Opossum, the other white meat

My favorite Alan Watts story is about a teacher whose student asks him, so if everything is an illusion, then that elephant is an illusion too? And the teacher says, yes, that’s right. So to prove his faith in his teacher, the student lies down and tells the elephant guy to have it step on him, which it does, and he is crushed. Maybe I ought to have told him he’s an a illusion, too, the teacher mutters.

Still, picking out a tie this morning, I had to think about money and slavery. Are we slaves? Is money imaginary? If money is imaginary, does that mean we are slaves? What is a slave, what is the definition? I’m thinking sort of, in the sense of drudgery, or submitting to a dominating influence, or bondage of some sort.

If money is imaginary, does that mean we are slaves?

Is money the gold leaf on an iron glove? Does everything come down to money, or to the power structures beneath? Maybe money is the smiley face on the prison guard’s taser.

Maybe we should be grateful to people like J

9 responses to “Opossum, the other white meat

  1. nah’sir. if you’re good and you do all your chores, massah will give a bit o’ flour so we can make johnnycakes.

  2. Meagan

    Well, on OUR local highways, you have a choice of opossum, raccoon or jackrabbit. Oh, and skunk and cat, but I don’t recommend those two.

  3. mig

    hedgehogs fill the possum roadkill niche here in austria. also bunnies and pets, which i guess is pretty international.

    it also may have been roman slaves, i’m hearing now. slaves in rome owning slaves. except that, being themselves property, slaves could not actually own anything. so i sense a flaw here of some kind. but the situation was, for example, the bosses, say, did not do anything themselves. they had businesses, but had slaves who ran the businesses for them. they themselves did not work. and i suppose the slaves had other slaves who helped them run the businesses, whether they belonged to the slaves themselves, or to the owners, they were at the disposal of the manager-slaves. another point – being a legal institution, slavery may back then have had a slightly different nature than it does now, when it is a crime, or did a while ago, when it was first not a crime and then became one. you know what i mean? so i have to wonder how different these power arrangements in ancient ROME were from those we live in now. probably pretty different, probably. right?

  4. beta

    now where did you get that from? i might have to explain it some more to you. i also recommend reading “

  5. Sometimes you guys make me sad that I only had two years of German in college and that it was so long ago without using any German at all in the intervening years that I can’t remember more than a few stray words and phrases.

    But then I go speak Spanish with my students or Italian with my friends, and I feel better (even though I still suck at Italian).

    I think I got the

  6. Jann

    Many middle class people in the US are slaves to the dysfunctional health care system we have here. If you are lucky enough to have a job where health insurance is offered (most often, even in the best cases, the employee has to pay half the cost), and you or someone in your family has a serious and/or chronic illness, which may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars/month to treat, you’re pretty much stuck in that job.

    Of course, you could leave your family, let your spouse apply for Medicaid; but slaves always had the option to run away too. Which way do you think you will be happier, or less unhappy? And, of course, some people will never be happy unless they are doing what they believe is the honorable thing.

    My point: we all have at once both more and fewer choices than we think.

  7. If any of you cello enthusiasts are interested (or even just really bored), I saw Apocalyptica in concert last night in Portland, OR. A review/commentary thing is up in my MySpace blog, which you should be able to find by clicking on my name. I’m thinking of getting a non-MySpace blog, since I don’t know if people who don’t have a MySpace can actually read it or not…

  8. mig

    thx, meagan. i was able to read it without logging in. sounds like a great concert. paavo is a great guy, isn’t he? good luck getting your bra fixed.

  9. mig

    jann: i think i agree wtih you. the health care situation horrifies me, something needs to be done about that. health care seems to be working in other countries, i don’t see why the US can’t get it together. also, on the choices, yes. more and fewer than we think.