For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poet, “of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods;” if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves.

Aristotle points us towards the future. When the instruments of production become efficient enough, ultimately to become instruments of action themselves, that is when the slave becomes free. The ox, in the master’s pursuit of ease of life, must detract productivity from the plough itself.

And is this not the way things appear when we look at history. No longer in the Global North (or the West, or however one would like to define it) do we find oxen ploughing the fields when tractors can can perform the same labor at a lower cost, nor do we find horses driving carriages (with the exception of romanticized carriage rides, a productivity that cannot be replaced by technology).

And so the ox is freed from the plough by the tractor, and the horse by the Model T. But oxen are not truly liberated–they have merely become steer. The instrument of action is reduced not only to an instrument of production (like a plough, or a hammer), but becomes the material that is worked. The body made product, the flesh made meat. And still the ox is trapped by the master.

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