bell hooks. I am writing this essay sitting beside an anonymous white male that I long to murder. We have just been involved in an incident on an airplane where. Social commentator, essayist, memoirist, and poet bell hooks (née Gloria Jean Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations (), hooks advocates a ". Designed by Jo Anne Meisch. The Library of Congress has catalogued the hardcover edition as follows: Hooks, Bell. Al! about love: new visions I Bell Hooks p.
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Hooks, Bell. Feminism is for everybody: passionate politics / Bell Hooks. teshimaryokan.info Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN - ISBN. from the publishers. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data hooks, bell. Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom I bell hooks. colored, they were to my eye the most beautiful objects. We played together with them, often with me aggressively. Understanding. Patriarchy bell hooks.
Ultimately, cynicism is the great mask of the disap- pointed and betrayed heart. The truth is, far too many people in our culture do not know what love is. This book tells us how to return to love. In our culture the private family dwelling is the one institu- tionalized sphere of power that can easily be autocratic and fascistic. John Stoltenberg's book The End of Manhood: Even boys raised in the most progressive, loving house- holds, where parents encourage them to express emotions, learn a different understanding about masculinity and feel- ings on the playground, in the classroom, playing sports, or watching television. I 'j".
Fortunately, as hooks tells us, i n "choosing love we also choose to live i n community, and that means that we do not have to change by ourselves" T h i s process o f critical ed- ucation, this nurturing of spiritual growth, is always undertaken with others, who not only help me with the critical practice, but also support me through the more d i f f i - cult aspects o f that task.
In loving others, according to hooks, we seek service.
N o t the k i n d o f service that can be bought or sold, as i n the "service industry", but the k i n d o f service where I take the needs and interests of another seriously, and seek to further those needs and interests. I cannot, i f I am to serve another i n this way, reduce them to an object, but must be m i n d f u l o f their status as a subject like me.
Service o f this sort is often denigrated i n our society, but for hooks, it is i n part through serving oth- ers that we learn to love. It is important to note that there is a k i n d o f reciprocity here that characterizes the whole o f hooks' discussion o f love.
O n one level, there is the cause and effect relation of love and service. I serve because I love, and i n serving, I learn to love better, which enables me to serve better, and so on.
O n another level, through my service, I learn that, to the extent that I, too, am loved by you, you will not want to see me reduced to an object and dominated through my service. In other words, genuine service not only de- mands that I acknowledge and respect your subject-hood i n serving you, but that my own subject-hood is made even more clear to me i n the way that you, i n loving me back, honor and serve me.
W e each come to give our subject-hood to the other recip- rocally, and so have our own subject-hood given back to us i n a more fully-realized way. A l l o f this furthers our education for critical consciousness, as well, for i n serving each other, we come to learn more not only about the other, but also about ourselves. Lilcewise, the service rendered is not offered as a tool for barter, but is rather, as part of the practice of love, directed toward the nurturing of the spiritual growth o f the beloved.
O f course, the proper nurturing o f another demands that "critical consciousness" the self-critical attitude so central to hooks' understand- ing o f love as a practice, and thus loving another requires the development of self-love A t the same time, since the practice of love is always undergone i n a com- munity, self-love cannot be undertaken alone, but requires loving relationships with others.
Ultimately, therefore, to love another requires the loving of oneself, and to cul- tivate the love of oneself, one must take up the practice of love directed toward others. Furthermore, being loved—being nurtured i n one's spiritual growth—brings with it an imperative, i f that growth is actually taking place, to practice love i n return. In short, the practice o f love, for hooks, is a practice o f reciprocity all the way down. There are two last points that need to be stressed here.
T h e first has to do with the nature o f the community we seek when we take up hooks' ethic o f love. It is not enough to simply assert our love for humanity i n some empty, abstract fashion. W e don't love abstractions, we love people, and people are always particular. In Killing Rage, hooks follows M a r t i n Luther K i n g i n referring to the k i n d o f community to which she is appealing here as a "beloved community" that affirms differences This is true both i n the sense that we maintain, and even strengthen, our bonds to our cultural and familial origins, and in the sense that we work with others i n a way that does not demand a mutual sur- render to some universal norm or standard.
T h e ideal of the beloved community does not demand that we take up our role i n the community purged o f all o f our cultural and historical particularity. N o r does it insist that we sweep our real differences and disagreements under the proverbial rug.
As hooks observes, "as long as our society holds up a vision o f democracy that requires the surrender o f bonds and ties to lega- cies folks hold dear, challenging racism and white supremacy will seem like an action that diminishes and destabilizes" This attention to and affirmation of dif- ference and particularity is central to the notion o f love to which hooks is appealing.
If I love someone, I do not love her only i f she conducts herself according to my ex- acting standards and conforms to my idea of who she ought to be. A n d i f I am loved, it is not as some empty abstraction or placeholder, but as me—including all the things that make me this person, as opposed to just a person.
T h e test o f the strength o f any community is its capacity to withstand difference and discord.
T h e musical metaphor of harmony can be illuminating here. T h e beloved community, likewise, w i l l celebrate hybridity and difference, not attempt to ignore or eliminate it.
T h e last point that needs to be stressed is implicit in the very title o f hooks' chap- ter on love i n Outlaw Culture: Rather, Love is the practice of freedom. Both love and freedom are dynamic processes, not static states o f being. W h e n we come to love someone, it is not some set condi- tion that suddenly obtains, and at which point we can say: Now I am in love.
It is an activity that one may manifest, rather than a prop- erty that one possesses—a thing that one gives or receives. M o r e importantly, once undertaken, this practice of love only lasts so long as we nurture it—that is, we are in love so long as our love continues to thrive and grow. W e must seek to better k n o w each other, to deepen our mutual understanding, and increase the intimacy o f our connection.
Love as a practice, therefore, never truly ends. If it is about nurturing, and nurturing is about spiritual growth and flourishing, and growth and flourishing en- tail change and ongoing development, then love always needs to be pushing itself to new heights.
T h e end of growth and positive development, in other words, is the end of love—stasis is death. A t this point, it is possible to shed some light on hooks' understanding o f the con- nection between love and liberation. Freedom, hooks is asserting, is a practice, like love. T h e y are indeed so intimately connected that love just is the practice o f free- dom. T h i s means first that we should not think o f freedom as some static condition that we reach or obtain, but rather as a process or project that we take up, and that project, for hooks, is precisely the project o f working together toward a society that has less and less oppression and domination.
Liberation, in other words, is not a state one achieves, but an activity one manifests. Spiritual growth and development is linked by hooks to "our capacity to be more fully self-actualized and able to engage in com- munion with the world around us" It is because hooks understands freedom as itself a practice directed toward nur- turing that she understands love to be so central to it.
If we are to free ourselves, we must work together to free each other, because it is i n this shared service that we find our freedom.
A t the same time, shared service is a clear manifestation o f love, as hooks understands it, and the working together for freedom is itself a k i n d o f nurturing o f spiritual growth. As she puts it: If we are to work together i n this way, we must ap- proach each other i n the spirit o f love. In this way, the practice o f love is the practice o f freedom, and any project o f liberation undertaken outside o f a love ethic, accord- ing to hooks, is doomed to failure.
References bell hooks Outlaw Culture, New York: Killing Rage: Ending Racism, New York: Hok and Company.
All About Love: New Visions, New York: William Morrow and Company John Rawls A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition, Cambridge MA: Young, Iris Marion Princeton University Press. Related Papers.
Matias C. Loving Whiteness to Death final proof. By Cheryl E Matias. Something About Love. Mysteries of Love: Climbing Mount Eros. By George Parks. By Marissa Silverman. By Aftab Erfan. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer.
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